Slow, calmed, and closed streets: what do you think?

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Slow street being used by car and bike, with sign indicating local traffic and shared space for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

Earlier this year, city council unanimously approved a motion directing staff to review opportunities to create more active transportation space to help with physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff developed some new measures, and fast-tracked others to create safer spaces for walking, cycling and other modes of active transportation. The new initiatives include slow streets, reduced speed and traffic calmed streets, and closed streets. If you haven't come across any of these areas yet, there's a full list of streets and details on our website. You may have also noticed temporary cycling lanes in the city; the Region of Waterloo is working on their own projects to support active transportation.

We'd like to hear from you about how you feel using these new, temporary spaces, and whether anything we've done has encouraged you to walk, bike or otherwise be more active when it comes to transportation. Please take a few moments to complete our survey, and to share any additional comments or stories about your experiences in our Guestbook.

Earlier this year, city council unanimously approved a motion directing staff to review opportunities to create more active transportation space to help with physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff developed some new measures, and fast-tracked others to create safer spaces for walking, cycling and other modes of active transportation. The new initiatives include slow streets, reduced speed and traffic calmed streets, and closed streets. If you haven't come across any of these areas yet, there's a full list of streets and details on our website. You may have also noticed temporary cycling lanes in the city; the Region of Waterloo is working on their own projects to support active transportation.

We'd like to hear from you about how you feel using these new, temporary spaces, and whether anything we've done has encouraged you to walk, bike or otherwise be more active when it comes to transportation. Please take a few moments to complete our survey, and to share any additional comments or stories about your experiences in our Guestbook.

Slow, calmed and closed street stories

Do you have additional feedback or comments about our new slow, reduced speed, calmed and closed streets? Please share them here. 

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Re temporary bicycle lanes. I have been keeping an informal count of the number of times I see cyclists using these (ugly) temporary lanes. So far since their creation, I've seen a total of 7 cyclists over the months. That's it! I drive around the city quite a bit. I also see long lanes of traffic squeezed into one lane beside the empty bicycle lanes. Very inefficient and time for the pilot project to end especially with all the construction we need to navigate around. If cycle lanes are a plan, then please go ahead and make official lanes but keep the car lanes. This city is already very congested. Thank you

C-in-Wloo 2 months ago

More speed bumps and traffic calming on busy roads please! The street that is need of the most attention for noise and dangerous speed is Bridge Street, especially between Northfield and Eastbridge. It's just being treated as a highway now. We need those lanes reduced, and other ways to calm the traffic. Thousands of residents near Bridge Street have to deal with the increased traffic noise and pollution. Dangerous especially for kids crossing Bridge Street at Chesapeake and Eastbridge to get to and from school. There's no need for such an insanely busy road in residential Waterloo. Please take action,!

Aniras 4 months ago

The 40KM/h in a residential is fine. 30KM/h in school is fine. Keep those different than the rest.

Jbg 4 months ago

I am 84 years old and I lived in the Uptown area for 84 years as I was born on William Street. I have seen the Waterloo with electric trolley buses and now the new ION. Waterloo used to have a vibrant uptown with stores, a mall and restaurants that drew people to them. Now there is bunch of restaurants a mall that stores move out from because of a lack of traffic. This is why politicians should not be allowed to participate into urban planning. Now the downtown is inaccessible and friends who had businesses in uptown now have closed them down due to the ION construction and the creation of Durrell's noodle lights. . I am afraid that we will follow Kitchener's lead and the downtown will deteriorate into Drug dealers, pawn shops and prostitutes as business flee the downtown Waterloo area. But I have never seen something as stupid as this slow streets and these bike lanes. No one uses them! I have never seen a bunch of arrogant and self ingratiating politicians such as our Mayor and councilors who do not believe they need community input, answer people's emails, respond to a request to a meeting with their constituents or take their phone calls. One of the people on this guest book asked a legitimate a question, what problem are you trying to solve? They ripped up Erb Street and King Street multiple times during the ION constructions. Do you think the City and Region could have widened the road or developed multi-use side walks as people already ride their bikes the wrong way to traffic on sidewalks. Instead we got the noodle lights which are confusing at nights and make the down town look like a cheap chicken ranch in Nevada! The slow street initiative is a total waste of money and the current councilor is placating three to four well known neighbourhood whiners who make up and exaggerate the need for bike lanes and the traffic counts. A simple observation does not support the metrics advocated by these whiners. We already have four-way stops, narrowed roads, and speed bumps which already slow traffic. The flappers in the middle of the road show that this was not thought through as car have to drive over them when two cars are parked on a narrow street. As a retired registered nurse, I am appalled by excuse of COVID to waste money on this and the propaganda saying we need this for social distancing. As far I am concerned, the politicians and their lies are just as bad as lying Donald Trump!

