Week in review: December 11, 2017

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Consultations, feedback, and events


Following the release of 2016 census journey to work data last month, more ink has been spilled on what to do about stagnant local cycling mode share numbers. Mike Farwell set aside his recent cycling antagonism to put forward a surprising column that asks how we can make our cycling investments more strategic. James Howe and UW planning professor Brian Doucet respond to other commentary to call for physically separated cycling infrastructure and point out that the important differences between Waterloo Region and bike-friendly places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen are the result of political choices (that we can change!), not geographic luck.

Fortunately, the winds of change may be blowing. The Region hopes to replicate the recent successes of the Calgary and Edmonton downtown cycle track pilots with a separated bike lane pilot of its own around Uptown and Northdale. Consultations on the pilot take place December 12 and 14.

The province has also announced $4 million in funding for cycling infrastructure this year for the Region, the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo, and Wilmot. The money comes from revenues from the province’s carbon emissions cap and trade program.

  • New design guide signals the way to more inclusive bike planning (NextCity)
    • Designing For All Ages & Abilities (NACTO)
  • 12 reasons cycling will continue to soar in popularity (EcoWatch)
  • Canada, it’s time to adopt a national cycling strategy (Canadian Cycling)


Light rail vehicle 504 has now arrived in Waterloo Region:

Light rail costs have increased by $50 million, due in part to Bombardier’s delays and construction variations. Fortunately, increased provincial support, new development charges, and project contingencies mean property taxes shouldn’t be affected. The Region also hopes to be able to go after Bombardier for costs associated with their delays.

Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife successfully brought forward a motion last week to have the government give specific financial and timeline commitments for two-way all-day GO service to Waterloo Region.

  • All-day 2-way GO feasible by 2024, but only if well-funded: transit expert (CBC)
  • Intercity bus service in desperate need (Kitchener Post)
  • Rural areas need transit options, too (The Record)
  • Transit decisions must remain local, former city planner says (The Star)
  • ‘Growing pains’ for new fare boxes on buses (The Record)
  • Cities must prepare for integrated transit future, experts warn (The Star)


The Social Development Centre Waterloo Region has shared presentation boards from Kitchener’s consultation on the Traynor-Fairway pedestrian connection. Staff appear to be favouring a level crossing solution. Feedback is due December 22.

  • Galt pedestrian bridge decades in the making (The Record)

Land use

  • Plan would radically transform Kitchener’s Rockway area (The Record)
  • Without even a train on the tracks LRT has grown development by $2.1B, says Region of Waterloo (CBC)
  • The OMB reform bill gives cities more planning power. Is that really a good thing? (TVO)
  • Waterloo Moraine among areas that could be added to Greenbelt (CTV)
  • Council looking at how much it charges for density bonusing and where the money goes (Waterloo Chronicle)

Road ahead

  • 3 policy fixes that could dramatically reduce transportation emissions (Streetsblog)
  • For politicians, congestion pricing is an exercise in delaying gratification (Streetsblog)
  • Generation Z may not want to own cars. Can automakers woo them in other ways? (NPR)
  • Why the future of active transportation depends heavily on automated vehicles (Driverless Cities)