Active transportation expansion

To help physical distancing during COVID-19, the city is creating safer spaces for walking, cycling and other modes of active transportation.

Use this page to find out what changes are taking place and how to provide feedback. Start dates for signage and construction are to be determined.


On this page

  1. Slow streets
  2. Speed limit reductions and traffic calming
  3. Temporary road closures
  4. Map of all active transportation changes
  5. Provide feedback
  6. Project background

Slow streets

Some neighbourhood streets will be temporarily designated as 'slow streets.' Signs will be posted in these areas.

While these streets remain open to local vehicle traffic, the intent is to provide more space for walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation.

As pictured below, people are allowed to walk and cycle in the street and vehicles are expected to reduce speed. 

Access for emergency vehicles and waste collection services will be maintained.

Graphic of people and vehicles sharing a street

Slow streets in uptown area

  • Alexandra Avenue (from Caroline to Westmount)
  • Allen Street West (from Park to John)
  • Avondale Avenue South (from Erb to John)
  • Roslin Avenue South (from Erb to John)
  • Waterloo Street (Graham Street to Moore Avenue South)

Slow streets in university area

  • Bricker Avenue
  • Hemlock Street (from Hickory to University)
  • Lester Street 
  • Marshall Street (from Lincoln to King)
  • Larch Street

Check the map below for a visual representation of all active transportation changes.


Speed limit reductions and traffic calming

Speed limits will be temporarily reduced to 40 km/h on select streets and two neighbourhood zones. Other streets will receive temporary speed humps as a form of traffic calming.

Traffic data will be collected to help staff determine the effects of this change and if it should be made permanent.

Neighbourhoods with speed reduction

  • Eastbridge (entire area within Bridge, University, Eastbridge and Chesapeake)
  • Old Abbey (adjacent to Davenport Road, Northfield Drive and Bridge Street)
  • Westvale (entire area within Ira Needles, Erb, University and Fischer-Hallman)

Streets with temporary speed bumps

  • Dunvegan Drive
  • Margaret Avenue (from Lincoln to Bridgeport)
  • Woolwich Street

Streets with speed reduction

  • Auburn Drive
  • Beechlawn Drive
  • Beechwood Drive
  • Braemore Avenue
  • Brandenburg Boulevard
  • Dale Crescent
  • Gatestone Boulevard
  • Glendale Drive
  • Glenridge Drive
  • Glen Forrest Boulevard
  • Laurelwood Drive
  • Northlake Drive
  • Sandowne Drive
  • Sundew Drive (Twin Leaf Street to Mayapple Street)
  • William Street (from Park to Westmount)

Check the map below for a visual representation of all active transportation changes.


Temporary road closures

The following streets will be temporarily closed to vehicle traffic for two months:

  • Willis Way from Rainbow crossing to Caroline Street starting July 8
  • Princess Street from Dorset Street to King Street starting July 9

As pictured below, people will be allowed to walk and cycle on the street.

This decision stems from the Uptown Public Realm Strategy that recommended these streets become a pedestrian streets.

Graphic of people walking and biking on a closed street
Willis Way and people-friendly space

On July 8, Willis Way will feature picnic tables for passive use from the Rainbow crosswalk to Caroline Street. People who have purchased takeout food in the uptown area are welcome to use the tables, and others enjoying the uptown. You are encouraged to practise physical distancing while using the space provided.

Princess Street and people-friendly space

On July 9, Princess Street will also feature picnic tables for passive use from Dorset Street to King Street. People who have purchased takeout food from nearby restaurants are welcome to use these tables. You are encouraged to practise physical distancing while using the space provided. 


Map of all active transportation changes

In addition to the measures described above, several other trails, multi-use paths, separated and painted bike lanes are planned for installation.

The Region of Waterloo is also making active transportation changes, some of which are in the City of Waterloo. To see their changes, visit their active transportation website for full details. 

View all city changes in the map below. Open the map in a new window to view full screen.


Provide feedback

We are preparing a space for feedback on Engage Waterloo. A link will be posted here when available.


Project background

On May 25, 2020, city council unanimously approved a motion directing staff to review opportunities to create more active transportation space to help with physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff developed a series of temporary and permanent actions to assist in this direction. Many municipalities across Ontario and Canada are adopting a similar approach.