Posted July 5, 2015
Let’s cut to the chase. Guelph has become a battleground for the political Left, composed chiefly of NDP and Liberal supporters versus the rest of us. The elections Canada bureaucrat who said that party politics don’t belong in municipal elections wasn’t paying attention to the national NDP policy of electing their candidates in municipal elections including Guelph.
That’s what the NDP, under the late Jack Layton, pulled off in Quebec in the 2011 Federal election. The party elected more than 100 candidates to Parliament including one who was on vacation during the campaign.
For eight years, when Karen Farbridge was running the city, she had a majority of Left wing supporters who pushed hard to reduce major road vehicle lanes in favour of bike lanes. An inventory comparing established bike lanes and the new ones show five-foot wide lanes in the new versions compared to three-feet wide in the older lane allowances. Compare resurfaced Stevenson’s new bike lanes to the Woolwich lanes.
Their shtick is to demonize cars, trucks or any motorized vehicle licensed to use major city roads. In doing so, they trumpet southern U.S. cities that rarely see snow, that have reduced vehicle lanes to provide for bike lanes. Cities such as Tampa, Florida, San Francisco, Sam Jose and Palo Alto are used for comparisons.
They use expressions such as “Active Transportation” or reducing fossil fuel damage to the atmosphere, protecting the world from man-caused climate change.
Believe it, or not
Yes, this bunch really believes they can reduce vehicular traffic in Guelph by forcing people to walk, to cycle and use public transit. The trouble with this is these people have disregard for a large segment of the city population, including those aged over 65 or less than 12, who are incapable of adopting active transportation theories.
Remember when former councillor Maggie Laidlaw said that in 20 years, there won’t be any cars on Guelph Streets? Maggie is an ardent cyclist and was defeated in the last civic election. Instead, the opposite has occurred. Today there are more vehicles on our thoroughfares than ever before.
Ms. Farbridge set the tone of the future of Active Transportation while in office. Even though she is no longer mayor, her policies are now being foisted on the city by the remnants of her regime plus some newcomers.
The battle of Speedvale Ave. East will unfold July 25 at city council. The City staff has warned that reducing the vehicle lanes from Woolwich east to Manhattan Court will create huge traffic congestion.
The Speedvale East section is in needs to replace aging infrastructure
There is necessity to rebuild aging infrastructure on that section of Speedvale.
It is interesting to note that Speedvale West from Woolwich was recently resurfaced and re-marked but with no bicycle lanes, no left turn lanes and, no reduction of vehicle lanes.
So, the controlling Leftists on council is now attempting to force expropriation of some 17 feet from either side of Speedvale East from the owners, to accommodate bike lanes. The cost can be as high as $15 million, including rebuilding the bridge over the Speed River.
There are four options to be debated. The Left has gravitated to reducing the four existing lanes on Speedvale East to three. One each way and a third centre turn lane and, bike lanes.
Does she ride a bike to work?
Coun. Leanne Piper can’t understand why it won’t work on Speedvale when it works fine on Gordon between Stone Road and Wellington. Note: Widening that strip of Gordon Street runs right through Ms. Piper’s University ward five. Also, there is no third lane for left turns. Riding a bike on that stretch of road is like taking your life in your hands.
Correcting the bad planning of yesteryears is a very expensive proposition. Forcing Active Transportation down the citizen’s throats as a means to an end, results in a situation that almost 95 per cent of the population oppose.
There are so many drawbacks to forcing this city to add bike lanes on major roads that are already congested. It doesn’t seem to matter to these advocates of social change.
With growth comes cars, get used to it
The real story is that if you believe traffic is bad today wait until 2020 when predictably it will be three times as congested. The effort to reduce traffic arteries to permit Active Transportation continues unabated.
Don’t agree? Try driving on Speedvale East between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays. Or experience Silver Creek, Woodlawn or Norfolk during the growing rush hours mornings and afternoons.
This is what happens when roads are restricted, lanes reduced and bike lanes are added these populated by unlicensed riders, some of whom ignore traffic rules and create dangerous situations for motorists.
Active Transportation proponents ignore the facts of living in our city. Only the fit and able are capable of particpating in Active Transportation. To now claim that Speedvale East should be put on a diet to reduce vehicle lanes to accommodate their chosen method of transportation is self-serving, wasteful and counter-productive to the public interest.
Guelph has invested heavily in off-street bike paths that riders can use and enjoy. The trouble starts when activists want full use of all streets in the city and don’t have to pay for it.