Municipal Candidates endorse cycling and active transportation in Waterloo Region

It’s exciting to see our Municipal leaders lining up to sign the Active Communities pledge support active transportation. It’ll be even more interesting to see how this pledge translates when it comes to approval of the Uptown King St protected bicycle lanes.

Both voters and candidates can take the active communities pledge.

Full text of the press release by TriTAG and Share the Road below!


 

WATERLOO REGION LEADS IN ACTIVE COMMUNITIES PLEDGE

Campaign invites municipal candidates to endorse cycling and active transportation before Waterloo Region residents go to the polls on October 27th.

WATERLOO REGION – September 2, 2014.  Twenty-four municipal candidates from Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo have pledged to support walking and biking in their communities if elected, more than all other Ontario municipalities combined. In the wake of recent opinion polls that show growing support for measures to promote cycling, this Ontario-wide campaign is asking candidates in the upcoming October 27th municipal election to back policies that support cycling and other forms of active transportation.

In addition to having the most council and mayoral candidates supporting the pledge, the Region also boasts the first two school board trustee candidates to support safer walking and cycling to school.

“Waterloo Region has recognized and embraced the importance of active transportation, and has shown leadership and dedication to creating more walkable, bikeable and livable communities. The benefits of this approach are becoming widely recognized, a fact that is reflected in the broad support for the Active Communities Pledge amongst candidates for municipal and regional office in the upcoming election.” said Justin Jones, Manager of the Bicycle Friendly Communities program with Share the Road. “At Share the Road we’re pleased to see so many champions for active transportation emerging in the Waterloo Region, and look forward to working with whichever candidates are elected to ensure that all communities in Waterloo Region continue to be provincial leaders in creating healthier, more prosperous and better connected communities.”

The Active Communities Pledge campaign invites all municipal candidates to:

  • Promote active transportation, including cycling and walking, in their community;

  • Support the construction of new projects that serve to make walking and cycling easier and more accessible to all residents, regardless of age or ability;

  • Support their community in applying for a Bicycle Friendly Community designation from Share the Road or, if the community is already recognized as a BFC, work towards achieving the next award level by the end of this upcoming term;

  • Work to ensure that their community supports and contributes to the implementation of the Ontario Cycling Strategy #CycleOn by developing programs, projects and policies that enhance safety, drive tourism, provide economic spinoffs and promote overall health in the community;

  • Support the development of a Complete Streets Policy in their community to ensure that all roads serve all road users in a safe, effective manner;

  • Ensure that their community has a dedicated funding source for active transportation projects to ensure consistent, continuous improvement in the conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.

Cycling and active transportation advocates in Waterloo Region and across Ontario are emphasizing that the Active Communities Pledge is about boosting awareness of the issues, not pressuring politicians.

“Candidates and voters know that neighbourhoods and communities that are walkable and bikeable offer a better quality of life. They reduce traffic congestion and cut pollution, boost local retail spend, draw in new tourist dollars, promote a healthy lifestyle for adults and children, and help build a friendlier, more cohesive community,” said Mike Boos, a member of the Tri-cities Transport Action Group (TriTAG). “Active transportation will also be vital to the success of ION rapid transit. Moreover, communities that have focused on building walkable, bikeable places have proven that the long-term infrastructure costs associated with active transportation are much lower than auto-dependent infrastructure, resulting in a lower tax burden for our residents in the long run. This campaign is about increasing public awareness, building voter support, and encouraging our local politicians to make a commitment to bike friendly policies that will benefit our entire community.”

The cities of Waterloo and Kitchener have already been recognized for supporting bicycling and active transportation through Silver Bicycle Friendly Community designations in 2014.

