Why is the Region of Waterloo undertaking this study?

    The Region of Waterloo is undertaking this study to support ongoing efforts to create more walkable, bikeable and livable communities. The study will aim to recommend facilities to enhance cycling on key corridors throughout the Region, providing more safety, comfort, and connectivity for cyclists. This study also aims to provide more transportation options for people living and working in the Region of Waterloo as well as meet the Region’s climate change objectives by improving sustainable transportation.

    How will this study enhance cycling?

    This study is evaluating the feasibility of improving existing cycling facilities and expanding the Region's cycling network. Cycle tracks, which are physically separated from motor vehicle traffic, are being considered to create a more comfortable environment for people. The study will also help to increase connectivity between existing cycling facilities and create a safer, more continuous cycling network.

    What corridors are included in this study?

    The study will be looking to convert the existing temporary designs to permanent designs along: 

    • King Street from University Avenue to Columbia Street
    • University Avenue from Albert Street to Seagram Drive
    • Erb Street from Caroline Street North to Peppler Street

    We will also be developing a feasibility study to examine temporary and permanent facility alternatives for:

    • King Street from Columbia Street to Weber Street
    • University Avenue from Seagram Drive to Westmount Road
    • Erb Street from Peppler Street to Bridgeport Road
    • Bridgeport Road from Albert Street to Riverbend Drive
    • Caroline Street from Albert Street to Erb Street

    Other corridors throughout the Region are not included in the scope of this study but may be included in other projects (e.g., the City of Waterloo is adding separated facilities on Columbia Street as a separate assignment).

    Are there safety concerns when mixing pedestrians and cyclists?

    In general, providing a separated space for each type of user is preferred. However, where space is constrained or where there are low volumes of users, a facility where pedestrians and cyclist share space, like a multi-use path, is acceptable. The interactions between pedestrians and cyclists on a multi-use path present far less of a safety concern than mixing cyclists and high-speed vehicles on a shared roadway.

    What is considered a "separated" cycling facility? Concrete barriers and flex-posts? Full-grade separation? All of the above?

    Yes, separated facilities usually refer to all of the above. A separated cycling facility provides physical separation between people riding bicycles and motor vehicle traffic. It typically does not include separation by paint only, even if there is a painted buffer. Separated cycling facilities can be unidirectional or bi-directional and may be raised from the roadway. We will be considering the feedback gathered during the pilot project and this study, as well as best practices in cycling design to determine the most appropriate form of separation for the corridors included in this study.

    How are intersections being designed for this study?

    At this phase of the project, we have not yet selected the preferred design of the facilities so the design of intersections has not yet been determined. Once the preferred design is selected and more detailed functional design plans begin to be developed, intersection designs will be created. The objective is to create intersections that provide a high level of comfort, safety and separation to reduce the risk of collision at intersections.

    Will the facilities be maintained in the winter?

    The facilities will be designed so that the existing sidewalk clearing machines can maintain them during the winter months. Additional details regarding winter maintenance will be confirmed once the preferred designs are selected and we start to develop more detailed functional design plans.

    Would trees need to be removed to accommodate the new cycling facilities as part of the study (for example, along University Avenue near the University of Waterloo campus)?

    The proposed facilities will be designed to minimize impacts to existing trees, but it is possible that some trees will be impacted. We will be reviewing in more detail in subsequent phases of the design. There may also be some opportunities to add additional trees as part of the project.

    Is any private property required for the implementation of these cycling facilities?

    The intention is for these facilities to remain within the Regional right of way but the study will identify if any private property is required at specific locations.

    Will the proposed cycling facilities require lane reductions on Bridgeport Road and Erb Street, making them two-lane roads instead of three-lane?

    Yes, a vehicular curb lane would be removed and the space would be used for the cycling facility on sections of Bridgeport Road and Erb Street in all of the proposed alternatives.

    Will the cycling facilities cause significant delay for motorists along Bridgeport Road and Erb Street?

    In general, we expect marginal impacts on travel time. Bridgeport Road and Erb Street operate with surplus capacity today, even at peak hours, and can accommodate the loss of a lane without introducing excessive delays. As part of subsequent phases of the project we will be reviewing the lane configuration at each intersection in detail, and we will explore opportunities to add turn lanes or adjust signal timing to reduce delays.

    It was mentioned that cycling ridership has increased in recent years. How was this determined and how much of that increase is attributed to COVID? How can you ensure that this increase will be sustained?

    The initial phases of the pilot project saw increases in cycling during the 2018-2019 season (pre-pandemic). This is documented in the Uptown Waterloo Separated Bike Lane Pilot Project: Final Evaluation report. The increases that were observed during the pandemic have, in large part, been sustained across North America, especially in communities where the implementation of high- quality facilities have been accelerated and maintained.

    Has the Region considered converting Bridgeport Road and Erb Street to two-way corridors for car traffic?

    Converting Bridgeport and Erb to two-way facilities was not considered. This is beyond the scope of this study.

    How will you integrate transit with these facilities?

    Once the preferred designs are selected, we will develop more detailed functional design plans which will show how cycling facilities and transit will interact and how the designs will support active transportation users to connect to transit facilities.

    When will construction for these facilities occur?

    The final preliminary design of the preferred alternative is set to be completed in 2023. The approved cycling facility will be constructed as part of each road’s scheduled reconstruction, identified in the 10-year capital forecast, or will be implemented as stand-alone projects.