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Active Transportation Program

City of Waterloo

Diversifying the methods by which people can get around is an important element of a healthy, sustainable and prosperous Waterloo. In Waterloo, we have more than 150 km of off-road, multi-use trails and 60 km of on-road cycling lanes. In 2016, we recorded 1.3 million trips on our trails working out to about 10 trips per person per capita.

Our transportation master plan cites active transportation as a key ingredient in developing a more sustainable transportation system for Waterloo and our vision is to have a fully-connected and integrated community through our multi-modal transportation network. This is supported by our advisory committee on active transportation, a group of interested residents who advise council on existing and proposed modes of transportation for the planning and development of a safe, sustainable and accessible transportation system. 

On May 29, 2017, staff presented to council a bi-annual report on active transportation for 2016. Prepared in partnership with the University of Waterloo and the city's advisory committee on active transportation, this document highlights work done to date including research on cycling in the community, the active transportation goals of the city and information about the high priority active transportation network.  

Register for the city's new e-newsletter - Cycling in the City

In January, 2018, we launched a new e-newsletter with information about active transportation in our city. This e-newsletter will run four times a year. We'll share highlights of new active transportation projects and initiatives, new cycling infrastructure, safety and education programs.  If you're interested in receiving Cycling in the City via e-mail please register here. Our current and past issues are provided below:

  • Summer 2018 - Uptown King Street raised bike lanes are open and ready for use! Learn how to navigate pedestrian crossings and get an update on the new Dropbike pilot project, the Spurline Trail's Union Street crossing and more.
  • Spring 2018 - Learn about the city receiving the gold level Bicycle-Friendly Community designation from Share the Road and get updates on the central promenade project, uptown streetscape project and more. 
  • Winter 2018 - In this issue, we talk about the city's snow clearing policy on trails and other cycling routes, highlight past successes of 2017 and share details of upcoming projects for 2018.

If there's an area of active transportation in Waterloo that you are interested in learning more about, please let us know! Simply e-mail or share your feedback through our engageWaterloo public forum.

The high priority active transportation network

A high priority active transportation network was identified through work the active transportation committee and forms a web of thirteen active routes that are significant in connecting people throughout the city and the region. By identifying a high priority active transportation network, the city is better able to prioritize improvements as resources become available. Staff can target key route connections in a logical sequence and utilize on-road and off-road tools to complete route connections. Recent improvements to this network include better wayfinding signage and the resurfacing of six sections of the Trans Canada Trail with asphalt. On the following map, the green lines indicate the priority network with the large thick line being the Trans-Canada Trail.

The high priority active transportation network

Projects planned for 2017 and 2018 include:

  • Streetscape improvements to King Street North in the uptown core from Central Street to just south of Erb Street in order to make King Street more accessible for all modes of transportation, including pedestrian and to create a streetscape that offers a safe, lively, accessible and attractive place to work, live, shop, learn and play
  •  reconstructing Columbia Street West between Erbsville Road and Fischer-Hallman Road to include multi-use trail, sidewalk, raised bike lanes and two vehicle lanes in each direction.
  • Improving traffic movement and improved pedestrian and cycling infrastructure along the Columbia Street/Lexington Road corridor
  • Reconstruction of the Waterloo Park central promenade (the section of the Laurel/Trans Canada Trail running through Waterloo Park)
  • Completion of the Walter Bean/Grand River Trail along Woolwich Street
  • Cycling education programming and awareness including:
    • celebration of the provincially-designated Bike Month
    • participating in the regional Thumbs Up safe cycling campaign;
    • TravelWise, a transportation management association that works with employers across Waterloo Region to encourage employees to take transit, cycle, walk, and carpool to work; and
    • CAN-BIKE, a Cycling Canada accredited program geared toward improving basic cycling skills and raising road safety awareness.
  • Active transportation improvements are happening along Seagram Drive (from Albert Street to University Avenue). The city, in conjunction with the Region of Waterloo's Grand River Transit (GRT) and universities, have collaborated on improving active transportation connections between Wilfrid Laurier, University of Waterloo and the new light rail transit ION station located in Waterloo Park.
  • Moses Springer Park - the trail that runs through this park is part of the Laurel/Waterloop Trail system which is a part of the city's high priority trail network. The existing asphalt trail is in need of being rebuilt in 2018 and 2019 and the current location of the existing playground is sitting in a low area of the park and is susceptible to moist conditions throughout the year and needs to be moved.
  • The City of Waterloo, in conjunction with the Region of Waterloo and Township of Woolwich are collaborating to determine if it is feasible to connect the Trans Canada Trail along the rail corridor between the Research and Technology Park in Waterloo to Farmers Market Road in Woolwich. Currently, the trail diverts westwards away from the existing rail corridor towards Westmount Road connecting to Woolwich via Benjamin Road, an approximate diversion of around 3.5 km.
  • continuing to improve signed cycling routes

More information