Puslinch mayor concerned about ripple effect of Guelph’s Transportation Master Plan

At Wednesday’s meeting, James Seeley pressed City of Guelph staff to consider how to divert traffic away from Gordon and Victoria

TWP. OF PUSLINCH – Puslinch council is urging the City of Guelph consider the effect its Transportation Master Plan will have on hamlets in the area.

Jennifer Juste, manager of transportation planning for the City of Guelph, explained the city’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) is a high-level study that is looking mainly at sustainability and improvements to the transportation network. 

This means shifting Guelph residents to walk, bicycle and use transit while also expanding four-lane streets in the city. 

Early in the presentation, Juste said they have heard concerns from the Township of Puslinch in regards to a projected increase in vehicle traffic from the Clair-Maltby 

However, Juste said the TMP is more geared toward shifting people away from always using their cars.

“In terms of concerns about traffic and congestion and volume of traffic heading south into the township, I think this plan is not proposing to anticipate high growth in car traffic,” Juste said to council.

“We’re really trying to achieve that mode shift towards sustainable modes of transportation and there’s going to be policy recommendations as well advocating for inter-regional transportation opportunities.”

Puslinch mayor James Seeley was concerned he wasn’t hearing much about diverting traffic toward the Hanlon Expressway and away from Gordon Street and Victoria Road, which run through hamlet settlements. 

“I’ve been reading in the paper that there was some desire to direct more traffic towards Victoria Road and that’s not an ideal situation for us, specifically if it is heavy truck,” Seeley said

“Adding more traffic is a concern, we have residents already upset with the speeding.”

Juste said the plan is looking at improvements to the Hanlon to make it more convenient, like removing some stop lights and interchanges, which in turn could direct traffic away from Puslinch. 

Seeley spoke frankly about the county’s own initiatives to make Brock Road less convenient for traffic through community safety zones and a push for electronic speed enforcement. 

“That’s going to be my method of creating an inconvenience for people to come en mass and whip through our hamlet,” Seeley said.

He noted around 26,000 cars go through Brock Road each day while Puslinch has a population of 7,500 and therefore aren’t accounting for a majority of this traffic.

He went on to express disapproval over the idea of widening Brock Road north of Wellington Road 34 as it could encourage more traffic in Aberfoyle.

“I will not support that initiative…I’m not going to facilitate more traffic coming from the Clair-Maltby extension,” Seeley said, adding he wants to see Aberfoyle become more enjoyable and safer for shopping.

Juste said adding more lanes to Gordon could be for a dedicated bus lane if the demand was there but this would be confirmed in the detailed TMP. 

Councillor Jessica Goyda pointed out the county is also working on a similar plan and Puslinch will be undertaking a TMP this year and asked if there was an opportunity to coordinate efforts.

Juste confirmed they are part of the working group for the county’s plan and are happy to also work with Puslinch. 

Councillor Matthew Bulmer was interested in the potential for inter-regional travel as Guelph’s south end and Aberfoyle are deeply connected.

Juste noted the TMP is more high level policy direction for planning but noted Guelph Transit has been examining connecting with Aberfoyle GO and Metrolinx has shortlisted a Guelph to Hamilton bus line in their 10-year bus priority network which could serve the area. 

Seeley later questioned if the assumption was Puslinch would widen roads where Guelph does like at Gordon or Victoria. 

He said the town already faces budget problems and wouldn’t necessarily be able to match what Guelph does and could therefore create more traffic problems. 

“I understand this is a higher level presentation and start to a program, I would encourage you as staff to look into Puslinch’s ability to make upgrades on their side,” Seeley said.

The presentation was accepted as information.