Proposed Changes Discussed for University Ave
University Avenue is one of Waterloo’s busiest streets. In fact, Andrew Doman, Senior Engineer for the Region of Waterloo’s Design and Construction group, called it
“A unique corridor in the sense that [it’s] the highest pedestrian and cyclist activity in pretty much the entire region,” when I spoke with him about the proposed changes to University Avenue, the street cutting between Lazaridis Hall and the remainder of Laurier’s campus.
The changes are the result of public feedback and a wish to close the “active transportation system” said Doman.
This system includes bike lanes and transit systems, allowing Waterloo’s streets to be accessible to all no matter their means of transportation. Further, it aims to test alternative methods of dealing with traffic.
The proposed changes, which are planned to be implemented and fully constructed by 2026, will complete the active transportation system.
It will add bike lanes and transit access between University-King to Weber Street which do “not have these facilities and this project will be providing those.”
These changes include off-street bike lanes, enhanced sidewalks and larger bus stops to allow for more capacity.
The latter change was implemented from feedback following a consultation with the public.
“The overwhelming feedback we received from the public is that high amount of cyclists travel through this corridor but don’t feel comfortable being on the road, so they would like a facility where they are off the roadway” said Doman. The feedback of the public not only shaped the project but was of utmost importance, with this street being the busiest in the Waterloo Region.
Due to this, Doman noted that,
“We wanted to definitely make sure we dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s when we come up with how we are going to reconstruct and improve this, not just for vehicles and busses and transit, but also [for] pedestrians and cyclists.”
The bike lane pilot project that was implemented on University avenue in 2019 was a success.
However, the feedback was consistent regarding comments addressing the safety of cyclists as they still ride in close proximity to vehicles.
Though the project is not expected to be completed until 2026, it is planned for work on intersections to be completed during off hours that avoid university move-in/out dates.