Cities do not build active transportation corridors for cyclists, they build them for people. When you take the time to actually spend time on the off-road network of trails and dedicated multi-use trails you will observe that the majority of users are pedestrians; people jogging, walking and individuals pushing strollers, exercising dogs, using accessibility devices like wheelchairs, walkers and canes and overall, people seeking to maintain and improve their health. The investment in these spaces is not typically property tax supported, but Gas Tax supported. If you want to take a “pot-shot” at cyclists you could say they don’t pay into the Gas tax, but the evidence is clear; the majority of cyclists are also vehicle owners/users.

When we look at the on-road cycling infrastructure here are a few facts for consideration

1.Painting a bike lane on a road achieves some important and valuable things including:

a.Traffic “calming” by narrowing the travel lane for cars.

b.Reminding all road users how to share the road.

c.Buffering traffic from pedestrians on the sidewalk. This dramatically improves the pedestrian experience especially on roads that have no boulevard.

2.Paint is cheap. The City’s budget for road painting is driven primarily by the increase in the overall road network then by painting a few sections with a “bike lane”.

3.Most cycling advocates will tell you that painting a white line is not considered cycling infrastructure. In many cases, especially on rural roads, the white line is designating the road edge as opposed to creating a “bike lane”.

As someone who had been involved in two motor vehicles collisions, I know that I am only a temporarily able bodied person (TAP), all of us are TAPs. For many, the Active Transportation corridors provide people with independence to get from one place to another because they are not car owners or drivers. Imagine telling people 100 years ago that we were going to invest millions to build dead end roads that serve ten homes; they would think we were wasting their property tax dollars for certain.

There are many, many times I see and cycle on roads where there is not a single car in sight, but you know what? The city built those roads. Why? Because it was the right thing to do!

WinterTrailUsers

 

On September 10, 2018 City Council approved the Comprehensive By-law.  This process has been in the works since the approval of the City Official Plan in 2012.  The new By-Law consolidates many of the planning decisions that have been made over the past 8 years and includes district plans like the Northdale Plan and the transit station area plan.


What does this mean for Ward 4.

1. Land use in the Ward has been formalized to reflect what is existing.  For example the minimum lot frontage for properties located in Colonial acres has been increased from 15m to 19m which is in keeping with what actually existing.  This change will limit the ability for properties in the neighbourhood to be severed to form two lots.

2. Some lands zoned employment, but fuctioning as commercial have been given site specific exceptions to reflect the actual use.

3. Some lands zoned office employment but functioning as manufacturing have been given site specific exceptions to reflect the actual use.


Some recent news media suggested that this document will result in a reduction of parking in UpTown Waterloo.  This is not so.  In fact the parking rates in the Comprehensive by-law are not related to public parking in UpTown in any regard. There is LOTS of public parking in UpTown. The parking lots are illustrated on the map located at: UpTown Waterloo Parking


The parking rates in the by-law apply to new development applications in buildings (typically residential).  Further, the parking rates are reflective of those approved for other development applications that were approved over the past 10 years.


If you are interested to review the document, it is located at the following link: Comprehensive Zoning By-Law

 

Waterloo residents have two main options for leaf disposal: 

  • The Region of Waterloo's bi-weekly yard waste service: residents collect their own leaves and either put out with regular garbage/recycling pick-up. In 2015, this service ends the week of Nov. 16 to 20.
  • The City of Waterloo's loose leaf collection service: residents rake leaves to the edge of the road for curbside collection according to their zone and projected date of service (see details below).

2015 schedule

Loose leaf collection begins Oct. 26 and lasts about four weeks. Residents are asked to check the schedule below and rake leaves to the curb as closely as possible to their collection date. Please be aware that this program is weather dependent and may be delayed or cancelled based on poor conditions.

For leaf collection, the city is divided into zones. Crews start in zones E-1 and W-1 and proceed to E-2 and W-2 (and so on) until each zone has been visited at least once, weather permitting. 

All the details are located at: http://www.waterloo.ca/en/living/leafcollection.asp

 

What to expect in a snow event and helpful tips:


• Overnight parking is not permitted on any City of Waterloo street from 2:30 a.m.– 6:00 p.m. Why?

  • Snowplows may arrive any time overnight and during the day and may return several times throughout a 24 hour period
  • Parked cars slow down the snow removal crews and create windrows in the middle of the street
  • May eliminate the ability to clear a road completely
  • Keep back from flashing blue lights (snowplows, blowers etc.). They need to back up at times

• Never pass a snowplow on the right

  • It is hard for the driver to see you
  • The truck’s large side plow called the “wing” may protrude a full lane width to the right of the truck

• Shovel snow with the flow of traffic so the plow doesn’t knock the piles into the driveways
• Be patient – plows and salters will get to every street, normally within 16 hours of the end of a storm
• Do not allow children to play in the roadside snow banks
• Pushing snow from driveways or parking lots onto the road is illegal under the Highway Traffic Act and is a chargeable offence
• Please clear snow from around fire hydrants and catchbasins
• Place garbage/recycling at the end of your shoveled driveway and away from the roadway


When and where does snow removal take place?
• During the winter season, weather and road conditions are monitored by city operations staff, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
• City staff are available and prepared to respond at any time
• Snow is cleared in accordance with the Municipal Act’s minimum maintenance standards as set out below
• As snow begins, salt trucks are on all major arterials and bus routes

Min. depth of snowbefore trucks go out Time needed after end of
snow event to clear snow
5 cm Major arterial roads  6 hours

8 cm

8 cm

 

Major collector roads/bus routes

Local residential streets

Sidewalks

12 hours

16 hours

24 hours

• Snow is removed from:

  • 815 km or roadway
  • 100 km of sidewalks
  • 12 city parking lots
  • 43 km of park pathways
  • 123 pedestrian crossings

• The city is not responsible for clearing the 400 series highways, the expressways, or bus stops

• Snow loading occurs in the uptown core, on highway overpass sidewalks, curbfacing  sidewalks, and cul-de-sacs

Who do I call?

