How can Uptown be made comfortable and safe for biking?
We can make Uptown King Street a great place to ride a bicycle by physically separating people on bikes from motorized traffic. This can be achieved with bollards, bumps, planters, raised curbs, or even parked cars! These lanes are known as protected bike lanes.
What are the benefits?
Protected bike lanes not only provide more safety to bicycle users, but they also make everyone else on the road safer as well.
Because they're so comfortable and stress-free, many more people choose to ride in protected facilities - on average, the number of people on bikes increases by 75% in the first year after protected bike lanes are installed.
In addition, protected lanes make streets feel more walkable, and bikes pass by slowly enough to see what's in the shops. Downtown areas thrive on being inviting places to stroll and browse.
"Investment in cycling infrastructure... (would) contribute not only to an increase in cycling rates, but contribute to the overall economic vitality of Uptown Waterloo and our city."
Why Uptown King Street?
Not only is King Street a main corridor for travel, it's a destination, and many people arrive by bike. What better place for to build a Complete Street that accommodates everyone - pedestrians, bicycle users, transit riders, and motorists - than in the very heart of the City?
A study by UW researchers for the City of Waterloo found that a majority of those surveyed arrived in Uptown without a car. It also discovered that traffic and a lack of bike lanes and parking were barriers to biking to shop in Uptown.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build Uptown right for bikes.
With ION coming, King Street will only be 2 lanes south of Erb Street - meaning there's no need for 4 lanes to the north. The City and the BIA want to reshape the street to create a more walkable, welcoming environment.
As driving rates decline and intensification increases, we also need to prepare for a future where more people get around by different modes.
"Continued thinking about how to make the cycling experience into Waterloo's core more comfortable for cyclists should remain a high priority for Waterloo councillors. People need options for getting around. Ongoing investment in cycling infrastructure will not only increase the economic health of the uptown, but the physical health of city residents as well."
What are the trade-offs?
In order to make room for protected bike lanes, 21 parking spaces would need to be taken off King Street. This represents less than 1% of the parking spaces in Uptown.
Who else has built them?
Protected bike lanes have been built in numerous cities, including Guelph, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and soon Kitchener.
"Bicycling is just a more efficient form of walking."
Contact your city and regional councillors and ask them to include protected bike lanes in the Uptown streetscape.
Support your favourite Uptown businesses and let them know you'd love to visit them more often by bike.
Spread the word:
Press for bike lanes:
(Write a letter to the editor.)
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Sign up for the TriTAG mailing list for updates on the Uptown Streetscape project.
Find out more:
- Infographic: Why protected bike lanes in Uptown Waterloo?
- Uptown Streetscape Project (City of Waterloo)
- Spending Habits and Transport Patterns: Cyclists' Contributions to the Economic Vitality of Uptown Waterloo (UW School of Planning)
- Explain Your Lane: lessons from cities on building green lanes (The Green Lane Project)
- Protected bike lane statistics (The Green Lane Project)
- Easy Riding: Low-Stress Bike Lanes (Cycle Toronto)
- Cycle Tracks: Urban Bikeway Design Guide (NACTO)