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 volunteer Martha took Waterloo mayoral candidate Dorothy McCabe out for a bike ride along with a couple other community members. Here’s where we rode and what we talked about:
We started our ride at Waterloo City Hall, and followed a route that took us through the University of Waterloo campus along the Iron Horse Trail, east on Columbia Street West, and south on the Forwell Trail/Laurel Creek trail to loop back to our starting point. The intention of the route was to cover some high traffic areas (pedestrian, cycling, and vehicle), and highlight different styles of bike infrastructure that the City/Region currently have in place.
Dorothy is a cyclist, through and through. She is a CycleWR volunteer, and has been on the other side of these “Ride with Candidate” events in the past, touring prospective regional councillors. She commented on how her bicycle is her main method of getting around town and running errands – it’s great to see some candidates who use bikes on the daily!
During the ride, Dorothy asked about our key priorities when it comes to cycling around the City. Our thoughts:
- A separated space: multi-use pathways are wonderful, but twinned trails are better! As we rode through Waterloo Park, we commented on how parks and multi-use trails are improved when pedestrians and cyclists (and scooters, etc.) are separated. Dorothy noted that she has heard that some trail walkers feel less safe with increased bicycle and electric bike/scooter traffic – we want trail networks to work for all active transportation users! Twinning trails can help achieve this.
- Connectivity: This is something Dorothy is already working on! We want bike routes that are connected, and without gaps in high-use areas. Merging into traffic after bike infrastructure (abruptly) ends creates confusion and increases risk. We noticed this first hand when cycling north on Columbia St. W and the cycle lane abruptly stopped after King St. A component of one of Dorothy’s key three issues, “A Greener, More Sustainable City”, is “expand[ing] the equitable, protected, active transportation network and connect[ing] it with the regional network” – it’s what we want to see happen!
- Protected bike lanes: where cyclists are sharing streets with vehicles, a form of physical barrier (flex bollards etc.) are important in providing protection and keeping cyclists safer. We rode along Columbia St W (Iron Horse Trail to east of Weber St) to show that the painted bike lane is inadequate, and we would prefer to see infrastructure similar to that running along University Ave. Similarly, “bike boxes” for left-hand turns are a sorry excuse for bike infrastructure – at Columbia St W and Phillip St. cars turning left drove right over the painted bike box “infrastructure”. Paint is not infrastructure!
- Lighting: Investing in lighting along multi-use pathways (e.g. Iron Horse Trail) improves the safety and accessibility of trail networks for cyclists and other trail users. We want to see more lighting like the Farmers Market Trail and the Kitchener half of the Iron Horse.
Dorothy seems eager and ready to get to work on cycling and active transportation in our City – she mentioned her plan to use the mayoral car allowance for an e-bike, bus pass, and carshare account, instead of a personal vehicle. Leading by example is so important. Let’s get out and vote!