The Share the Road Coalition, which is sponsoring the province-wide Active Communities Pledge Campaign, released a province-wide poll (2014) showing that:

  • 68 per cent of the Ontario Residents said that the provincial government should invest in infrastructure for cyclists to encourage more people to ride their bikes more often. The survey also indicated that:

  • 70 per cent of Ontarians agree that better infrastructure would get more people riding their bikes

  • 66 per cent of Ontarians agree that getting more people on bikes benefits everyone, not just cyclists

  • 89 per cent Of Ontarians support programs that are focused on getting more children to walk and bike to school

For a full list of candidates who have signed the pledge go to: http://www.activecommunitiespledge.ca/see-who-signed.php

The Tri-cities Transport Action Group (TriTAG) is a local grassroots organization advocating for the ability to walk, bike, or take transit in Waterloo Region with dignity. In addition to supporting the Active Communities Pledge, TriTAG is preparing a survey on walking, bicycling, and transit issues for local municipal election candidates, the responses of which will be published in October.

For information:

Mike Boos, Executive Committee Member, Tri-cities Transport Action Group 226-476-1313 ext. 804 or media@tritag.ca

Justin Jones, Manager, Bicycle Friendly Communities, Share the Road Cycling Coalition 416-617-4973 or Justin@sharetheroad.ca

Posted in Cambridge, Community, Kitchener, News, Waterloo, Waterloo Region | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

August 2014 Open Streets and Bicycle Security

I love my home in Waterloo Region. This past weekend was the first at home since before Father’s Day. Being away really helped me see my community through fresh eyes again. There are so many community builders who are helping to shape us into a livable, sustainable city.

There were lots of people out to Open Streets Waterloo this past weekend. It surprised me cause my neighbourhood was super quiet, it seemed lots were away, but everyone who was in the city seemed to come to Uptown.

It was quite a bizarre mix, kids zone to urban evangelists to crotch rockets to wrestling.

And a real twilight zone lesson on bicycle security.

Right outside the Starlight, I came across this bike frame that was still locked, but had been totally stripped, as in only the crank and bottom bracket remained.

I figured it was a good example of how not to lock a bike, especially a $1500 mountain bike.

DSC_0991After I snapped the picture, the guy in the grey shoes (top right) rather sheepishly said ‘I guess it’s worthy of a picture’.  And then promptly unlocked the bike and proceeded to tell me his story.

The night before he’d come to the Starlight, and partied way too hard. After drinking himself silly, he passed out in the washroom. His friends somehow got him home.

He was dumbfounded how in one night on the busiest street in town, his $1500 bicycle was dismantled. I wanted to tell him how to properly lock his bike, but he was hurting too much.

Hal are you around?

While we’re on the topic of bike security, what do you think about Waterloo’s new on street parking?

On Street Bike Parking, Waterloo (Willis Way and Regina)

On Street Bike Parking, Waterloo (Willis Way and Regina)

Some other pictures from Open Streets Waterloo.

Bubbles

Bubbles

Waterloo Active Transportation Coordinator John Griffin

Waterloo Active Transportation Coordinator John Griffin

Red tiger striped leotards are wrong

Red tiger striped leotards are wrong

music rocks

music rocks

Waterloo Parks new playground, kids loved it!

Waterloo Parks new playground, kids loved it!

 

Posted in Bicycles, Community, Security, Stolen, Waterloo | Tagged , | 5 Comments

A note to the Danish tourists who are horrified by our car culture

Dear Horrified Danish Tourists, (i wish i had a photo of a horrified danish tourist)

There are a number of Canadians (lots actually) who are likewise horrified and are working to change car culture, lessen the need for parking lots, refuse to be traffic, live active life styles and are working out meaningful community #waterloobikes #awesome

via National Post – link

An open letter to the people who hold power and responsibility in Canada,

My girlfriend and I (Danish) were tourists in your country for 5 weeks this summer. We had the most incredible adventure and met the most wonderful Canadians, who welcomed us warmly into their homes.

Apart from these people, who sincerely do your nation credit, our overwhelming memory of Canada is one of cars, traffic, parking and the related obesity and unfulfilled communities. It is an impression that we have since shared with other tourists who have visited Canada.

Before arriving in Canada we had a genuine impression of a clean, healthy and sustainable first world country. Upon arrival in Toronto we were horrified to see great oceans of car parks deserting the landscape and 12 lane high ways, rammed packed with huge SUVs, with people going no where. A greater shock came when we discovered that this kind of infrastructure is not reserved just for the sprawl surrounding towns and cities but that highways actually run through city centres too. As humans trying to enjoy Canada’s major cities (Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Halifax) we were treated like second class citizens compared to cars. The air was dirty, and the constant noise from horns and engines was unpleasant.

