The investments have paid off, because Waterloo is in the top three cities to be considered a bike-friendly community.
The city joins the ranks of Toronto and Ottawa, which placed first and second.
Waterloo is the first mid-sized city in Ontario to win a gold ranking at the Share the Road Summit in Toronto. The award was presented earlier this month.
Councilor Diane Freeman tells 570 NEWS, “from the prospective of municipal size, Waterloo has done some amazing work to bring us to where Toronto and Ottawa are.”
There are five components to being a bike-friendly community: Engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation and planning.
Freeman says, “the City of Waterloo council and staff, as well as local bike advocates, have brought Waterloo to this gold statue. They have done the heavy lifting around engineering and education, while Waterloo Regional Police have been partners in encouraging and enforcing safe riding.”
The Bicycle Friendly Community award recognizes Waterloo for its commitment to designing bicycle lanes and trail crossings that make it safer and more convenient for cyclists to cross busy roadways and get around on two wheels in general.
They’ve done this by implementing new trails and extending ones that already exist. The city has created ‘priority routes,’ for people to walk and ride their bikes on that will also connect to the ION train stops, so they can arrive to their destinations that much faster.
Freeman is a passionate advocate for biking throughout the winter months and says she can bike almost 365 days a year.
“If the city is looking to make an investment in active transportation, they are also making an investment in building an accessible community for everyone,” Freeman says. “Accessibility unlocks the doors for many, many citizens.”
Waterloo won a silver ranking 10 years ago.