• During a full plow (after 5cm of accumulated snow), the city has staff answering the service centre phone line at 519-886-2310

Did you know?

• Property owners are required to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours after snow has stopped falling

• Anti-icing program:

  • Put in place to reduce salt usage
  • Salt brine is applied to roads prior to a snow event preventing snow and ice from bonding to the pavement
  • Helps make snow removal more efficient and is applied to critical areas (steep hills, curves, intersections, railway crossing approaches)
  • Beet juice (an organic solution that naturally generates heat as it breaks down) is added to the brine
    1. Somewhat sticky
    2. Helps salt stay in place
    3. Continues to release heat to melt ice
  • Sand is applied on rural gravel roads

The city does not remove snow from driveways

  • It would be too costly considering the large number of driveways
  • It would be too time consuming
  • Would require additional staff and equipment

Plows reduce their speed where there are sidewalks against the road but it is hard to avoid getting snow on them

The city tracks all vehicles using GPS systems for real-time information on streets completed and next sections to see the plows

The city is broken into 18 plow route zones and each zone broken down further into three sub-zones (A, B, and C)

  1. Plowing is started on a rotational basis within each zone. First snowfall plows will begin in zone A; second snowfall plows begin in zone B etc.

‘Windrows’ are the large snow mounds at the end of driveways caused by the passing plow

  • Homeowners are responsible for clearing windrows
  • Shovel your snow in the direction of the travelling plow to reduce the windrow size

• Snow loading facts:

  • City loads snow for the safety of people using vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians, when there is no room left to store the snow on the street or boulevard (there is no magic height)
  • School zones and bridges are priority areas
  • Snow loading costs about $20,000/day
  • The city trucks our snow to the snow dump on Frobisher Drive
  • The snow dump has capacity for about 2,000 truck loads

• Cul-de-sacs are a challenge for city plows

  • Plow blades are 22ft in width and can be awkward to move around the curves
  • Plows clear the straight part of your street, leaving the end (“the bubble”) area for loaders to come and clear
  • Loaders will arrive after the plow (sometimes a couple days after) to clear the snow into the centre portion
  • Please be patient if you live on a cul-de-sac

Good driving tips and habits to create:

• Adjust driving to road conditions, clear your windows and keep mirrors clean

• Clearing your entire car of snow will make you more visible

• In temperatures below 5°C, all-season tires do not work as well

  • Winter tires are made with a softer rubber compound that grips better to snow and ice and even to cold, dry pavement

• Make sure you have your full vehicle lighting system on

 

Sustainable Development

Waterloo’s growth over the past few years has stretched the city’s resources.  As a City we have provided leadership within the Region related to high density intensified growth. 

 

I will continue to push for public input at all stages in the planning processes and advocate on behalf of the citizens.

 

Protecting Our Quality of Life

I supported some of the last green-field development in Ward 4 as mixed land use zoning to ensure that people can live and work close to home.

 

Growth of any kind must bring with it supporting infrastructure such as library services, policing, schools, water systems, fire rescue and transportation.  My record: 

  • Ensured that the designs for Lexington Road created equal opportunity whether people choose to bike, drive or walk.  
  • Worked in partnership with Deer Run residents and city/commercial planners to ensure adjacent residential/commercial development would respect all aspects of their family lifestyle while protecting their real estate investments.
  • Served on the Grand River Hospital, Kitchener Waterloo Symphony and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario Boards of Directors
  • Advocated for citizens to police and by-law support in neighbourhoods related to noise, property standards and the misuse of green spaces and public property
  • Advocated for hard surfacing of pedestrian and cycling trail connections
  • supported neighbours in Colonial acres and Hillside related to watermain and sanitary sewer upgrades

Improving Support for Children and their Families

I want to keep Waterloo a wonderful place to nurture children, and a city that fosters strong educational values.  For this reason, I worked to fundraise and build the Butterfly Learning Centre, a not-for-profit public childcare centre in Ward 4 that provides care to 108 children out of two locations every day.  I also secured a new school crossing guard in the Eastbridge Neighbourhood and voted to keep all other school crossing guards already working in Ward 4 when City Staff recommended their removal. I am also actively pursuing library services to be extended into the ward during the next four years.

 

Ensuring Strong Municipal Financial Planning

  • for every dollar asked for in taxes I asked staff to match in efficiencies
  • 4 years of tax increases below the inflation rate
  • supported lowest tax mill rate in Waterloo Region
  • 8 years of the lowest tax increases in Waterloo Region
  • Sent back projects for rebidding, retendering or redesigning when they were over budget
  • All Budget surpluses allocated to reserve funds
  • Reserves are at the highest level since 2003
 
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