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.
Yesterday we tagged along with @cedarwoodsie and Tom Hiller, Kitchener candidate for regional council. Steve showed us where the LRT tracks took him out on King, the (often blocked) bike lanes on Water, and the disappearing bike lanes on Queen. #cycleWR pic.twitter.com/0fVIr7n2Ml
— CycleWR (@Cycle_WR) August 14, 2018
Here’s what our volunteer Steve had to say about the ride:
I made a point of showing Mr. Hiller the area of King St. W. between Wellington and Victoria. This is an example of, in my opinion, a complete failure of infrastructure. There was so much opportunity to make this space safe for all road users and pedestrians (with multiuser trails, for example). Instead, the intersection of King and Moore reveals a dangerous and narrow crossing of road and track, resulting in potential hazard to cyclists. Mr. Hiller seemed to agree that the area, with its inconsistent signage and design was ripe for problems to develop.
We continued the theme of inconsistency as we went through the downtown core and Victoria park, pointing out how sharrows, edge lines and piecemeal bike ‘lanes’ all contribute to a sense of confusion for both cyclists and drivers alike.
I felt safe during the ride, given my cycling experience, but I feel that the route we took through the park and downtown would NOT feel safe for cyclists of other experience levels, particularly those with families. My family is limited to cycling on the sidewalk pretty much everywhere in the Region except for trails, given our bike trailer. It is simply not safe enough to ride with the trailer on the road, even in bike lanes.
I hope City Council will achieve action in the next term. Enough pilot projects, on to the implementation of a minimum grid of separate bike lanes!
I got the impression that Mr. Hiller was in agreement that at the very least, consistency in signage and education is lacking in the city.He also spoke to how multiple layers of government responsibility could cause situations where bureaucracy gets in the way of action, with respect to cycling infrastructure. He was very open and demonstrated sincere interest in what Emily and I had to say.
Mr. Hilller suggested that improvements in signage and education would be quick and relatively easy ways to improve cycling in the Region. He admitted that he has not cycled in some time, but I think given his enthusiasm for CycleWR’s ride-along program, with some more discussion he would be amenable to substantive investments in cycling infrastructure.