Posts tagged ‘Public Transit’

Region Not Happy After Large Transportation Analysis

Local politicians want to see Waterloo Region better represented in an analysis of long-term transportation needs at the provincial level.

Regional councillors voted last week to advise the Ministry of Transportation that a currently under development transportation strategy for the GTA and areas to the west “will not provide sufficient infrastructure for the long term to connect Waterloo Region, Wellington County and the City of Guelph to the Greater Toronto Area”.

The strategy aims to reduce congestion on Highway 401 by expanding the highway to 12 lanes near Mississauga, but the region takes issue with the lack of a new connection between Toronto and Waterloo Region.

“Any kind of incident on [the 401] would make it difficult for goods movements between the two areas and also commuter traffic,” said Graham Vincent, the region’s director of transportation planning.

The region is also lobbying the ministry to increase GO Transit train service to Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge, include the region in an upcoming provincial traffic management study, and hold off on any final decisions until the completion of a Waterloo-Wellington-Brant regional transportation study.

“We believe that could go a long ways toward offloading some of the traffic congestion along the 401. We see that as a key element of the entire package,” said Vincent of GO Transit expansion.

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm Leave a comment

Gearing Up For Roundabout Battle

Coun. Nicholas Ermeta is ready to fight to keep roundabouts like this one on the Can-Amera Parkway from being built along the length of Franklin Boulevard in just two years. He plans to launch his battle at Tuesday’s council meeting.

I’M BACK!

What this councilor needs to do is his research regarding signalized roundabouts, and roundabout history in general. It’s time to move forward, not sit in traffic… I’ll even give him a little push. Amazing how Google can sometimes be your best friend. I personally drive roundabouts on a daily basis as I am a delivery driver and wish there were more of them in the region. The amount of time I sit at red lights in this Region is disheartening.

The only part I don’t agree with regarding the installation of these roundabouts is the cost factor. I’m sorry to hear that the Region has put a price tag on human lives, all in the name of saving money.

Traffic signals are much more costly than is commonly realized, even though they represent a sound public investment when justified. A modern signal can cost taxpayers between $80,000 and $100,000 [U.S. $] to install – depending on the complexity of the intersection and the characteristics of the traffic using it. On top of this, there is a perpetual cost which is almost never considered – the cost of the electrical power consumed in operating a signalized intersection 24 hours a day. This now averages about $1,400 per year.

Arizona Department of Transportation

Why not pay a little bit more to save a life? This way we don’t have to repeat the tragedy that happened near St. Mary’s high school, at the intersection of Homer Watson Boulevard and Block Line Road.

Coun. Nicholas Ermeta is mad as hell and is demanding that Waterloo Region listen to the wishes of people in Cambridge.

As council resumes after its summer hiatus, Ermeta will be bringing forward a motion to Cambridge council calling on it to condemn the region’s decision to set aside previously approved plans to gradually install roundabouts at 11 intersections on Franklin Boulevard in favour of completing all of them within two years.

“It’s very important that we fight for what’s right for Cambridge. People aren’t ready for this,” he said. “We’ve got to send a strong message to the region that we don’t want this.”

Since posting his notice of motion in July, Ermeta says he has been deluged with phone calls from people upset about the region’s plans.

“I’ve gotten overwhelming positive feedback from people in Cambridge,” he said. “I’ve even had calls from people in Kitchener and Waterloo supporting me. They aren’t fond of what’s happened with Ira Needles Boulevard.”

Another concern raised is that the volume of traffic on Franklin Boulevard may make it impossible for drivers to safely enter roundabouts from the sidestreets.

Ermeta also vehemently objects to plans to install a roundabout in front of St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School.

“They installed a roundabout near St. Mary’s (High School) in Kitchener and it’s been a disaster,” Ermeta said. “I’m in favour of the status quo at Franklin and Saginaw. If anything, the lights should be extended there to give people more time to cross the street.”

Ideally, Ermeta wants Waterloo Region to go back to its original plan to install the first three roundabouts at the top of Franklin Boulevard and then take a year to evaluate.

The region initially supported that plan until transportation planning staff filed a report recommending all 11 roundabouts be installed over a two-year period to minimize disruption to traffic and cut costs. That recommendation was accepted, but the decision was far from unanimous.

“All three (Cambridge) representatives voted against the change. So did the mayors of North Dumfries, Woolwich and one of the other townships. It’s the K-W councillors that are telling Cambridge what to do.”

