GUELPH — Guelph is becoming a big wheel in Ontario’s cycling world with its recognition this week by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition.
At the 4th annual Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto, Guelph earned a bronze in the Bicycle Friendly Communities awards. Only Toronto scored higher with a silver, while Guelph was joined in the bronze category by Mississauga, Oakville, Peterborough, Richmond Hill and Welland to round out this year’s winners.
“We’re certainly pretty proud of it. It’s a stamp of approval from an outside party,” city transportation demand management co-ordinator James LaPointe said Thursday, a day after the gathering concluded.
He noted the highest possible award category is a platinum, a level bestowed upon Madison, Wisconsin because it devotes significant resources, time and infrastructure to cycling, which also forms a significant transportation means for residents who commute.
Guelph’s bronze, he said, recognizes “we have some commitments to garnering a greater environment for cycling in the city.” It means the city’s seen as bicycle-friendly.
Local cycling advocate and spokesperson Cosmo Carere said Guelph is poised to move up the podium in the years to come.
“We’re just working our way up,” said the owner of Speed River Bicycle. He commended the city for promoting an active cycling lifestyle, but added he’d like the municipality to switch to a faster gear in completing a cycling master plan that’s under development.
LaPointe said city initiatives include a draft of the master plan. Existing amenities include trails that can be used by cyclists and a growing web of bicycle lanes running along streets.
“We have more bike lanes per capita than Madison,” LaPointe pointed out.
Currently, that’s 85 lane kilometres, rising to 92 by the end of this year. It won’t be too long before the 100 km milestone is reached, LaPointe predicted.
Among other regional cities that hold such cycling awards, Waterloo earned a silver last year.
The coalition reported 28 per cent of Ontarians ride their bicycles at least once a month. Sixteen per cent of those do so once a day or week.
Among trends, it noted the increasing popularity of bicycle tourism.
To read the whole story, visit here: http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/local/article/713162--guelph-a-big-wheel-in-cycling-world
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