Here's some news that should make many in Guelph happy, and many others furious. Yesterday, the city touted the fact it had received a silver Bicycle Friendly Community Award during the sixth annual Ontario Bike Summit. Many find the city's dedication to reserving space on the road for the exclusive use of bikes irksome, but as someone who sees the ugly side of Guelph drivers daily I'm glad someone is working to make sure there's room on the road for all of us. It's also nice that the city got an award for it because hey, who doesn't like getting awards?
But in all seriousness, will this be an election issue? I was kind of disappointed when Ward 2 candidate Mark Paralovos evoked the "War on the Car" when his "Why I'm Running" was posted on the Guelph Citizen. "The idea of everyone biking to get around is great – but the reality is that you need a car to get around," he wrote. "It is time to stop reducing four lane roads to two lanes and making it more difficult to get around by car and punishing drivers. It is time to start spending the money where it is needed most – on fixing roadways and improving traffic flow in the city. The placement of bike lanes needs to be revisited."
Maybe. There's nothing wrong with re-evaluating a plan, especially before shovels or jackhammers are put in the ground, but with due respect to Paralovos nobody's "punishing drivers." You want to know what's punishing, missing your bus transfer and having to wait 30 minutes to finish your journey? It's also pretty punishing to take a 45 minute bus ride when a car can get there in 10. But most punishing of all is feeling like your walk to work, or to the store, is a real-life game of Frogger, because some people think the road is meant only for cars. For them. Those of us who think otherwise, however, are grateful for the city's award-winning efforts.
Here's the press release from the City of Guelph:
Toronto, ON, April 14, 2014 – This morning, Guelph was among 24 communities to receive a Bicycle Friendly Community Award during the sixth annual Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto, Ontario.
The Share the Road Cycling Coalition recognized the City of with a silver Bicycle Friendly Community Award this year. Guelph won the bronze award in 2012.
Read the news release issued by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition: 2014 Bicycle Friendly Community Awards
About the Share the Road Cycling Coalition
An Ontario-based non-profit organization that promotes bicycling as a mode of transportation, recreation and fitness through provincial advocacy. Learn more at sharetheroad.ca.
About the Bicycle-friendly Guelph Initiative
Using a comprehensive and consultative approach to make cycling safer and more convenient, Bicycle-Friendly Guelph hopes to triple the number of daily bike trips in the city by 2018. Learn more at guelph.ca/bike