Canada's first 'Dutch-inspired' roundabout could be built in Kitchener

Next week, the Cycling and Trails advisory Committee will weigh in on a design for a 'Dutch-inspired' roundabout at Huron and Strasburg roads.

City Councillors will provide feedback on a design at committee next week

Kitchener city councillors are set to weigh in on a new"Dutch-inspired" roundabout next week. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

Kitchener may soon be home to Canada's first "Dutch-inspired" roundabout.

In the 2019 budget, Kitchener city council allotted $200,000 for the roundabout at Huron and Strasburg roads.

A "Dutch-inspired" roundabout has a separate path in the outer ring for cyclists.

Next week, the Cycling and Trails Advisory Committee will weigh in on a potential design.

Barry Cronkite, director of transportation for the City of Kitchener says changing the current roundabout at Huron and Strasburg to a a Dutch-influenced version would place a higher priority on vulnerable users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

"There'd be an outer ring that's dedicated strictly for cycling facilities ... and we would highlight it with green paint," said Cronkite.

"We would pull the [pedestrian] crossings ... farther away from the circle itself."

The reason behind making the change is the roundabout's proximity to the Huron Heights Secondary School. The hope is to make the roundabout safer for the students who use it on a daily basis.

No major construction

Cronkite says he's not aware of any municipalities in Canada that have built that type of roundabout, but Ottawa and other cities are considering the idea.

Barry Cronkite, director of transportation for the City of Kitchener, says construction could start in the spring of 2020. (Julianne Hazlewood/CBC)

There won't be construction on the roundabout to increase its size, even though the roundabouts in Holland and other European cities are larger.

But Cronkite says the city is looking at some minor construction.

"We're considering some physical measures to see if we can slow people down ... whether we're tightening up the lanes, changing the geometry of the exit a little bit or potentially raising those crossings so that they're safer — those are some of things that are still on the table," said Cronkite.

'People are getting more comfortable'

As of July 2019, there are 36 roundabouts in Waterloo region. The first was installed in 2004.

Cronkite admits he's heard from a lot of people who aren't fans of roundabouts, but he thinks that's changing.

"People are getting more comfortable — [roundabouts] definitely move traffic more efficiently," he said.

Cronkite expects construction to begin in the spring of 2020. 

If the new style of roundabout is a success, the changes could be applied to other roundabouts, said Cronkite.