In the months before the 2018 municipal election, CycleWR volunteers have been taking municipal electoral candidates for bike rides to show off the best and worst of the cycling infrastructure in their ward/city/region. For a full list of completed rides, click here. CycleWR is a non-partisan organization that does not support any particular party or candidate. Summaries are written by volunteers or candidates and may not reflect the mandate or views of CycleWR. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Councillor @EClarkeYW for joining me on a #CycleWR ride this evening around Kitchener. We talk good, bad, and downright perplexing bike infrastructure. Thanks for being such a strong community advocate! pic.twitter.com/E6iU9o1eJC
— Matt Rodrigues (@mattjrodrigues) August 23, 2018
Here’s what Matt had to say about the ride:
I wanted to highlight the gaps in infrastructure and the general inconsistency in bike infrastructure in KW. Gaps are the areas where cyclists have to make on-the-fly decisions that put them at risk, and could be seen by car drivers as ‘risky’ or ‘dangerous’. Gaps include lack of signals along our trails, bikes lanes which end, or indirect routes into the Downtown area.
We generally felt safe during the ride. There were some instances, such as turning from Park St. onto Victoria, where you become a true motorist, or when you cross West Ave. along Victoria. These areas certainly wouldn’t be safe for all ages and abilities. There are areas, such as the trails, along quiet streets, and within bike lanes that are.
I hope that there is funding allocated with a strong vision. Not a 10-20 year time frame. Within a Council term. Compared to traditional road works, cycling infrastructure is significantly less expensive, and yields a higher return on investment due to less wear and tear, promoting healthy living, and just the sheer smaller size.
Elizabeth was extremely keen on improving cycling in the Region and proposed ideas for how Council can go about it – including phased funding for new protected infrastructure. She was generally aware of the larger issues, but appreciated being shown the oddities, such as how traffic signals don’t traditionally detect bikes, or how there is a shared multi-use trail along Weber St that she didn’t know about. I have a good feeling from Council that things will improve over the next 4 years.
Elizabeth chose not to sign our pledge, but sent this explanation instead:
I strongly support the creation of a minimum cycling grid (and much better cycling infrastructure, generally), and know that increasing active transportation funding is critical if we’re going to achieve this and other goals of our new Transportation Master Plan (and in meetings of the TMP Steering Committee as well as the Planning and Works Committee, I’ve expressed that clearly), I can’t make any specific funding commitments outside of the context of a complete budget. I don’t want to make you a promise that I may not be able to keep.