Active transportation expansion

To help physical distancing during COVID-19, the city is creating safer spaces for walking, cycling and other modes of active transportation.

Use this page to find out what changes are taking place and how to provide feedback.


On this page

  1. Slow streets
  2. Speed limit reductions and traffic calming
  3. Temporary road closures
  4. Map of all active transportation changes
  5. Provide feedback
  6. Project background

Slow streets

Slow street sign mounted on traffic cone on a Waterloo streetTo increase the space available for active transportation, select streets have temporarily become 'slow streets' where people can share road space with vehicles if needed.

Signs are posted at entrances and exits to these streets as pictured. Access for emergency vehicles and waste collection is maintained.

Driving tips for slow streets

  • avoid slow streets if your destination is elsewhere, they are meant for local traffic only
  • reduce speed and be aware that pedestrians, cyclists and other people might be on the road
  • give space if passing other road users

Walking and biking tips for slow streets

  • continue to walk on sidewalks and cycle at the edge of the street if space is available
  • use extra space on the street when physical distancing isn't possible
  • give space if passing other road users

Slow streets in uptown area

  • Alexandra Avenue (from Caroline to Westmount)
  • Allen Street West (from Park to John)
  • Avondale Avenue South (from Erb to John)
  • Roslin Avenue South (from Erb to John)
  • Waterloo Street (Graham to Moore)

Slow streets in university area

  • Bricker Avenue
  • Hemlock Street (from Hickory to University)
  • Lester Street 
  • Marshall Street (from Lincoln to King)

Check the map below for a visual representation of all active transportation changes. Note that we are not accepting requests for additional slow streets to be installed at this time.


Speed limit reductions and traffic calming

Speed limits are temporarily reduced to 40 km/h on select streets and within two neighbourhood zones. Other streets have temporary speed humps as a form of traffic calming. 

Traffic data is being collected to help determine the effects of these changes and if they should be made permanent.

Neighbourhoods with speed reduction

  • Eastbridge* (entire area within Bridge, University, Eastbridge and Chesapeake)
  • Old Abbey (adjacent to Davenport Road, Northfield Drive and Bridge Street)
  • Westvale* (entire area within Ira Needles, Erb, University and Fischer-Hallman)

* includes a 30 km/h speed limit in school zone within area

Streets with temporary speed bumps

  • Dunvegan Drive
  • Margaret Avenue (from Lincoln to Bridgeport)
  • Woolwich Street

Streets with speed reduction

  • Auburn Drive
  • Beechlawn Drive
  • Beechwood Drive
  • Braemore Avenue
  • Brandenburg Boulevard
  • Dale Crescent
  • Gatestone Boulevard
  • Glenridge Drive
  • Glen Forrest Boulevard
  • Laurelwood Drive
  • Northlake Drive
  • Sandowne Drive
  • Sundew Drive (Twin Leaf to Mayapple)
  • William Street (from Park to Westmount)

Check the map below for a visual representation of all active transportation changes.


Temporary road closures

The following streets are closed to vehicle traffic until September 8, 2020:

  • Willis Way from rainbow crossing to Caroline

The following streets are closed to vehicle traffic until September 21, 2020:

  • Princess Street from Dorset to King

With vehicle traffic removed, people are encouraged to walk, cycle or roll on the street. Picnic tables are available in both locations.

This decision stems from the Uptown Public Realm Strategy that recommended these streets become a pedestrian streets.


Map of all active transportation changes

In addition to the above, several other trails, multi-use paths and bike lanes are planned for installation.

The Region of Waterloo is also making active transportation changes, some of which are in the City of Waterloo. Visit the region's active transportation website for details. 

View all city changes in the map below. Open the map in a new window to view full screen.


Provide feedback

We are collecting feedback on these changes. A short survey will be available through September 2020.

Let us know what you think


Project background

In May 2020 city council unanimously approved a motion directing staff to review opportunities to create more active transportation space to help with physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff developed a series of temporary and permanent actions to assist in this direction. Many municipalities across Ontario and Canada are adopting a similar approach.