A resident’s comments.
To all members of Council. Thank you very much for your attention and discussion last evening concerning the traffic, bike lanes, parking and pedestrian access on Downey Road. We appreciated that you understand our concerns and look forward to a satisfactory resolution to all the issues raised last evening.
And a special thank you to Leanne Piper for putting forward the motion to defer. And thank you to Bob Bell for his considered assessment of the situation and Karl Wettstein and Todd Dennis, our Ward 6 councillors who listened to our concerns and provided valuable advice.
One thing we would like to make abundantly clear is that we are not against a comprehensive bike lane plan for the City of Guelph. We simply believe that the present situation on Downey Road leaves a great deal to be desired when it comes to the potential conflict between pedestrians, bicycles and excessive traffic and speed on Downey Road.
I know that you all heard that one of our potential solutions was to close Downey Road south of Teal once Laird Road was extended to Downey Road. We think that it is important to realize the benefits of closing Downey Road.
The first benefit is that once folks travelling North and South to access locations outside Guelph start using the Laird Road interchange to access Downey Road South there will be a major reduction in the number of vehicles idling at the lights at Downey Road and the Hanlon. This makes a greener City. And we all want that! The next benefit is that the City will be in a position to downgrade Downey Road to a local collector and the traffic flow will decrease to an acceptable level that will make cycling and walking a safe, green method of transportation. The next benefit is that the pedestrian accesses across and along Downey will be much more conducive to encouraging local residents to walk from place to place in the neighbourhood. A greener pastime! The next benefit is that the whole area becomes a safer community for our children, adults and visitors. There is no downside.
We fervently hope that the City will not consider the implementation of “refuge islands” as a solution to traffic issues in this area. Forcing pedestrians to cower in the middle of speeding traffic is not a solution to excessive traffic volume traveling at excessive speed. Walking is a green means of transportation and can be done year round. We hope that our neighbourhood will be a pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood as well as a bicycle-friendly neighbourhood.
As an interesting thought, one of the big issues raised by the local community when discussing the closing of Downey Road is that our local community will no longer have a quick access South out of the community. However when one thinks about the logistics of using the Downey Road/Hanlon intersection to access the Hanlon and proceed south to Laird Road the time difference is minimal. And in discussion with neighbours they concur that for the number of times folks in our neighbourhood actually go South on Downey it is really not a great inconvenience.
No one likes change. But we also know that folks accept change. What we are looking for is a way to change the traffic patterns in this area of the City such that the final design enhances the community and creates a safe, green community for all the residents.DJ