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Guelph Transportation forum

This morning's Guelph Transportation forum put on by the city and Guelph Chamber of Commerce was quite interesting. A number of topics I have mentioned here and in my articles and presentations in the past seem to have worked their way to the front burner and that is really good to see. Mayor Farbridge kicked it off with a reference to this morning's article in the Mercury about GO Transit's plans for Guelph, setting the tone.

As an aside, I hope that the city and GO transit seriously consider this proposal before it is too late, given this news. The pittance of parking that will not even remain downtown after the construction of the transit hub will never satisfy GO riders' needs.

The boiled down version of the presentation by four members of Guelph's city staff to a business audience of about 100 with reporters from CKCO, the Tribune, and the Mercury, is this:

- Car usage in Guelph is rising faster than the population.

- Truck usage in Guelph is rising faster than car usage, at a rate of increase of 2% per year.

- Approximately 50% of municipal budgets are allocated to road maintenance and construction.

- Highway infrastructure improvements in Ontario are focused on trucks, not cars.

- A new highway corridor is being considered along the south side of the Niagara peninsula to connect up to the Hanlon.

- A new highway corridor is being considered off the new 6/7 interchange at the top end of Guelph through Toronto and east past Oshawa.

- At least three new highway corridors connecting that one to the 401 are being considered, one east of Guelph, and one on either side of Oshawa.

- No new railway lines are being considered for construction.

- City staff are looking at the North Mainline Municipal Alliance business case study of 2006 seriously.

- The Fergus subdivision, the rail line connecting Guelph directly to Cambridge, has entered the city's radar scope as a transit opportunity.

- Guelph Transit is moving from 3 hubs (St George's Square, the University Centre, and Stone Rd Mall) to 7 (adding Wal-Mart, West End Rec Centre, a facility on Clair Rd., and a facility in the east end of the city.).

- Guelph Transit is moving to 20 minute bus service on July 6th, has purchased 4 new Nova busses to achieve this, and is hiring 20 more full time drivers to join the existing 115 full time drivers.

- Guelph Transit is raising bus fares from $2 to $2.25, and increasing the rates of most passes, at the same time.

- At the same time, Guelph Transit wants to work with businesses to offer reduced-rate bus passes to their employees to discourage automobile use.

- Guelph is not a bedroom community, with 15,000 commuters exiting the city and 25,000 commuters entering the city on a daily basis.

- Guelph Transit Commission has a federal charter as a result of having once operated over the border... yes, the Canada/US border. That'd be a fascinating bit of history to dig into. There are no known restrictions on Guelph Transit's busses operating outside of city limits.

- Transportation Demand Management (TDM) is an important buzzword that we will be hearing more about, encompassing all modes of transportation and really meaning finding ways to get people out of their cars.

Among the interesting slides was this rather startling bit of information about Guelph's distribution of commuting practices, entitled "Businesses, Employees, Travel Choices:

University/Stone Road Mall:
- 8,000 employees; 77% auto use, 23% non-auto use
Downtown:
- 385 businesses; 5,000 employees; 83% auto; 17% non-auto
Northwest Business District:
- 160 businesses; 18,500 employees; 96% auto; 1% transit
Southeast Business District:
- 35 businesses; 3,500 employees; 95% auto; 2% transit
Southwest Business District:
- 75 businesses; 5,000 employees; 87% auto; 2% transit

That's the hasty version of what I learned this morning. More later, probably.

Posted at 14:28 on May 13, 2008

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GO notices Guelph | guelph transit | Final Hanlon workshop and related thoughts

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