OldLadyWestmount 4 months ago

It is too bad that the COVID 19 curing temporary bike lanes are so poorly designed and confusing. Unfortunately, a bicyclist will have to die before something is done about it. I have recently witnessed two frightening close calls attributable to the above. In the first case, An eastbound motorist was turning left, on a green light, from Erb Street onto King Street North. Two bicyclists proceeded to overtake him on the left side as he was turning left. The first bicyclist made it. The second one barely avoided collision, due to the skill of the driver. It was clear from their reaction that they were convinced that, since they were going straight through, they had the right-of-way. The motorist was obviously very surprised. I suspect that the cause of this situation is that the new bike lanes are, simply, on the wrong side of the street. (The same can be said of the new Bridgeport Road bike lanes.) In the second case, an eastbound motorist was turning right, on a green light, from Erb Street onto Westmount South. He had to make an awkward turn as the right lane has been closed for bicyclists, right up to the intersection. A bicyclist sped straight through on the right of the motorist as he turned right. The cyclist appeared to be just as surprised as the motorist. The cyclist's salute indicated his conviction that he was in the right. Once again, it was up to the driver to avoid bloodshed. Being forced to routinely make a right turn from the left lane is an unusual maneuver. It's not in the drivers handbook, and it's not consistent with traffic safety. These new, and unexpected driving hazards are attributable to poor bike lane design.

Bob Smith 4 months ago

I have the following problems with this initiative, one the lack of consultation, made up metrics, what problem are you trying to solve, lack of leadership and planning. First there was zero consultation on this initiative and buy in from stakeholders on this.Second there is made up metrics on this, councilors and staff told me that there was so many bicycles and pedestrians who are forced to use the road. It was also because of COVID and the need to physical distance. Here are my problems with this, there was no metrics to support this and the sidewalks are not overcrowded and the bicycle traffic is not there. Second, there was no study to determine if people on these streets could use alternate forms of transportations to get to work. Duh, if they commute 30-40K to get to work, these initiatives are not viable. The reasoning for COVID is an abuse of powers under the emergency act to ram this down our throats. I work for multi-national company and I have had three colleagues die from COVID and an Aunt die of COViD. To use this as an excuse is offensive. There needs to be accurate metrics with real statistics. I am afraid a survey monkey survey will be used to jusitify this?Three What problem are you trying to solve? In the Roslin, Alexandra and John Street area, there are four way stops, speed bumps, and the narrowing of roads have already been done. You cannot go much faster than 40 km/h. Yet we a small vocal minority making up stuff saying that it is so busy in these neighbourhoods when this problem already has been solved. The facts and observation do not back this up! Stop wasting money and making stuff up! The paddle signs in the middle of streets are nuts as well. If cars are parked on both sides of the streets, you have to drive over them!Four, the leadership and planning of council and staff is an epic fail! Some of the councillors who have never held management positions are showing their lack of skills. They failed as leaders to get buy in - they made stuff up which do not support the facts. In addition, there is a lack of planning on this by asking some very simple questions such as how many of you could use alternate forms of transportation to get to work, is it viable, and is it a problem? They failed miserably on the lack of public consultation! Also, there is a lack of an overall plan on alternative transportation. Where does this need to be implemented so that a maxiumum number of people could use alternative transportation? How is it going to be interlinked? What happened to the Dawson St. bike lane/path. It changes like the weather! If no one is using this, then it is a big waste of money and time! Once again we have a made up problem looking for a solution. Also, will you please post the comments from the survery both for and against.

JoLogicCommonSense 4 months ago

I appreciate the idea of embracing the pandemic to make some positive changes, but traffic in Uptown West is an ongoing area for discussion and collaboration with the neighbourhood. All of these initiatives seem to have come without consultation. We have volume of traffic problems on some of our local streets and they are the ones that need rethinking for prioritizing active transportation/complete streets. It is unfair to arbitrarily choose some local streets from a grid patterned neighbourhood and leave others to carry the vehicle traffic. Traffic count statistics should be consulted and an overall plan created. Much of Uptown West is near Allen station. Why not get super creative and make UW Waterloo's first pedestrian neighbourhood! Force the cars to use the collector roads instead of driving through. Cut the local roads in half by making them all one ways, using the free half for bikes, buggies, skateboards, and joggers - even parking. Imagine it!

Ground Zero 4 months ago