Puslinch councillors express concerns about Guelph transportation plan

PUSLINCH – Just as Canada has to be aware of the plans of its neighbour to the south, so must Puslinch know what’s being planned by its neighbour to the north.

That is why Jennifer Juste, manager of transportation for the City of Guelph, and Stacey Laughlin, senior policy planner with the city, made presentations to Puslinch Township council on Feb. 10.

Juste is working on the Guelph Transportation Master Plan and presented a high-level overview to council.

The plan considers cycling and pedestrian routes, roadways for in-town and commuter travel, bus routes, traffic volumes and safety, and sustainability.

Juste said Guelph has growth targets and the plan aims to figure out how transportation will accommodate that growth.

“We’re not proposing high growth with car traffic,” she said, adding the master plan anticipates vehicular traffic will drop to 60 per cent of the four travel modes – walking, cycling, transit and cars – by 2051.

Currently vehicle travel sits at 80%, she said.

The plan anticipates widening two-lane arterial roads to four lanes, improving flow along the Hanlon Expressway, and the Hanlon’s connection with Hwy. 7.

It establishes priority node networks – pedestrian walkways, cycling paths and lanes, an arterial road network and perhaps dedicated bus lanes one day, if ridership dictates, for GO and Guelph Transit buses.

Goods movement as it exists now is included in the plan but the study does not consider projected growth for truck or train traffic, Juste said.

“Goods movement is just outside the scope of this project. It really requires a stand-alone study,” Juste said.

Puslinch councillors wanted to know more about the plans for arterial roads like Victoria and Brock, which run through both Guelph and Puslinch, and Maltby Road, which divides the two municipalities.

“You have a desire to direct traffic to Victoria Road,” said Mayor James Seeley. “Adding more traffic (to Victoria) is a concern and not ideal for Puslinch.”

Councillor Matthew Bulmer had a similar concern with the Maltby Road/Gordon Street intersection.

“There are still fatal accidents at Maltby and Gordon,” he said. “What is your plan for making it safer?”

Regarding Victoria Road, Juste said it is to be widened to four lanes north of Clair Road and not at the border with Puslinch.

Regarding Maltby Road, Juste said the Ministry of Transportation is considering closing access to Maltby from the Hanlon, which would change traffic patterns at Maltby and Gordon.

“But we would explore signals or roundabouts,” she said. “Metrolinx is also working on routes south to Hamilton.”

Gordon Street in Guelph turns into Brock Road in Puslinch and Seeley stressed that while Guelph may widen Gordon, he has no intention of widening Brock Road to accommodate Guelph commuters heading to the 401.

“I will do what it takes to return Aberfoyle to a safe community,” he said.

“There will be more parents and children crossing Brock Road (for school). I want to make it a safer hamlet and that means less truck and vehicle traffic.”

Laughlin presented the Clair-Maltby secondary plan to council. This plot of land is is approximately 415 hectares in size and is located in the southeast corner of Guelph.

It is bounded by Clair Road to the north, Victoria Road to the east, Maltby Road to the south and the eastern limits of the Southgate Business Park to the west. Gordon Street is the major north-south artery.

It includes a section of the Paris Moraine and the plan aims to protect the moraine, natural heritage features and water resources.

Laughlin said concerns of Puslinch have been addressed by increasing setbacks along Maltby Road and buildings would be no more than three storeys high. This will help ease the urban-rural transition, she said.

Bulmer again expressed his concerns about the Gordon Street/Maltby Road intersection. Especially if Maltby is closed at the Hanlon, there would be even fewer options for residents in this new community to reach the 401; Brock Road would be the only way, he said.

“Is there a way to direct traffic to the west?” Bulmer asked.

“I can take that concern back,” Laughlin replied.

The reports were received for information with promises to continue the dialogue between the two municipalities.