Posts tagged ‘Transit Terminal’

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.




October 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm 1 comment

BIG BIG BIG NEWS! Waterloo Region’s $790M Rapid-Transit Proposal Unveiled, and GO Services announced

Wow, what a story! Waterloo Region has finally unveiled its rapid-transit proposal after so many years of planning. The ambitious proposal could be the biggest public works project ever undertaken here, in a community where almost everybody drives to work. Could this reshape the Region forever? Will it become the leader it wants to become on a national and international level? Council has proposed the rapid transit, not because regular transit is overwhelmed, but because it is seen as a planning tool to draw homes and jobs to the underused urban spine. It’s meant to help intensify neighbourhoods, ease pollution and help keep cities from spilling into the country, as the region heads to a population of 729,000 by 2031.
Rapid Transit Line
But, not everyone is happy. It seems once again that the City of Cambridge gets the shaft from Waterloo Region. Instead of having light rail like Kitchener and Waterloo, they will receive buses that leave from Fairview Mall, and travel to the Ainsle Street Bus Terminal. How hard is it to run a transit line down the 401? After all, it does have an extremely large right of way seeing as it’s MTO owned land… Mayor Doug Craig doesn’t think this city will ever have rail transit. “We will never see light rail in Cambridge,” Craig said. “It costs too much money for a system from Conestoga Mall down to Ainsile Street.” The reasoning behind the move is that Cambridge doesn’t have the population density to warrant light rail, Craig said. “When you put Kitchener and Waterloo together, there’s enough density. But it would work the same way if you put Cambridge and Kitchener together as well,” he said.

Grand River Transit would be realigned to work in cooperation with the new rail lines. Electric trains on dedicated tracks, displacing traffic between Conestoga Mall in Waterloo and Fairview Park mall in Kitchener. It would cost $710 million to build in today’s dollars. Fast buses driving in mixed traffic between the Fairview Park mall and the Ainslie Street transit terminal in the Galt core of Cambridge. It would cost $80 million to build in today’s dollars. The system would have 18 stations and would draw up to 22,500 daily boardings upon its launch, planners contend. That’s more than double today’s boardings for express buses on a similar route.

Public feedback will be sought at meetings this month. Be sure to join Waterloo Region at a public consultation centre this May to provide your input on the preferred rapid transit system.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 from 2 to 8 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 54 Queen St. N., Kitchener. Public parking is available at Queen and Ahrens streets and is free after 6 p.m. Please do not park in the church lot.

Thursday, May 21, 2009 from 2 to 8 p.m. at the United Kingdom Club, 35 International Village Dr., Cambridge. Located across from Dunbar Road and the Cambridge Centre Transit Terminal.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 from 2 to 8 p.m. at First United Church, 16 William St., Waterloo. Public parking is available off of Caroline Street. Please do not park in the church lot.

Council may endorse the proposal June 24, with final provincial approval by December. Construction could launch in 2012 and conclude in 2014.

GO Transit Bus
Another very important transportation decision was iniated this week as well and will immensely help the commuters who travel from the Kitcher and Cambridge areas. GO Transit buses will ferry local passengers to GO commuter trains in Milton and to a transit hub at Mississauga City Centre, but not directly to downtown Toronto. They will depart from park-and-ride sites that are not yet selected but are anticipated to be in Kitchener and in Cambridge. Rates, routes and schedules for the buses have not been finalized. A GO spokesperson said up to a dozen buses will operate daily along Highway 401, carrying 800 to 1,200 passengers a day within two years. The federal and provincial governments are spending $2.5 million to build four park-and-ride sites in and near this region.

Rapid Transit
Waterloo Region Rapid Transit Homepage

GO Transit

Now playing: North Lincoln – Leveling
via FoxyTunes

May 11, 2009 at 2:02 pm 1 comment

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!- Westmount Shopping Centre


Here are a few progress pictures I took while passing by Westmount on Family Day…

The bus terminal is now closer to completion, there has been few bus shelters added. Unfortunately this terminal reminds me of the Argyle Mall terminal… a vast open space of concrete and ashphalt… it just seems like the LTC uses what ever it has in stock to create these new terminals seeing as the same shelters are at its terminals as on the road, it is a shame because a terminal has so much more potential especially at Westmount mall with it being so close to the building(compared to Argyle and Masonville) there is potential to integrate the shelters with the mall it self. At the very least I wish the LTC would make its terminals a bit more exciting with different style bus shelters and layout, kind of like what they did at Fanshawe College (I will post a couple pictures in the coming days check back)

The movie theater is also moving along, even on Family Day construction workers were hard at work, since my last post about Westmount they have added the windows in what I presume to be the main entrance, they have covered the lower 6 feet all around the building with a stone material (similar to that of Silver City) and it seems like they are building some sort of over hang to protect people from the elements between the entrance to the mall(on the north side by Zellers)and the theater.


February 17, 2009 at 11:23 pm Leave a comment

Progress on Westmout Shopping Center Re-development

As many of you know, Westmount has been struggling to keep tenants for the past decade. In its latest attempt to re-invent its self Westmount has decided to build 5 freestanding buildings along the perimeter of their property, demolish the corner building to create an urban square, and  build a brand new cineplex movie theater in behind the mall. All this sounds great, until you start looking at the design aspects of the plans.

FACT: they do intend to bring the buildings to almost 0 meters from the lot line which is great and will definitely improve  the streetscape along Wonderland and Viscount which have been huge parking lots ever since the mall was built, BUT   there doesn’t seem to be any entrances fronting the street at least not with the first of 5 buildings – Td Canada trust. I know some people may disagree with not having an entrance off the parking lot.. but really that extra 1 min walk will only do us good 🙂

Then if you look at the placement of the movie theater you notice that how its completely hidden behind the mall, the building seems to be just the typical generic cineplex theater that is being built everywhere in Canada.. its too bad Canadian movie theaters can all have a unique look or at least a hand full of different designs! One interesting thing to point out is that they have set the building really close to the mall but have no access from that side. make me wonder if they have future plans that they have yet to release…

Lastly, I wanted to talk about the new bus terminal(or lack there of) in my eyes a transit terminal should at least have some sort of shelter and seating.. which are both lacking at this new terminal, they basically took what was on the side of the mall and moved it across the street, only it was better where it was as people at least had the wall to sit on…

Here are some pictures of the new TD building, the progress on the Theater as well as a picture of the bus “terminal”; 


Personally I think its great that Westmout is trying to do SOMETHING with their property and are still trying to bring in tenants as well as customers. However I think for them to do really well again they should totally re-invent themselves, I’m thinking tear down the whole mall, leave the Zellers, Sears and A&P as well as the underground parking and take it from there. That’s pretty much what Bayshore Mall  in Glendale (Milwaukee) Wisconsin did they turned it into Bayshore Town Center. While visiting it last October I was amazed at the feeling and sense of community it had. Its a true mixed use center with retail at grade, office and residential above, it also has a town square with a fountain and green space that is linned on two sides with restaurants and cafe’s.

Check out some photos of BayShore TownCenter here

“Town Centers”( a more upscale type of big box development)  are poping up all over the USA and just starting here in Canada just look at smart centers  Foundry District planned for Toronto.

I think it would be an interesting concept for London, especially in Westmout as there is a large number of residential units in close proximity, and the fact that they already have underground parking couldmake this project economically viable- maybe not right at this moment, with the economy crashing, but definitely in a few years.

January 12, 2009 at 11:30 pm 4 comments

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