Ermeta’s motion calls on “Cambridge City Council to condemn the (May 16) decision made by the Council of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo”.

It further asks council to request that the regional council reconsider and approve a new motion similar to the original recommendation previously passed.”

rmartin@cambridgetimes.ca

Source: The Cambridge Times

September 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

A Call to Design: Dunbar Collective

Dunbar Collective: Site Location

Dunbar Collective: Site Location

I want to ask you the readers if you have a design solution for this location?

I want to create a green technology showcase property for City of Cambridge and hopefully this can be a catalyst project for the rest of Hespeler Road. Maybe this project could be included in the Mayor’s new “green” agenda?!

This project will create some much needed infill and intensification development as well as showcase new technologies through building design, energy systems and sustainability.

Perhaps work towards a LEED certified building(s)?

Site Details

Size: Unknown (I do not have the proper tools at home to calculate it!)

Current Zoning: Commercial, I’m assuming “automotive related”

Potential Zoning: Live/Work units

Transit: iXpress and GRT transit stops already in place at Cambridge Centre Mall, located relatively close to the 401

Other Details:

  • More than likely a low-level brownfield site
  • Gas station used to be located on corner of Dunbar Road and Hespeler Road
  • Several automotive related services were located on properties south of Dunbar, but before the recently closed Galt Chrysler Car Dealership
  • “Junky” flea market located at corner of Can-Amera Parkway and Hespeler Road
  • YMCA is across the street
  • Dumfries Conservation Area located across the street, approximate size of 75 hectares
  • New residential towers built at Dunbar and Conestoga Boulevard
  • Regional Shopping Centre (Cambridge Centre Mall) located across the street

I’m going to work on drafting some concepts, but I would also love to see your work too!

October 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm 3 comments

Help Shape the Future of London’s Transportation Plan

  The City of London officially launched Smart Moves, its London 2030 Transportation Master Plan study, Monday (Sept. 28), and is looking for Londoners input into the study.

The City of London officially launched Smart Moves, its London 2030 Transportation Master Plan study, Monday (Sept. 28), and is looking for Londoners' input into the study.

The next grand plan for transportation in London seems likely to be a greener one, with cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders relegated to the back of the bus.

  • A four-line streetcar route shaped like a cross, with downtown London in the centre and the arms reaching north, south, east and west.
  • Two rectangles of bus routes intersecting those streetcar lines. GO trains heading east and west, and light rapid transit rail heading to smaller centres.
  • All along the routes, people-friendly streets with commercial, retail and residential development built at key connections.
  • Instead of buses and streetcars being an afterthought to development, the transit system would actually determine where and how the city grows.

An ambitious plan that turns the idea of London’s transit system on its head.

London Transit unveiled the centerpiece in a push to get feedback on transportation, a city bus covered with the pictures and words of what city officials have dubbed “Smart Moves: What Moves You?” The City of London Smart Moves Transportation Master Plan study, which takes place over the next year, is intended to address future transportation needs of London.

A public meeting has been set and the following information has been provided:

When:

  • Tuesday, November 10

Where:

  • Western Fair Grounds – Carousel Room

Time:

  • 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Open House
  • 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Workshop

Sources: What Moves You?, LFPress.com & LondonTopic.ca

October 5, 2009 at 4:20 pm Leave a comment

De-Railing Light Transit?

An example of a LRT station.

An example of a LRT station.

A local group, Taxpayers for Sensible Transit (T4ST), launched a formal public education campaign last week running ads in local media, which declared their preference for improved bus service that comes at a much cheaper cost than the proposed $790 million Light Rail Transit (LRT).

The iXpress bus service is great already, but LRT would work much better in the case of Waterloo Region. Faster service, dedicated lanes, improved pedestrian connections, and new development construction are just a few of the benefits, oh my!

Current iXpress bus route through Waterloo Region

Current iXpress bus route through Waterloo Region

While Regional council gave formal approval of the LRT plan at the end of June that would bring electric trains to a new Kitchener-Waterloo rail corridor, it meant that Cambridge would be linked in a regional transit system by a fast bus service instead. Lucky Cambridgites… is that what we’re called? Ew!

The local grassroots movement is based in Waterloo and is was formed to express concern about the Region of Waterloo’s planned Light Rail Transit. The group’s other objective is to promote positive ideas for better transit planning in Waterloo Region.

I personally disagree with T4ST and would love to see LRT and BRT systems enacted in the Region. People are crying that there will be low ridership, but how will one know if one does not build? Oh I know how we can fix this idea! Perhaps Waterloo Region’s Growth Plan (warning: pdf format) would like to comment? Yes, I think that would be a fine idea!

