It’s budget season! Municipalities are starting to release draft operating and capital budgets for the 2020 fiscal year. We’ll be posting our analysis of both the 2019 budgets and the draft 2020 budgets for Waterloo Region municipalities as they’re released. Find them all on our Budget Advocacy page.
First up: Kitchener
Kitchener is the first local municipality to release its draft 2020 budget, and we’re excited about the strong commitment to improving access to active transportation options. Before 2019, only 0.6% of the roads in Kitchener had protected bike lanes, so we’re glad that we’ll be achieving a little more balance on our roadways.
Read on to see how cycling fared in Kitchener’s 2019 budget and what’s coming up in the 2020 budget.
Kitchener’s 2019 budget
Kitchener introduced several separated bike lane projects in the 2019 budget, then funded and built them all in the same year, which was very exciting! Kitchener’s 2019 budget had a commitment of $4.535 million, more than twice what we asked for in our election pledge! Here’s what that covered:
- A Dutch-inspired roundabout at Huron & Strasburg (deferred to 2020) and separated bike lanes (Water, Belmont, and Queens): $1 million
- Projects in the Cycling Master Plan: $300,000:
- Contraflow bike lanes on Young Street and Duke Street East
- Franklin Street bike lanes (Weber to Trafalgar)
- Stirling Avenue bike lanes (Mausser to Russel)
- Courtland Avenue multi-use trail: $365,000
- Iron Horse Trail improvements: $480,000 for trestle bridge replacement & approximately $1.92 million spent in 2019 (expecting to be 80% complete a $2.4 million tender)
- Laurentian Trail paving from Fischer Hallman to Williamsburg: $60,000
- Butler Lane multi-use trail: $30,000
- Strasburg Road multi-use trail (East side, Huron Road to Huron Heights Secondary School): $80,000 (from Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling program [80% provincial funding; 20% from the city])
- Winter maintenance: $300,000
Besides investing financially, Kitchener staff are invested in making the city a better place to travel for all road users. They do a great job of answering questions from residents and have been working hard on Complete Streets and the Cycling & Trails Master Plan. We look forward to working with them again in 2020.
Kitchener’s 2020 budget
The 2020 budget for the City of Kitchener includes over $3 million for cycling infrastructure and continuing to build the grid—we have high hopes for a minimum downtown grid by 2022!
- $1.3 million for implementation of the Cycling & Trails Master Plan (CTMP). The plan will go to council in the spring and will determine specific project timelines.
- $600,000 for paving the Traynor-Vanier trail.
- Road projects with active transportation components including Mill Street, Stirling Avenue and Ontario Street.
- $1.1 million specifically for funding strategic plan projects (including the downtown protected grid and Gaukel Street pedestrian greenway).
We also look forward to seeing the completion of the Dutch-inspired roundabout and reports on the outcomes of the protected cycling pilot on Belmont & Queen’s.
What you can do to help get adequate funding for cycling infrastructure in Kitchener:
- Fill out the Kitchener budget survey on EngageWR by January 3, 2020.
- Send a thank you message to your city councillor to let them know you appreciate the investments in cycling and trails!
- Join our mailing list to ensure you get calls to action in 2020 such as showing up at council to support the CTMP if necessary or providing input on the final maps on EngageWR.
- If you don’t live in Kitchener, but bike through the city, you can still email council to let them know you appreciate the work that’s being done or send an email of thanks to the mayor (email@example.com).
- Like & share this video with all your friends to promote the Cycling & Trails Master Plan:
Stay tuned for our analysis of the rest of the Waterloo Region Municipalities as they release their budgets over the next month. Think we missed something? Send your comments and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.