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Guelph city budget includes major money for bike lane expansion

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The City of Guelph could be spending big bucks to upgrade the cycling network in the city.

There is $13.5 million set aside in the proposed city budget, released early this week, for road expansion, some of which will be directed to bike paths both on and off the city’s road network.

The most expensive portion of the expansion is expected to be a road-widening project to accommodate new bike lanes on about 36 km of road, with construction starting as early as next year. More than $5 million has been set aside in the budget specifically for pedestrian and cycling facilities along Stone Road.

The city will also spend $450,000 throughout 10 years to build 78 km of bike lanes onto existing roads that don’t require widening, but will have the lanes painted on and made safer for bike commuters. There are also 36 km of proposed lanes that will require changes to roads.

There is also an estimated $3 million expected to be used to pave over existing walking paths to make them more cyclist friendly and create a more cohesive network for commuters.

Other potential targets for bike-lane expansion include Woodlawn and Edinburg Roads. The city has allocated $150,000 in the budget proposal for such an study of these roads. The research will indicate how further funds can be best spent on upgrading cyclist and pedestrian facilities. The proposal also suggests an ongoing annual funding of $300,000 to maintain the bike paths, both on and off the existing streets.

Most of these changes are pending approval of the 2014 budget by city council. If it passes without major alterations to the road-work plans, construction could begin as soon as early 2014.

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