City of Waterloo opens Larch Street woonerf, our first living street

Posted On Friday October 28, 2022

Today the City of Waterloo officially opened the Larch Street woonerf. A shared street designed to emphasize walking and cycling and to be a social space where people can meet and interact, the woonerf is the first of its kind in the City of Waterloo. The unique design of the street welcomes and encourages active transportation while slowing through vehicle traffic.

Designed to encourage only those vehicles with business on the street, all users (vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians) share the same right-of-way, without boundaries separating them. The slightly winding road is paved in a combination of coloured concrete and unit pavers, providing visual and textural cues to users across the width of the street. Bike racks, planters, benches and other street furniture, posts and waste receptacles are all part of the design. As the new landscaping grows and matures, the living street will provide a unique, urban-garden setting for residents and nearby students to enjoy.

“The Government of Canada is committed to transitioning to a net-zero economy,” said the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Member of Parliament for Waterloo, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. “Through flexible funding programs like the Canada Community-Building Fund, communities across the country are able to invest more into inclusive and sustainable urbanization projects. The Larch Street woonerf is now a delightful streetscape for residents to enjoy for many years to come.”

"The Larch Street woonerf is a one-of-a-kind public street where people walking to class, cycling to work, or gathering with friends can safely share space with slow moving vehicles," said His Worship Dave Jaworsky, Mayor of the City of Waterloo. "This Smart City initiative is just one example of the many great innovations coming out of Canada's Education City, showing what can happen when the public, post-secondary institutions, and governments work together."

“The community's vision for Northdale was to transform this post-war suburb into a vibrant, sustainable, urban district with more diverse housing options, thriving small businesses, great public spaces, and safer streets," said Jeff Henry, Ward 6 Councillor. "Young families are taking root here again along with thousands of students from around the world, which is why safe, attractive public spaces like the Larch Street woonerf are so important."

The opportunity to redesign Larch Street as a woonerf was realized as part of the City of Waterloo’s asset management and road rehabilitation program. In addition to the reconstruction of the road as a woonerf, the work involved replacement of the existing sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water main, and other underground infrastructure upgrades, partially funded by a contribution of $484,000 from the Canada Community-Building Fund (CCBF).



Media Contact

Cari Van Niekerk
Manager, Corporate Communications
City of Waterloo