Bike Ride with CycleWR

 Me and Tamas.

Me and Tamas.

"CycleWR is a new cycling coalition that advocates for cycling in Waterloo Region to be a safe, respected, convenient, and everyday mode of transportation for people of all ages and abilities."

Cycle WR is providing an important service this municipal election season. The group's volunteers are taking interested municipal election candidates on bike rides to introduce us to some of the challenges of biking in our community and opportunities for improving cycling infrastructure. 

Last week, Tamas and his family toured my family and I around by bike to discuss some of the pain points in Waterloo, as well as some possible solutions.

Not surprisingly, crossing University and the expressway (at Northfield and at University) were two locations of concern. Another challenge to cycling safely around the city is that many vehicles are not keeping the required one-metre distance between them and bicycles.  

It was also encouraging to hear some potential solutions.

Tamas pointed to Boulder, Colorado as an examplar. Boulder, which is a similar size to Waterloo, has a system of underground tunnels or bridges for cyclists and pedestrians. He also wondered about enforcing the one metre distance, like in Ottawa, the first city in Canada to use a sonar device to measure the distance between cars and bicycles. Finally, companies can support biking by providing bike parking and having a shower in the office. 

For similar reasons to Tamas, I support active transportation and infrastructure that will support it. I believe active transportation is a fun and convenient way to get around town that promotes healthy communities and protects the environment. In addition, biking has also been noted to support a healthy economy.

I'd love to see a bold and resourceful solution to transportation. I can't tell you how excited I got watching this video about the cycling infrastructure that Seville, Spain built quickly. On the route towards bold changes, though, smaller improvements are also necessary (e.g., signage, education, protecting existing bike lanes with bollards, or posts).

I'd love your input about how city infrastructure might best support active transportation. Feel free to send me an email at jen@jenvasicwaterloo.ca, call me at (519) 504-5831, or join me at the following events:

Thursday August 23, 7:30 p.m.Book Club night out: Building the Cycling City hosted by Melissa Bowman at Open Sesame Shop.

Thursday August 30, 7 p.m.: Emily Slofstra, Chair and founding member of Cycle WR, and I will be hanging out at The Break Room pool hall talking active transportation. All are welcome!

Jen VasicComment