My Pledges: I will continue to advocate for more cycling and walking infrastructure. I will fight for better snow clearing.
Some people think that cycling is only done by rich, middle-aged men in Spandex. In fact it is the primary transportation for many poor people who cannot afford a car and find that transit can be expensive.
When I first got on Regional Council in 2000, I became the representative on the new Regional Cycling Advisory Committee because no one else was interested. We worked on the first Cycling Master Plan, putting lines on maps where bike lanes should go. We asked for money to build a network and begged staff to include bike lanes in roads projects.
Since then, along with the new staff person who works on alternative transportation and the cyclists, I have quietly and sometimes not so quietly worked on improving cycling in Waterloo Region.
Bike racks on buses, bicycle racks by bus stops and boxes to store bicycles, bike lanes down University and many other roads, bike lanes now included in every Regional road work, route maps, bike routes on Google, the Waterloo Spur line, segregated bike lanes. It is time to point out that the councillor who championed all this at the Region is ME.
We still have a long way to go. Segregated bike lanes are just beginning. We still need to fill in the gaps on the cycling routes. Cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists need more education to work together. Snow clearing is also an issue for cyclists. Like in Scandinavia, more cyclists are riding in the winter. Bike lanes are not for dumping cleared snow.
I was so happy that the argument for segregated bike lanes for Manitou Dr. was about multi-use paths versus segregated lanes, not about whether cyclists should even be on roads.
It’s only been a few years since the Region took over the care and building of sidewalks on Regional roads from the cities. Like bike lanes, sidewalks are not on both sides of all regional roads. It is patchwork, though some are being installed with road upgrades. Snow clearing on the sidewalks and at bus stops continues to be a problem. It can be particularly difficult when a snow plow goes around a street corner and blocks off the way onto the street with a high hill of snow.
Walking across a roundabout is a problem, both for the able-bodied and the disabled. Where people nearby are disabled, the Region will, in the near future, put up a light away from the crossing right at the roundabout.
Constituents have asked why the crossings are so close to the roundabout. The answer is that pedestrians will not walk back a car length or two but will cross where it seems natural to cross.
Drivers are supposed to stop to let pedestrians cross at roundabouts. I would like to see all the small signs saying that traffic must stop for pedestrians made bigger, like those at Block Line road.
Walking is the basic form of locomotion for humans. Some use it for transportation and many use it for exercise. Why should people be stuck walking down a dirt path on the side of busy roads like Manitou?