ION progress update report

The Tri-cities Transport Action Group would like to make the following statement regarding Planning and Works Committee Report E-14-117 ION Construction – Progress Update:

TriTAG is pleased to see efforts well underway to build ION. With $739 million spent or committed by the time the next council takes office, and a further $1 billion in private investment along the Central Transit Corridor, the notion that this election is about whether or not to build light rail should finally be laid to rest.

TriTAG looks forward to hearing from all candidates about how they plan over the next four years to ensure the successful completion and operation of ION, and maximize the return on our transit investment.

Contact:

Mike Boos, Executive Committee Member
media@tritag.ca
226-476-1313 ext. 804

About TriTAG:

The Tri-Cities Transport Action Group is a volunteer group founded in 2009 to advocate for better walking, biking, and transit in Waterloo Region, with a focus on practical infrastructure and solutions. Since then, TriTAG has engaged with the public, the media, and government on a wide range of transportation issues, so people can get around Waterloo Region on foot, by bike, and by transit easily and with dignity. 

TriTAG is conducting a survey for municipal elections candidates which will be published at http://tritag.ca/election2014 after October 1.

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Actual cross-section design for Manitou. Note the 0.7 m   buffers between bicycles and motor vehicles.

Fear-mongering and dirty tricks on Manitou Drive

TriTAG is concerned by apparently disingenuous tactics being used in an attempt to derail plans for Waterloo Region’s first segregated bike lanes on Manitou Drive.

In August, the Regional Planning and Works Committee unanimously approved the preferred design option for the Manitou Drive improvements, which would include sidewalks and segregated bike lanes on both sides of the road. The segregated bike lanes would provide continuity between planned bike lanes to the north on Manitou Drive between Bleams and Fairway, and with bike lanes to the south on Doon Village Road. They would also help to form an on-road cycling route between the Doon Village neighbourhood, the Trans-Canada Trail, and ION rapid transit. Presently absent sidewalks would provide safe walking space and would be essential to expanding transit service to the area. Final approval of plans for Manitou Drive is scheduled for the Regional Council meeting on September 17, 2014.

Flyers have recently appeared in the Doon Village neighbourhood, claiming that the committee-approved bike lanes would be “very dangerous” and “cause fatalities.” As an alternative, they propose no sidewalks and one multi-use trail on the east side of the road, to be shared by both pedestrians and cyclists.  These flyers, which call on residents to contact Regional Council members, contain several errors and exaggerations, as we will outline below. (more…)

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ACP

Waterloo Region leads in Active Communities Pledge

For Immediate Release

Campaign invites municipal candidates to endorse cycling and active transportation
before Waterloo Region residents go to the polls on October 27th

WATERLOO REGION – September 2, 2014.  Twenty-four municipal candidates from Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo have pledged to support walking and biking in their communities if elected, more than all other Ontario municipalities combined. In the wake of recent opinion polls that show growing support for measures to promote cycling, this Ontario-wide campaign is asking candidates in the upcoming October 27th municipal election to back policies that support cycling and other forms of active transportation.

In addition to having the most council and mayoral candidates supporting the pledge, the Region also boasts the first two school board trustee candidates to support safer walking and cycling to school. (more…)

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tickets

Free transit: a solution for Waterloo Region?

A new candidate , John Wolf, has officially entered the race for Regional Chair. Wolf claims that as Chair, he would try to cancel light rail, and as an alternative, investigate making transit free in an effort to boost ridership.

Last month, TriTAG investigated the claims of (as of yet unregistered) Regional Chair candidate Jay Aissa concerning the light rail project. Today, we will explore the issue of free transit and try to address two questions that arise from Wolf’s platform: is free transit a viable alternative to light rail and rapid transit, and what would the impact of free public transit be on Waterloo Region?

(more…)

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Fact-checking municipal campaigns: Jay Aissa

In 2011, when light rail was being debated and ultimately decided upon, there was a great deal of misinformation being spread about light rail and its suitability to Waterloo Region. During that time, TriTAG debunked many of these myths so that an informed public debate could occur.

As the 2014 municipal election period builds momentum, false information about light rail is once again emerging. As democracy depends on an informed electorate, we’ve decided to fact-check egregious statements candidates make regarding light rail and other issues for which we advocate. We begin with Jay Aissa, who in his interview shortly after declaring his intent to run for Regional Chair, made several false claims concerning the light rail project.

(more…)

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all aboard

All Aboard! Announcing TriTAG’s new mailing list

TriTAG has maintained a mailing list over the past five years to let you know about important local transportation issues and events. In the past year, we’ve used our email list to keep you informed about important LRT decisions, the potential for protected bike lanes in Uptown, our provincial election candidates’ questionnaire, and our 5th anniversary gathering.

We hope this conversation can continue.

New rules governing how emails can be sent and received in Canada come into force tomorrow. While we consider our existing mailing list to already use many of these practices (opt-in, unsubscribe at any time, etc.), because we want ensure you can choose to continue to hear from us, we’ve decided to start fresh with a new list that better satisfies these new requirements.

This means that if you’ve been on our mailing list in the past, you should have received an email over the weekend asking you to re-subscribe – we won’t be using the old list anymore. Of course, if you’re new and weren’t on our old list, you too can subscribe and support our initiatives.

