As university students return to class, downtown Guelph is preparing for busy weekend nights by launching the Safe Semester project for revelers and residents in the area.
The project, which gets underway Friday night, includes more police officers downtown, road closures and additional amenities.
Starting at 10:00 p.m. Macdonell Street will be closed to traffic between the Macdonell Street parking lot and the West Parkade. Wyndham Street will be blocked off as well between Carden and Cork Streets.
The city will also set up portable washrooms at Guelph Central Station.
Late bus service will be made available and additional taxis.
“Safe Semester is truly a collaborative effort. We have seen dramatic improvements over the past years since Safe Semester began,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie in a statement. “I want to thank all of the partners and students who work together to promote a safe and positive environment as we celebrate the beginning of the school year.”
Safe Semester is now into its sixth year of operation and was created in response to a number of complaints in the downtown core at the beginning of the school year.
However in 2016 there was a 26 per cent decrease in noise complaints and a 78 per cent decrease in public urination tickets issued, according to Guelph Police.
“The Guelph Police Service is excited to be a part of this initiative again this year. We will be glad to see a continued decrease in calls for infractions while being able to maintain the reputation Guelph has for being a safe community,” says Chief of Police, Jeff DeRuyter.
The program will run every Friday and Saturday until October 1.