An observation that was especially noticeable in Halifax was the sheer amount of land in the city centre given to parking. Ginormous swaths of prime locations for living (parks, shops, cafés, market squares, theatres, playing fields etc – human activities which are key to quality of life) concreted over as homes for an ever increasing number of SUVs (most trucks and SUVs we saw contained only one person. The most SUVs we saw in a row were full of singular people driving through Tim Hortens). We asked the Canadians that we met how they felt living in such a car culture, here are a few of their responses:

‘Trying to solve traffic problems by building more roads is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger trousers.’ Ottawa

‘It’s only 10km to my work place. I would love to cycle, it would only take 30 minutes but it is simply not possible. I don’t feel safe. Instead I park and sweat, meaning after 25 minutes stuck in traffic I drive my car to the gym and waste another 25 minutes of time I could spend with my family.’ Quebec City

‘I hate cars in the city so much that I actually find myself slowing down as I cross the road, in a tiny effort to exert my authority as a human being over all that metal.’ Toronto

‘It seems to me that birds fly, fish swim and humans walk. Except in North America where you are expected to drive-everywhere. You wouldn’t put a fish in a submarine!’ Montreal

‘I am obese. My children are overweight and most of the people who live around here. I am surrounded by fast food chains, car parks and highways. I would love to ditch the car. My neighbourhood doesn’t even have sidewalks.’ Levis

As we explored more of the country we tried to console ourselves that at least a few cities were making an effort to make life liveable for humans – small local businesses, cycle infrastructure and pedestrianised streets. However, it felt like a token gesture rather than a genuine effort to make Canada a healthy, happy and sustainable country. Pedestrians were squeezed onto narrow pavements and forced to stop every 100m to cross the road, bike lanes were little more than paint on the ground for the cyclists to help protect the parked cars lining every street. We heard that the mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, is actually tearing up bicycle lanes to make way for more cars!

Walking and cycling are human activities that bring great life, health and economy to communities. Streets that prioritise cars over humans are bad for business, bad for health (mental, social and physical), unsafe and break down communities.

I write this letter to appeal to you to take radical steps to transform Canada into the healthy, happy and sustainable country we were expecting. You are a nation of the most fantastic people, we know because we met them everywhere! As citizens they deserve much, much better.

Come on Canada! When tourists visit Canada make sure they remember it for for its parks rather than parking.

Sincerely yours,
Holly Chabowski
Denmark

Posted in Bicycles, Bring it, Community, Vent | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Uptown Protected Bike Lanes – June 12 deadline

June 12 is the last day to submit comments on the ‘new’ street plan for King Street, Waterloo. Make sure the city recognizes that we’re asking for protected bike lanes, not deathrows or painted gutters!

To be sure the city / regional team’s preference is against protected bike lanes (refer to Appendix D: Evaluation of Final Alternatives).

Make you voice heard!

Let’s build the community we want to live in for the next 20 years. Your voice is important! (Check out TriTAG’s bike uptown slide deck asking where you’d rather bike.)

New option – May 29 2013 (via City of Waterloo pdf)

IMG_20140529_182241

Comments need to be sent by June 12th to:

King Street Streetscape Improvement Project (City of Waterloo)
Barb Magee Turner (City of Waterloo)
P. 519.747.8757  E. barb.mageeturner@waterloo.ca

King Street North Reconstruction
Eric Saunderson (Regional Municipality of Waterloo)
P. 519-575-4746   E. esaunderson@regionofwaterloo.ca

Love new designs

I absolutely love the new designs, it’s true protected cycling at its core, but these need to be the preferred designs. If this is approved by City and Regional councils, it will absolutely change the culture of our uptown experience and set precedent for future cycling infrastructure improvements in our region and in our province.

Concerns

One concern I have is that this plan is only for the King Street section north of Erb Street. South of Erb Street, which is about 100m to the tracks does not have any planned bicycle lanes. I’m worried that the lack of bicycle infrastructure south of Erb implies a lack of planned bicycle infrastructure along the LRT corridor south on King as well.  I will be following up with the streetscape team on these concerns.

