Bike Kitchener

Suburbs

Welcome to BikeKitchener

BikeKitchener promotes and fosters a sustainable cycling culture among Kitchener residents of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. With a goal of doubling the number of trips made by cycling every five years, a significant amount of work is underway to make cycling safe and enjoyable for all Kitchener residents.

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We are responding to how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the ways our residents use roadways - decreased vehicle traffic and an increased need for physical distancing for pedestrians and cyclists.

Our response calls for a number of initiatives for active transportation (walking, running, cycling), including new bike lanes along a number of priority routes and a number of Slow Streets, which would be temporarily changed to create slower and safer neighbourhood streets that are more comfortable for walking, rolling and biking. Streets designated as Slow Streets will not be fully closed to vehicle traffic but will be closed to through traffic – meaning only emergency vehicles, maintenance vehicles, delivery vehicles and people who live on the street are intended to have access. 

An interactive map of all our active transportation and traffic calming measures can be found here:

Separated cycling facilities pilot project

Separated cycling facilities were installed along Belmont Avenue, Queen's Boulevard and Water Street in fall 2020. This project was installed as a pilot and is anticipated to calm traffic and make these streets safer for all road users; including cyclists along streets where it has traditionally been uncomfortable to cycle. This pilot project allows staff to evaluate the impact of these facilities on cycling ridership, cyclist safety, overall user experience and full lifecycle costs.

Have you interacted with the separated bike lanes as a cyclist, pedestrian or motorist? We want to know about your experience:

The separated bike lanes are on:

  • Queen’s Boulevard from Belmont Avenue to Westheights Drive
  • Belmont Avenue from Glasgow Street to Queen’s Boulevard
  • Water Street from King Street to Joeseph Street.

These streets were chosen primarily for their connections to other cycling infrastructure within the surrounding area, including Glasgow Street and the Filsinger Park Trail. Belmont Avenue also served as a detour route for the Iron Horse Trail while it was closed.  Queen's Boulevard provides a key cycling connection to downtown from the west end of Kitchener and separated facilities on Water Street will provide additional protection for the existing bike lanes.

The installation of hte separated bike lanes occured in fall 2019. It involved converting four lanes of vehicle traffic into three lanes, including a two-way left turn lane. New markings were painted along the bike lanes, and the physical barrier was installed. This barrier takes the form of rubber bumper blocks and flexible bollards.

What pedestrians should know

Pedestrians are reminded to be aware of presence of cyclists in the separated bike lanes when crossing the street.

 What cyclists should know

A bike box is used at intersections to increase the visibility of cyclists and help avoid collisions. Cyclists are positioned in front of motorists and can therefore proceed through the intersection first when the light turns green. Bike boxes increase cyclist visibility and reduce the risk of "right hook" collisions after a green signal.

When a traffic signal is red, enter the bike box from the approaching bike lane. Stop before the crosswalk. When the light is green, cyclists should proceed normally. Be aware of right-turning motorists, especially while in the intersection.

What motorists should know

When the traffic signal is yellow or red, motorists must stop behind the white stop line, before the green bike box. Do not stop on top of the bike box as it must be kept clear for cyclists. When the light turns green, motorists and cyclists may move through the intersection as usual, with cyclists going first.

Motorists making a right turn must signal and check to see that the bike box in front of them and the bike lane on their right is clear before proceeding.

Curbside waste collection

Residents along these streets are advised to continue placing garbage, recycling and organics as close to the edge of the roadway as possible, avoiding the cycling or vehicle lanes.

 Curbside leaf collection

For areas with significant tree cover, the city provides curbside loose leaf collection on a set schedule, including sections along Queen’s Boulevard and Belmont Avenue. There are no anticipated changes to leaf collection.

Find out more about leaf collection services here.

Street sweeping

It is anticipated that the separated cycling facilities will require additional street sweeping to ensure that road debris does not become problematic for cyclists using the lanes. Staff will be carefully monitoring the roadway for build up of debris and will address this as needed

Winter maintenance

The cycling facilities along Queen’s Boulevard and Belmont Avenue are part of a pilot project to understand and evaluate the implications of maintaining this infrastructure during the winter. The roadway will be maintained as follows:

  • City staff will aim to clear the separated facilities as quickly as possible after snow has stopped, and will strive to make at least one full clearing pass within 24 hours of a snow fall. Ice and slippery conditions will be treated using salt.  As this is a pilot, it is likely that at times sections of the bike lane may not be fully maintained. Where these issues occur, staff will work quickly to address problems and keep the lane clear for cyclists.
  • Property owners remain responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property and driveway aprons and any windrow at the end of driveways. Property owners are reminded that snow from sidewalks or driveways should not be pushed or moved into the bike lane and/or street. Any windrow created across the bike lane as a result of driveway clearing should be removed to ensure the bike lane remains clear from obstruction.

To accommodate winter road maintenance on Water Street separated infrastructure was removed for the winter season. 

Frequently asked questions

Why do we need separated bike lanes?

Proper infrastructure attracts cyclists. Safety is a priority when implementing these projects. 60% of the population say they are interested in cycling more, but concerns about safety prevents them from doing so. The safer and more comfortable people feel while cycling, the more they will cycle.

Have other Canadian cities installed separated bike lanes? 

Calgary installed 6.5 km of separated bike lanes and saw cycling counts triple to 1.2 million in 18 months. Edmonton installed 7.8 km of separated bike lanes and saw 100 times more cyclists, averaging up to 3000 per day.

Toronto’s Bloor Street separated bike lanes saw a 25% increase of entirely new cyclists. Nearly every Canadian city is investing in safe cycling infrastructure and finding more and more people start cycling.

Are emergency vehicles impacted? 

We have worked with emergency and bus services throughout the design process of these bike lanes to ensure there is no negative impact to service and response times.

Why is cycling not permitted on sidewalks? 

Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is not only against the law, but it is also dangerous. Sidewalks are intended to provide pedestrians with a safe place free from larger and faster moving vehicles, including bicycles.

Collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles, especially at intersections and driveways, are more common when cyclists ride on the sidewalk.

Is this type of cycling infrastructure expensive?

The pilot project has a budget of $430,000 for design and installation. This represents a small fraction of the city’s road infrastructure costs, which are primarily related to road reconstruction and resurfacing.

Incorporating cycling infrastructure into our existing roadways saves money by reducing the need to widen and expand the road network.

Why are separated bike lanes preferable to painted lanes?

Separated lanes allow cyclists of all ages and abilities to ride in a dedicated space. The separation between vehicle and cycling lanes creates a safer environment for both cyclists and drivers.

Fewer accidents will occur, and motorists will become more accustomed to sharing the road with cyclists as the result of increased cycling activity in neighbourhoods adjacent to the protected lanes.

Why bike lanes on Belmont Avenue when the Iron Horse Trail is nearby?

Although the Iron Horse Trail (and trails in general) can be used to cycle, key destinations are typically located on roads. This requires cyclists to use roads as part of their route to get to their destination.

This project will enhance safety and the cycling experience for those travelling on road and is not intended to substitute other cycling routes such as trails.

 

How to bike in Kitchener:

How to get involved in shaping Kitchener’s bike culture

For more information on how to get around by bike in Waterloo Region, check out BikeWR.

painting new markings, installing flexible bollards and rubber bumper blocks. Traffic signal timing will also be adjusted.

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