Tag Archives: bicycles

Transportation : Cycling and Walking, part 3 of my Fourth of Five Priorities

My Pledges: I will continue to advocate for more cycling and walking infrastructure. I will fight for better snow clearing.

Cycling

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.

Walking

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?

Transportation LRT Part 1

Transportation Roads Part 2

Transportation, Transit, Part 4

 

 

Sidewalk Bicycles a Menace

Talking to my neighbour on the sidewalk this morning when a middle aged guy on a bicycle came barrelling down the sidewalk and barely swerved by us onto the boulevard. This on Sunday morning with no cars on Highpoint. I said in a loud voice “Shouldn’t be on the sidewalk” and “A woman was killed in Toronto,” but he ignored us.
My neighbour told me how her little dog had had his lead tangled in bicycle spokes and was dragged along by a sidewalk bicyclist. She managed to untangle him with a lot of angry words but the cyclist just rode away with out an apology or anything. My previous dog was runover by a sidewalk cyclist when he was a puppy and was afraid of bicycles all his life.
My husband when he was walking to the bus stop at WLU used to yell at the cyclists riding on the sidewalk along University.
“My wife had those those bike paths put on the road at great expense, get off the sidewalk!”
I told him not to say that!
I’m the regional rep on the Regional cycling advisory committee. They are all keen cyclists and the committe and staff and myself have worked hard to improve a, frankly, poor cycling network. Bike racks on the front of buses, more bike lanes and trails, cycling facilities (bike racks) at the bus station, etc.
Recently, staff cut the size of bike lanes to .65 of a metre from over a metre. (two feet from three feet basically) to get more lanes on the roads and clean up the patchwork. It’s still a big job, but snowy places like Denmark and Sweden have lots of bike lanes, why can’t we?
The committee just had a look at Franklin Blvd in Cambridge and suggested that an off road multi-use trail be used instead of bike lanes on such a busy street. There are multi-use lanes on Northfield in Waterloo and Fischer-Hallman and I find them very useful.
Actually though, it is no safer on a sidewalk than on the road especially with a bike lane. It just seems safer.

On a multi-use trail or sidewalk along a road, a cyclist by law must stop at each cross road and driveway (Ha! not likely). On a bike lane, the bike is the vehicle it is under the traffic act and can ride along the road without stopping  — like a car. That’s why we have bike lanes along roads.
While I can see people’s concern on busy roads, it seems to me that people are riding on the sidewalks all over the place.
IT IS ILLEGAL.
This past week in Toronto, a woman was killed by a cyclist who hit her while she was walking on the sidewalk. The cyclist was also on the sidewalk.
I am going to bring up at Planning and Works this incident and ask that police have a crack down. Except on multi-use trails, cyclists on the road! And ring your bell (you do have one on your bike, right?) so we know you’re coming on trails.