Reader Question: What are the most problematic issues facing Waterloo Region’s cyclists?

A reader, Miss ON, is doing some research for a class project and wants to hear from us Waterloo Region cyclists: What are the biggest, most controversial issues facing Waterloo Region Cyclists.

And being one not to dwell on the negative, cause it’s too easy for me, I’ll ask another: What’s the best part of being a cyclist in Waterloo Region.

Thanks in advance for your answer!

About Graham Roe

A four season commuter sans l'auto, switching up my commute between running and biking. I love my toys, but hate spending hard earned cash to get them and precious time tinkering with them - get me durable performant gear, so I can have my next adventure! Catch me on http://waterloobikes.ca
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8 Responses to Reader Question: What are the most problematic issues facing Waterloo Region’s cyclists?

  1. Graham Roe says:

    Course is People and Plans (PLAN 233) at University of Waterloo

  2. dave says:

    Best: Roads outside the city, to the north and west. Big wide paved shoulders, although you have to dodge some horse dung

  3. clasher says:

    I think there should be a regional trail strategy that works with the cities… I mean there’s a pretty good central cycling corridor that kind of already exists at a regional level and with stuff like a ped/foot bridge for Conestoga Mall I think with the region behind things it might be able to get the MTO to pay attention. There’s that nice bridge in Kitchener between Courtland and the flyover but I don’t think it will be used for Kitchener’s route to connect the iron horse to the trail at the end of Wilson but IDK, I haven’t seen any information on what CoK plans to do with regards to that idea. But the nice thing is that most of this “CCC” is already pretty safe to ride and only has a few crappy intersections.

    Generally there are so many dangerous places in the region to cross busy roads or lob forbid you wanna turn left somewhere… for years I’ve just given up and done the 3 right turns instead of a left if it only adds a couple klicks.

    Another safe 401 crossing in Cambridge, around Franklin road and maybe see the trail that runs along the speed river upgraded too, though I’ve never ridden it and have no idea if it’s of use to Cambridge riders, the bit I’ve ridden near riverside park is okay but more of a pedestrian trail.

    I’m sure I sound like a broken record but having lived in Hamilton for a bit last year I really loved seeing their signed bike routes that matched up with the maps they have online and they have a really nice bike route network. I guess that’s what I mean

    I hope whoever is using our comments gets good marks :)

  4. clasher says:

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2111746 was supposed to be linked somewhere in that top paragraph… it’s a quick map of what I call the central cycling corridor (totally ripping off the LRT folks)

  5. Graham Roe says:

    Here at WaterlooBikes we post and comment quite a bit on local issues challenging our cycling habits.

    http://waterloobikes.ca/category/vent

    I’ll highlight a few of mine:
    * Lack of connectivity in our cycling network — My pet peeve on this one is how the cycling lane, or painted gutter line, disappears on Erb as you approach the highway. Then you suddenly find yourself on the one ramp entering the highway with cars accelerating to highway speeds and 2 seconds ago you were thought you were in a bike lane.
    * Roundabouts – Linked to connectivity, these things in waterloo region were designed just for motor vehicles. A cyclist enters the roundabout in a bike lane which then ends abruptly on a sidewalk or the cyclist is forced to take the lane in a sea of automobiles who have no idea what just happened. If the road has a bike lane, it should continue into the roundabout.
    * Lack of winter maintenance of our bike lanes. Really we just cycle in Waterloo Region’s gutters.
    (ok I could go on and on)

    What I like about this area?
    * Our roads are smaller, have less traffic than our mega city neighbour, Toronto.
    * I absolutely love the Iron Horse trail. I will bike out of my a couple kilometers just to travel along it. I notice that my stress levels decrease, I breathe easier, I enjoy cycling more. I can relax.
    * I am grateful I live in a city (cities) that are actively trying to change the transportation paradigm. It may be too slow, I may complain, but it’s awesome to see the changes. (more bike lanes, road diets, sharrows, bike boxes, a growing bicycle culture)

    • Adam G says:

      I am pretty sure I read about a study that found that bike lanes in roundabouts are actually quite a bit less safe for cyclists than not having them.

      I do agree that roundabouts are somewhat problematic in that they are intimidating to cyclists and pedestrians, though personally I find that I prefer them to signalized intersections. I think the trick will be to get motorists to be more aware of other road users in roundabouts, but I don’t know how to do that other than making it more normal by increasing the number of people using them as non-motorists.

  6. Adam G says:

    I think the biggest issue is lack of funding for bicycle-related initiatives. The Region and Kitchener and Waterloo all have great plans for improving infrastructure, but then things happen in a disconnected and halfhearted manner because council will not allocate sufficient funding to do them properly.

    The best thing is that the Region is a pretty great place to ride. People are generally good at sharing the road. Traffic isn’t too intense and we have nice wide roads. We have great geography for recreational and sport, but it is not so hilly or sprawling as to make utility cycling onerous.

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