Kitchener-Waterloo

Laurel Greenway in Waterloo to get new master development plan

The City of Waterloo will be developing a master plan for the Laurel Greenway, as it wraps up a year of public consultation looking at how the park and trail system should evolve in the coming decade and beyond. 

Plan will be a guideline for city to follow as it develops the area over the next 15 years

The Laurel Greenway looking east from Waterloo Park. (engagewr.ca)

The City of Waterloo will be developing a master plan for the Laurel Greenway, following public consultation over the past year. 

The plan will dictate how the city develops the city's park space and trail system over the next 15 years. 

"This is looking at all the different sites and locations along the greenway and coming up with this conceptual vision for the project," said Emily Brown, a public realm specialist with the city's development engineering department.

The city conducted public consultation earlier in the year, hearing various visions from residents about what the greenway should look like. The city just finished its second round of public consultation. 

Ideas include a play structure for children, and public art. It also included physical changes like separate lanes for bikers and pedestrians along the trail, and wider pathways.

"We are taking all those great ideas and making them a little more site-based," said Brown.

"The study will help us decide which projects to do… The whole idea is that we are doing the background and the study so that we can make a difference so we can implement them."

Improved planning

David Trueman uses the trail regularly on his bike. He says it's an important feature in Waterloo, but it could use some upgrades.

"The whole thing ties together the centre core of the city of Waterloo and takes advantage of some of the natural features," said Trueman, co-chair of CycleWR, an advocacy group for safe cycling in the region.

"I think they've got the vision right and it's just a matter of getting all the details right as well."

Trueman took part in the public engagement, and says he welcomes some of the short term changes. He would like to see the wayfinding signage be clearer.

David Trueman is the co-chair of CycleWR. (Submitted by David Trueman)

"If you come down the Laurel trail, into the area where you cross Regina, from there on it's really hard to figure out how to make it over to the Laurel trail that goes up past Waterloo Park," said Trueman. 

"Of course people who have been around for decades have figured some way to make it through there, but it will be nice to have directions for others."

He would also like to see the Caroline and Erb Street intersection become more bike friendly.

Emily Brown said it will take time before people start seeing changes along the trail system. First the plan needs to be developed, then it will need to be approved by council. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Drost is a reporter with the CBC.

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