Leading up to the 2022 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.
CycleWR VP Emily Slofstra took Colleen James, candidate for Regional Council, Kitchener, out for a walk. Here’s what Emily had to say about the walk:
I met Colleen at Willow River (Victoria) Park on October 6 for a walk on city trails. Since there are so many Regional roads and infrastructure, we didn’t focus our attention on specific infrastructure, but discussed general Regional active transportation issues.
Colleen shared that she typically bikes recreationally with her daughter, but sincerely understands the concerns of commuter cyclists. Colleen worked for Regional Council for many years, including when LRT was approved, and expressed a strong understanding of how councillors must be forward-thinking when it comes to transportation planning. We both agreed that there are still many gaps in the cycling network that need to be filled, and Colleen pointed out that Doon South and the Fairway/Lackner areas were on her radar as particularly lacking in active transportation infrastructure.
I shared the history of CycleWR with Colleen, and discussed how our priority has been on advocacy and infrastructure over the past four years. We talked about how more all-ages-and-abilities infrastructure is needed, but also that the Region could take a larger role in promoting cycling to the ”interested, but concerned” group of potential riders. Colleen agreed that councillors should be modelling behaviours such as trying out new bike lanes and trails once they are completed.
Colleen and I have both spent time in Amsterdam, and were inspired by the variety of transportation options other than private vehicles. We chatted about how the Netherlands went through a car-centric period and realized that focusing on cycling and public transportation was much more effective at moving residents.
At the end of the walk, Colleen expressed an eagerness to stay in touch and learn more from the cycling community about what is needed to improve active transportation infrastructure if elected.