The landscape of Waterloo Region is changing in support of more active transportation methods. The City of Kitchener’s transportation master plan “provide[s] direction on how we can improve our pedestrian, cycling, transit and roadway infrastructure” and the City of Waterloo’s Strategic Plan has an objective of “facilitate[ing] a modal shift, enable increased use of active transportation and public transit.”
Concrete examples of change include the addition of bike lanes on streets like Belmont Ave in Kitchener and Erb Street in Waterloo. In August, The Region of Waterloo announced a five-kilometre separated bike lane pilot project along University Avenue, Columbia Street, King Street, Albert Street and Erb Street. Local municipalities have made gestures of support, but what about the safety of active transpiration users?
A recent report taken to Regional Council on Dec. 3, from The Department of Transportation and Environment Services highlights a decline in collisions between pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles on regional roads. Although the five-year trend shows a steady decline, collisions are still occurring on many regional roads and this recent report highlights some of the most common roads for cyclists and pedestrian collisions.
Pedestrian Collision Locations for 2018
1. University Ave. at Albert St., Waterloo
2. Ainslie St. at Main St., Cambridge
3. King St. at Bishop St./Bishop St, Cambridge
4. Erb St. at Erbsville Rd. /Ira Needles Blvd., Waterloo
5. Kingsway Dr. (multi-resident driveway) at Wilson Ave., Kitchener
6. University Ave. at Phillip St., Waterloo
Pedestrian collisions continue to fluctuate each year. Many low collision years are followed by years with higher rates, and while 2018 saw the lowest number of pedestrian collisions in the past five years, it is not showing a steady downward decline. High pedestrian areas like University Avenue showed up twice on the pedestrian collision location list. The lack of signalized crosswalks isn’t a determining factor for collisions either, 89 per cent of pedestrian collisions occur at signalized intersections, while 56 per cent of pedestrian collisions occur when the pedestrians had the right of way.
Along with highlighting the roads with the highest rate of collisions the report also looks at collision trends over the past five to ten years. 2018 saw the lowest number of pedestrian and cyclist collisions over the past five years, and Cyclist collisions, unlike pedestrian collisions have seen a steady decline in the past 10 years. While bike lanes no doubt had a positive impact, 74 per cent of collisions still happen at intersections, suggesting a lack of knowledge regarding who has the right of way and visibility issues.
Cyclist Collision Locations for 2018
1. Hespeler Rd. at Munch Ave./Isherwood Ave., Cambridge
2. Hespeler Rd. at Bishop St. Cambridge
3. Courtland Ave. at Siebert Ave. Kitchener
4. Hespeler Rd. at Avenue Rd./Jaffray St., Cambridge
5. Water St. N. between Ainslie St. and Simcoe St., Cambridge
6. Weber St. E. between Fergus Ave. and Kinzie Ave., Kitchener
It’s important to note this report for Regional Council looked at collisions in 2018. We have since seen many changes in support of active transportation; these changes will hopefully continue to be reflected in a decline of collisions with active transportation users.
The Region of Waterloo has an ongoing education initiative, the “Extra sec-check” to help bring awareness to road safety. Asking everyone to “take a look around for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.” More information about the “Extra-sec-check” can be found online.