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Worst site I have even been on for user-unfriendliness! (Plus my input as a cyclist)

by mlaidlaw,
1. When registering, I typed in my postal code, but because I did not then highlight your version of my postal code, when I pressed the register tab, I was told there was no postal code, so I went back to redo that, and, of course, had to redo a password. Next, I had to log on to my email account to verify my registration. Really? This is not the site for the nuclear codes, it is a community input site, so no need for high security.

2. When I moved to the discussion section, every time I clicked on someone else's comment to see the entirety of what they had stated, and to decide whether I wanted to agree, I was moved to a message that this was not available. Huh? I can't view the comments of others?

3. Input is far too restrictive re what citizens may want to say, so I am going to ignore these restrictions and simply say what I want to say here. First, I have lived in Guelph for 40 years, and have been a year-round cycling commuter for all of that time. I have ridden up the Eramosa Hill perhaps 3 times in 40 years. Why you would decide to put a bike lane on that hill is beyond my comprehension. The Gordon Street Hill and bike lanes? Yes, of course, I was one of the people who lobbied hard for those bike lanes back when then city engineer Ray Funnell didn't want to hear anything about bike lanes. That is the main route to the university and is a much less steep hill than Eramosa. Separating those lanes from cars would be even better, but putting a bike lane on Eramosa is a waste of resources.

4. As a city councillor, I lobbied for bike lanes on Paisley West when it was being rebuilt, and I was told it was taking so long to finish because they were putting in bike lanes. No, it didn't happen, even though it made eminent sense to have bike lanes there to encourage high school kids to bike from those new subdivisions to GCVI. Putting those lanes in now, together with a turn lane in the middle, would encourage cycling and would slow down the often speeding traffic on Paisley West.

5. I also lobbied for bike lanes on Westmount when it was being redone. I was told that it couldn't be done because on-street parking was needed. WHAT? Every residential house on that street has a driveway that accommodates at least 2 cars, the commercial building at the corner of Westmount and Division has its own parking lot and of course St Joe's has a huge parking lot. I have rarely seen a car parked on the street, so having on-street parking was an asinine plan then and now.

6. A general rule of thumb: if at all possible, plan for a safe bike lanes route to each high school in Guelph. Obviously, this does not include one on the Eramosa Hill leading to Ross, but there are other routes to Ross and to every high school in Guelph. Lourdes, for example, is on Westmount, hence my lobbying for bike lanes there. If we want to encourage more high school kids to bike to school (and perhaps to work as they enter the work force) we MUST provide safe routes to school. I presume that I needn't mention the climate change catastrophe bearing down on us in just a few years if we don't get moving on reducing our carbon footprints.

7. Bike lanes are not the only way of encouraging safe and smooth cycling. Let me give you a practical example of what I endure all the time in Guelph. We go out for a morning ride every Sunday morning, and often on other days. We live on Kathleen, and if we want to get to the Kissing Bridge trail, we first head north on Kathleen until we get to Speedvale, where we encounter our first barrier. The light on Speedvale pays absolutely no attention to us, so unless a car comes along to trigger the light to allow us to cross Speedvale, we could sit there until nightfall and nothing would happen, so I have to get off my bike, walk about 20 paces to the pedestrian button, press it and walk back to my bike. We then head north on Kathleen, and veer over to Nicklin via Bailey, which brings me to the next barrier, at Woodlawn. Once again, no recognition by the light, so off my bike again, over to the pedestrian button, press it, and back on my bike to wait until we get a light to allow us to cross Woodlawn. However, this light is even worse, because sometimes as we reach the light (no cars in sight to trigger it), the pedestrian signal walking man will disappear and it will count down to zero, but neither the yellow nor the red light for cars on Woodlawn will come on and the white walking man signal for pedestrians will reappear without us ever getting to cross Woodlawn!! Grrrr! This occurs at many lights in Guelph, so we really need bicycle traffic signal buttons that allow cyclists to press them WITHOUT HAVING TO GET OFF THEIR BIKES! Same thing with left-turn lanes that NEVER trigger for cyclists!

7. This brings me to the GTG/Kissing Bridge trail. To get to it, we follow the route mentioned in #7 above, then, thankfully, take the Woodlawn trail out to Silvercreek, where, unfortunately, our only option is to head north on Silvercreek until we get to the trail. Other than a very small stretch of Silvercreek just past the Guelph city border which has a spacious bike lane (but only on the east side of the road), one takes one's life into one's hands when navigating Silvercreek/county road 39 north. It has become increasingly busy, and cars travel at some speed on this road. The road edge is very bumpy in places and of course the shoulder is unpaved and rutted here and there. There will surely be an accident on that road at some point in the not-too-distant future. When I was on council, I heard all sorts of stuff about ownership of the land by Ontario Hydro, or private property owners not wanting a trail on their lands, or various other excuses for not having a proper trail from Guelph out to the GTG trail (which, I believe is part of the Trans Canada, is it not?). Now I hear that Cargill once had thoughts of a plant out that way, but that plan has been scrapped, yet nothing has been done to retrieve that land for a trail, or perhaps the city had no knowledge of this, which seems incredible to me. In any case, it is imperative that this issue be resolved ASAP, so that Guelph citizens have a safe and secure route out to the GTG trail without having to drive out to a parking spot.

8. Finally ( although there is much more I could say), winter. Before I retired, I commuted to work year-round, and winters were often a nightmare, primarily because the existing bike lanes were used primarily as a place to dump snow from the "car lanes" of the road. When I complained about this, I was often told that snow removal on bike lanes was excellent, even when I presented actual photographs of bike lanes covered in snow. For me, some of the worst areas were at the top of Macdonell, just below the Church; it appeared that the snow plows simply drove up Macdonell to the top and dumped the snow there. This meant that when going through the light there, cyclists had to veer out into a (busy) lane of traffic to avoid the piles of snow. Same thing at the top of Gordon St Hill, at the south west corner of Collage; always a big dump of snow there, and often in front of the library.

That is it for me for now, but I will take a look a t what is planned for the future and may comment further.

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