Complete Street Celebration

In case you missed Waterloo Bikes excessive runup announcements over the past few weeks, yesterday was the Davenport Grand Opening.

It was a educational event about the new street and it’s new features. I found the most interesting parts were discussions with the consulting engineers as well as the City of Waterloo Project Manager for the Davenport work. But that’s the nerd in me talking. There was also a pretty awesome skateboard demonstration and a charity barbecue. I spoke with the Sportchek guy doing free tune ups and he was busy.

The bike box at Lexington was completed this week just in time for the grand opening. I got a demonstration by a staff member of the consulting team who showed up to man her booth on her bike. Notice that this bike box is for left and right hand turns from Davenport onto Lexington. I’m told it will be painted in the near future.

Bike Box Demonstration
Bike Box Demonstration by IBI Group

There is a sign which spells out how the box should be used is installed. I like the added touch of the website url. It should also read “drive now, surf later” so there’s no confusion.

Bike Box Information Sign
Sign indicating to drivers and cyclists how to use the bike box

There were several levels of politicians on hand for the opening. Rightly so, as a good portion of the funding for this project came from the upper levels of government. I was even able to share my feedback on the street with Mrs. Witmer and Mr. Braid. Mrs. Witmer was especially interested in talking bikes with me. She was born in the Netherlands and still visits family there.

Ribbon Cutting at Davenport Road Grand Opening
The Grand Opening brought representatives from 3 levels of Government (left to right - Councillor Diane Freeman, MPP Elizabeth Witmer, and MP Peter Braid)

I was a little concerned when I first arrived at the street. It had just finished raining and there weren’t many people. That all changed in the hour or so that I was there. The turnout ended up better than expected I think. It’s hard to tell when the people are spread out so much.

Cutting Ribbon at Davenport Grand Opening Phil Hewitson, Councillor Melissa Durrell, Councillor Jeff Henry, Elizabeth Witmer MPP and Peter Braid MP.
Cutting Ribbon at Davenport Grand Opening (L-R) Phil Hewitson, Councillor Melissa Durrell, Councillor Jeff Henry, Elizabeth Witmer MPP and Peter Braid MP.

Everyone I personally spoke with was really excited about the street.¬†Surprisingly, not everyone in attendance agreed. At the City of Waterloo pavilion I heard that a few people who stopped by were upset that the lanes were reduced and that the street was now slower (in fact the street handles the same amount of traffic as ever, only more safely). I guess that’s what life is like in public service though, someone complains no matter how much progress is made. I made sure to let them know how great the street looked and how I appreciated that the work had been done. I rarely go to the mall, but I might be tempted to go more often now that it’s a little more bikeable.

One other complaint that I heard (which doesn’t warrant consideration IMO) was that queuing behind a bus across from Kidsability can delay traffic due to the nature of their service. I think it takes a special kind of person to make that complaint.

5 thoughts on “Complete Street Celebration

  1. Looks good.
    Also took a look at the City of Waterloo’s website and they have a cycling map that shows all ‘future’ planned bike lanes. It looks like they have big plans with lanes going on a lot of major roads around town. I wish Kitchener would show the same kind of concrete plan instead of just a vague master plan.

  2. The commenters in the record are almost completely negative about Davenport’s redesign. How representative of the general population would you peg the record’s audience?

    http://www.therecord.com/news/local/article/575003–waterloo-opens-first-complete-street

    Here’s another blog post on the event from Bill Bean – http://therecord.blogs.com/take_the_lane/2011/08/this-is-how-we-build-complete-streets-slowly.html

    And yet another from the waterloons: http://waterloons.blogspot.com/2011/08/why-davenport-is-good-idea.html

    1. Most Record commenters are on a scale between crusty a completely bitter and jaded. They definitely have a demographic!

  3. The Record’s comment section is getting almost as bad as youtube.

    It’d be nice to see more segregated bike lanes instead of on-road bike lanes, but I’ll take what we can get, I guess.

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