Slow Streets: Kitchener plans for fewer cars on the road in some neighbourhoods
KITCHENER -- The City of Kitchener is looking to re-implement the Slow Streets initiative, a measure to get more cars off the road to leave room for more physically distanced pedestrians and cyclists.
“More space is a really good idea,” said Emily Watkins, pedestrian who walks her dog on Duke Street.
It's one of the eight streets flagged for the initiative.
Kitchener’s Community and Infrastructure Services Committee approved the plan at a meeting Monday afternoon.
The initiative includes installing signage, pylons and barricades. The idea is that people who live in those areas would still access the road, but traffic cutting through would find a different route.
Some people who live in the neighbourhoods said they aren’t a fan of the measures.
“Putting signs up that look as if the roads close was not any kind of abstracts and already narrow road,” said one resident in the area.
This is not the first time the city is trying to do this. Slow Streets rolled out last summer for a few months.
“But then after a few weeks it just seem to go back to normal,” said one resident when asked about what it was like in 2020.
Staff said it will be on the same streets as last year, besides two streets under construction, and admit this time they will keep a record of how well it works.
“So that’s the intention that this year would be able to collect speed and volume data and determine how effective the program is working,” said Daren Kropf, active transportation planning project manager with the city.
Staff said speed was not a factor when deciding which streets to choose.
“Those streets were selected by looking at various neighbourhoods,” Kropf said. “In terms of population density, the age of the number of vulnerable people over 65 and the proximity to major trails that may have challenges with physical distancing.”
The Slow Streets Initiative will go to council for final approval Monday April 26.