Another is I want to see a plan to measure the effectiveness of the streetscape improvements. What is the increase/decrease on revenue for businesses? What is the increase/decrease in motor vehicle traffic? Bicycle traffic? Pedestrian traffic? Large Vehicle traffic? What is the impact on our quality of life (neighbourhood desirability for live, work and play)?

The other area that comes to mind is the plan for snow removal on the planned improvements? I’m not an expert but I didn’t see areas in the plan that could be used for on streetscape storage. The implication is that snow has to be completely removed for the entire surface.

Lastly I have not heard where the Uptown BIA stands on these improvements. I just sent an email today to Patti Brooks Executive Director for the BIA (patti.brooks@waterloo.ca) asking if the BIA has a formal position. I’m sure the BIA will have a big say in the preferred option that goes to the councils for vote.

A few pictures from our visit to public consultation on May 29th. A bunch of us met at Kitchener City hall and rode up through the proposed changes in Waterloo on our way to Waterloo City hall. Riding in the group of 10 or so cyclists really gave a feeling of increased safety.

IMG_20140529_181312

 

 

A few folks rode in their sunday best. Below is the shoe winner of our impromptu fashion contest.IMG_20140529_181330

 

 

 

Afterwards we hit Uptown for dinner. We had take-out from Tacofarm as our kids were famished needed the freedom that comes with backyard eating. You’ll notice my 7-seater bicycle below which is my mini-van killer, its a story for another post (babboe+chariot).
IMG_20140529_185728

Posted in Bicycles, Bring it, Community, Kitchener, Waterloo | Tagged | 8 Comments

New Fixit Bike Stand at Queen and Iron Horse Trail

Early Saturday morning, I stepped out of my house and began my run starting with a 5 minute warm up walk. We made it down Queen street, crossed the street, and was surprised to be greeted by this new fixture!

Brike Repair Stand

I thought back to Thursday morning and was pretty sure we would have seen this up as we did push ups and step ups on the bench right beside it (and trust me, I don’t think we could have missed this vibrant green thing had we tried!)

Here are all the tools available, all tied up so hopefully no one manages to steal them (sorry for the non specific view)

Bike repair Tools

It even comes equipped with it’s own tire pump!

Bike Repair air pump

This post is a really quick one to show the new bike Fixit right at Queen and the Iron Horse trail. I hope you all get a use out of it! I’m sure I will!

It even comes with a mini digital instruction book (www.dero.com/bike-repair)

Bike Fixit

I hope you all enjoy your week and I am excited to see if more of these keep popping up around town!

Posted in Bicycles, Community, Kitchener, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Protected Bike Lanes on King Street – May 29th Public Consultation

Today, we have an opportunity to make our voices heard in support of protected bike lanes on King Street. We have an unique opportunity to create a community that’s bikable for cyclists age 8-80.

Since December 2013 over 1000 of us signed a petition asking for protected bike lanes, now we need to continue to show our support to ensure the city and region approves plans for these protected bike lanes on King Street.

Join us on a bike ride to the public consultation. We are leaving Kitchener City Hall at 5.30pm to cycle up King Street thru Uptown Waterloo, to remind ourselves how important this project is to our community. For details on the ride refer to following facebook event.

King Street Streetscape Improvement Project

Further resources:

TriTAG.ca (@mikeboos) created a fantastic infographic specific to Uptown Waterloo. Two of us even delivered 50 hardcopies to businesses north of the tracks.

Posted in Bicycles, Community, News, Safety, Waterloo | Tagged | 3 Comments

Event: Uptown bike lanes – Take 2

At the last Public Information Centre for the Uptown Streetscape Improvement Project along King Street, City staff received comments on their proposed design, including that the bicycle lanes were too narrow and unsafe-looking.

Now they’ve adjusted the proposed design and are holding another Public Information Centre:

Thursday May 29
Drop in any time 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Waterloo City Hall atrium, 100 Regina Drive, Waterloo

Hope to see you there!

- TRANSCRIPT OF PUBLIC NOTICE BELOW  -

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