In 2018, 16 elected representatives across Waterloo Region pledged to fund a minimum grid of cycling infrastructure within the next four years and a number of other councillors also expressed their support for CycleWR’s work. Since then, we’ve been digging into the municipal budgets each year to see how this support is translating into real investments in cycling infrastructure.
Achievements in 2020
In 2020, City of Kitchener’s Cycling and Trails Master Plan was approved by city council that aims to create a city-wide network grid of cycling facilities, routes, and trails. This includes strategic planning for a downtown cycling grid that will begin construction this year. The roundabout at Strasburg and Huron was updated with a “Dutch-inspired” design making it more intuitive for people to use.
Coming up in 2021
We are excited to see construction of the 2.8 km downtown cycling grid begin in 2021. This year we can look forward to separated facilities being installed on Joseph Street and Water Street, as well as additional traffic diversion and wayfinding improvements. Cedar Street was also scheduled to have separated facilities installed this year but was unfortunately deferred to stay under budget. City staff hope to complete Cedar Street in 2022.
Outside of the downtown core, the city will be improving connections by converting 3 gravel trails to snow-cleared, asphalt multi-use trails, as well as adding a new multi-use trail between Homer Watson and Kehl Street. Paving the Traynor-Vanier gravel trail was postponed in 2020. Construction plans have not yet been finalized but the city anticipates the trail will be paved in 2021.
Downtown grid – $1,657,000
- Separated facilities on Joseph Street and Water Street.
- Neighborhood bikeways on Lancaster St and Chapel St that include traffic diversion elements and wayfinding.
Trail improvements – $410,000
Gravel trails that will be converted to asphalt multi-use trails and winter maintained:
- Stirling to Madison Trail – $155,000
- Laurentian trail – $105,000
- Alpine Park Trail – $150,000
Shoemaker Creek Rehabilitation – $700,000
A new multi-use trail that will run between Homer Watson and Kehl Street and connect to an existing multi-use trail. Construction of the new trail is included in the Shoemaker Creek rehabilitation project.
Rothsay Pedestrian Bridge – $651,000
A replacement bridge will be installed that connects the Rothsay Ave and Victoria St N multi-use trails. The existing bridge suffered structural failure and has been closed.
Trail maintenance – $2,000,000
- Maintenance through winter – $1,500,000.
- Non-winter maintenance – $500,000
Trails Project Manager – $115,000
The city plans to hire a full time Trails Project Manager. This is a temporary position converted to a full time position and has no additional impact on the city budget.
Additional infrastructure not identified in the budget
Engineering construction projects may include cycling and boulevard multi-use trail infrastructure. We can expect to see additional cycling infrastructure built that was not specifically identified in the budget. City staff highlighted these examples:
- Delta Street will be rebuilt as a trail after underground services are replaced.
- A boulevard multi-use trail on Sydney that connects the Nyberg contraflow lane and Iron Horse Trail.
The City of Kitchener has budgeted a total $5,533,000 in 2021. This is more than three times the amount we asked for in the election pledge. With the approval of the Cycling & Trails Master Plan last year and the city wasting no time kicking off construction of the downtown cycling grid this year, CycleWR is excited about the momentum in Kitchener. This success can be attributed to city staff who are strongly committed to public engagement and improving road safety for all users.
We’d love to hear from you about which completed or upcoming projects excite you the most! Photos and videos of trips on new facilities would be most welcome and would help spread the word. You can send those to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on Twitter using @Cycle_WR or #CycleWR.