If you don’t want to receive emails from us, you don’t need to do anything. And as always, you can unsubscribe at any time from our list by following the links at the bottom of our emails. We’ll be sad to see you go, but we’ll understand.

Finally, if you have any questions or concerns about the way we communicate with you via email, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Uptown streetscape: be heard!

King St. with protected bike lanes

A profile of a human-friendly Uptown

Hopefully, by now you’ve had a chance to see the new proposal for Uptown Waterloo’s new streetscape, and how King St. could be reshaped all the way from Erb up to University. If you haven’t, go ahead and take a look at the public information boards presented last Thursday. You can also read more about the project’s evolution here.

This proposal needs your support. Please provide your feedback on the Uptown Streetscape project by email to Barb Magee Turner (barb.mageeturner@waterloo.ca) and Eric Saunderson (esaunderson@regionofwaterloo.ca) by Thursday June 12th! Tell them what you like about it, how you see yourself using it, and any suggestions for further improvement. NEW: Write to the project managers and members of council with our easy contact form.

Not sold on protected bike lanes yet? Check out our infographic. Or, read on for more details on why this is the right fit for uptown.

TriTAG believes the new proposal is a vast improvement over the November 2013 plan. Whereas the old plan was presenting awkward and potentially dangerous cycling infrastructure, the protected bike lane solution for Uptown isn’t just good for cyclists, but for everyone.

Uptown streetscape functional drawing

Wider sidewalks, protected bike lanes, parking and safer lanes for Uptown

The presence of protected bicycle lanes will help to attract people to uptown by bike, including many who do not cycle now, some who do bike but avoid King St, as well as the influx of thousands of new residents coming to the intensifying King St. corridor. This increase of cycling is the experience of cities like Montreal, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Washington DC and was the subject of a recent study that found that protected bike lanes led to ridership growth of 21 to 171 per cent. Furthermore, this trend also appears to be a boost to business along the route.

Add to all this new data showing that protected bike lanes and their intersections don’t just feel safe, they’re also very safe in practice.

King St. North will serve everyone better with protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands and turn lanes.

King St. North will serve everyone better with protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands and turn lanes.

But ultimately, every customer of a King St. business arrives on foot whether they travel by car, bike or transit. The new proposal shines here, too. Space will allow for both wider, more welcoming sidewalks, and increased ability for pedestrians to cross King St. by slowing traffic, introducing crossing islands, and reducing crossing distances. Meanwhile, the protected bicycle lanes will get cyclists off the sidewalks and provide an extra buffer from traffic that will make the pedestrian realm even more comfortable.

uptown3

Click to see TriTAG’s protect bike lane infographic for more.

It’s unfortunate that for a few, none of this matters as much as the removal of 22 on-street parking spaces. But as we have pointed out before, this is a tiny fraction– less than 1%– of the Uptown parking supply. Furthermore, these lost spaces will be more than replaced by a new planned parking lot, with the opportunity to adjust to parking demands along side streets and with new development.

Space along King St. is precious, and we should be using it to its maximum effect. A small reduction in space for car storage gives us the chance to build an Uptown that is human-friendly, designed to safely move all road users, and truly welcoming. TriTAG believes this is a trade worth making, and we hope you agree.

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cropped-infographic

INFOGRAPHIC: Why Protected Bike Lanes in Uptown Waterloo?

King Street in Uptown Waterloo  is being redesigned, and due to popular demand, protected bike lanes are now being considered as an option for the blocks between Erb and Central.

TriTAG is supportive of protected bike infrastructure because it can make bicycling an attractive choice to most people. This is a once in a generation opportunity to make Uptown a truly walkable and bikable place. But businesses have concerns about changes to the Uptown streetscape, so we’ve created an infographic to help understand the benefits and trade-offs of protected lanes. (more…)

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Jane’s Walks: May 2-4

This weekend, people all over the world will lead Jane’s Walks to showcase their communities. These walks can teach you about the history of your neighbourhood, show you the hidden beauty that you speed past every day, or open up new opportunities to enjoy you city. In KW, there will be some great walks run by your neighbours, community groups, and civic leaders.

Here are a few that TriTAG noticed, showing off some transportation possibilities and problems in this region.

Photo from  janeswalk.org.

Photo from Jane’s Walk.

Shortcuts and Poetry All Around: In downtown Kitchener, Janice Lee will show off some of her favourite walking shortcuts. There are hidden gems inside parks and
along paths that you might never see if you don’t get off your bike or out of your car! This walk starts on Sunday at 3pm.

Photo from  janeswalk.org.

Photo from Jane’s Walk.

Vehicular Architecture and Parking Policy: In uptown Waterloo, TriTAG’s Michael Druker explores the current parking situation and the governing decisions around parking in the city. Do you think there is too much parking uptown, or too little? The walk starts on Saturday at 2pm.

Photo from  janeswalk.org.

Photo from Jane’s Walk.

Walking and Cycling Challenges and Opportunities: Also in Waterloo, Councillor Angela Vieth and Anne Crowe of the Waterloo Advisory Committee on Active Transportation (WACAT) will examine some of the current cycling and pedestrian routes around uptown. You might find new routes, or learn how our streets could be better designed to help cyclists and pedestrians get around. Join them on Sunday at 2pm.
There are many more Jane’s Walks, and more are added to the website every day. Check out the full list of Waterloo walks and Kitchener walks, as well as a walk in Cambridge and one in Elmira.

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