Recommendations to improve Centre Wellington cycling infrastructure a good sign says advocate

·2 min read

CENTRE WELLINGTON – A recommendation to use grant funding towards improvements to active transportation infrastructure in Centre Wellington is being welcomed by a cycling advocate.

A report to Centre Wellington’s committee of the whole recommends approving $300,000, from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), towards shared road signs on bike trails, pavement markings, road widening and pedestrian crossings.

This news is welcome to John Scott, an Elora resident who is part of active urban design advocacy group Green Lanes.

Scott has been pushing for the township and council to invest more seriously in this kind of infrastructure and said in a phone interview that he was thrilled to hear about this recommendation.

“I’m really stoked that they’re putting in some pedestrian crossings because we don’t really have it in our community and our drivers aren’t used to it,” Scott said.

He said he thinks any improvements will encourage more participation from less experienced cyclists as they benefit most from these improvements.

“For me, I don’t need any cycling infrastructure, I’m comfortable enough on the roads,” Scott said. “This is about equity, trying to get other people out riding.”

Scott also said he noticed an increase in cyclists this past summer and wants to keep the numbers up. In his view, more cyclists on the road will increase safety as drivers become more aware of their presence.

The township is also looking to promote cycling tourism as well with kiosks and signage included in this recommendation.

Scott sees promoting this kind of tourism as a smart move.

“They call it ‘wallet on wheels’ … because there is a lot of money involved in this type of tourism,” Scott said, adding that there’s a big benefit to parking downtown.

“People with bikes can park outside the downtown area, ride the loops and trails and head downtown.”

Scott said this plan isn’t perfect and notes that from his research, increased signage doesn’t necessarily translate into safer roads for cyclists.

He also said he’d like to see this become a permanent item in the township budget rather than just using grant funding.

“They’ve stated that it’s important, bike infrastructure, but until it’s in the budget it’s not important enough to them,” Scott said.

Scott said COVID highlighted how important health is and any investment is a good step towards an overall healthier community.

“People who had underlying health conditions, which a lot of them were lifestyle health conditions, really were and are affected by COVID,” Scott said.

“So we should, as a society, try to do anything we can to increase our health, physically and mentally.”

This recommendation will be discussed at a Jan. 5 committee of the whole meeting.

Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com