The Growth Plan requires that by the year 2015, and each year after, a minimum of 40% of all new residential units must be built within the Built Boundary. The Regional Land Budget assumes a regional intensification rate of 45% by the year 2015, and each year after, thereby allowing for both slightly lower densities within the designated greenfield areas and a larger proportion of higher-density developments to be located closer to high frequency transit. The Regional Land Budget assumes a straight line increase in the annual rate of reurbanization that between the rate of intensification experienced in the region in 2006 (29%) and the proposed rate in 2015 (45%). As a result, the average annual re-urbanization rate from 2006 to 2029 would be 42%.

We are in hard economic times, yes? A recession to be exact, yes? The formation of an LRT system will help bring much needed jobs to the Region, furthering a spur in new transit oriented developments (TOD). The Region will be receiving major funding from upper levels of government, but local taxpayers will still be on the hook for millions of operating costs. I think we as taxpayers in the Region can deal with this seeing as how it can benefit all that use it. According to Ruth Haworth, “the provincial growth targets for uptown Waterloo for the next 25 years will be met in the next five to seven years. The problem in Waterloo, if there is one, is that there may be too much development in the works.” How can too much development be a bad thing? TODs are great places to create wonderful new development either through intensified housing or commercial projects.

Taking an excerpt from Section 2.1 of the Places to Grow Policy, one can understand why the Region of Waterloo wishes to construct an LRT; “communities will need to grow at transit-supportive densities, with transit-oriented street configurations. Compact urban form and intensification efforts go hand-in-hand with more transit: not only do they support each other, they are all necessary.” It’s not only what the Provincial government would like to see happen, but also what many residents of the Region would like as well.

Many areas would start to see fresh new ideas popping up, and help develop new partnerships within in the community. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and hope people will embrace this planned proposal with arms wide open.

Can we not formulate something from other cities that have such systems already in place, such as Toronto and Portland, Oregon? Yes I know it will cost a lot to build, but would you rather build in 20 years when it’s too late, and cost an additional $700 million?!

I guess all I am is just a daydreamer.

Source: CambridgeTimes.ca

Source: T4ST.com

October 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm 1 comment

GO Transit Expansion to Cambridge is Almost a GO

A recent$100,000 Waterloo Region study looking at extending GO trains west from Milton. It’s an idea that’s been pitched for decades but went nowhere, as GO struggled with a bottleneck at Milton.

The extension would see four stations located in and around Cambridge: one near Galt Collegiate Institute on main bus routes; near Clyde and Franklin for a park-and-ride; at Highway 6 South; and at Guelph Line, west of Milton. Overnight train parking is proposed in Cambridge, as is twinning single tracks between Milton and Cambridge so passenger and freight trains can safely mingle along Canadian Pacific Railway’s main Ontario corridor.

Now a Cambridge expansion is firmly on track with firm cost estimates of $110 million to build it. The study projects ridership topping 900 a day if trains started in 2011. By 2021, the 1,600 daily passengers could cover 80 per cent of costs, the standard GO aims for. By 2031, 2,800 daily passengers would easily cover all Cambridge operating costs.

The report says GO transit is ready to undertake an environmental study of a Cambridge-Milton extension in 2012. That would finalize details so all that’s needed is money to make it happen.

GO is also expected to announce extension of bus service from Milton into Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo later this month. That’s long been touted as a precursor to train service.

GO has nearly finished an environmental assessment of extending trains west from Georgetown through Guelph to Kitchener. To start, that would cost $153 million. Later, as more tracks and overnight storage areas for trains are built west of Kitchener, the cost would reach $549 million.

The study goes public Monday at a Cambridge city council meeting, starting at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Regional councillors consider it Tuesday in a 9 a.m. meeting of the planning and works committee at 150 Frederick St. in Kitchener.

Source: TheRecord.com

October 4, 2009 at 3:38 pm 1 comment

London’s High Speed Transit Symposium

I recently received an email from a professor of mine regarding a symposium about high speed transit.

On May 28th, the City of London is hosting a “symposium” on a high speed rapid transit system for the Southwestern Ontario region. It will be held in the Council Chambers at London City Hall on Dufferin Ave.

This should be a very interesting discussion on a very important topic. Particularly for those of you that have an interest in planning for transportation systems.

If you want to attend, you must register using the link provided: Highspeedrail.ca

May 11, 2009 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment

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