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Week in review: October 16, 2017

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Consultations, feedback, and events

Trials of trails

Residents raise the alarm that no progress appears to have been made on a needed pedestrian crossing of the light rail tracks between Traynor and Fairway. Fences are cutting off the Vanier neighbourhood from groceries and other businesses on Fairway, and it looks like solutions are unlikely before rail service begins.

Rhonda-Marie Parke, a blind ultra-marathoner, is calling for the City of Kitchener to publish information on the level of accessibility of trails, including crossings. While we ultimately would want to see all road crossings be made truly accessible, better information would go a long way.

Transit

Last week, we shared about a question in the Region’s 2018 budget survey that asked if people would be willing to pay 75 cents more for a single transit ride – that would make cash fares as high as $4! Regional officials have tried to downplay the question, stating that a 75 cent fare increase isn’t formally being proposed. This is true, but it is still disturbing that such an outrageous increase would be considered to be part of the range of acceptable possibilities. If you haven’t yet, we’d encourage you to complete the survey and say no to steep fare increases.

  • On-track tests of light rail vehicle expected to start this week (CTV)
    • Bombardier to miss year-end TTC streetcar delivery target (The Star)
    • Bombardier completes first delivery of horse-drawn omnibuses to TTC (The Beaverton)
  • Momentum builds for Pearson airport transit hub (The Star)
  • How transit use could rise in rural America (CityLab)
  • A bid for better transit (TransitCenter)
  • Analyzing historical transit service & GTFS publishing practices in Transitland (Mapzen)

Vision Zero

Safety cameras (photo radar) are still a few years away from coming to Waterloo Region, but already the watering down of their implementation is being discussed, out of fear of “cash grab” accusations.

  • Person cycling struck in new Ottawa-Homer Watson roundabout (CTV)
  • Transportation engineers are ethically bound to protect public safety. Too many do not (Streetsblog)
  • American speed limits are based on 1950’s science (Motherboard)
  • ‘Paying to stay safe’: why women don’t walk as much as men (The Guardian)

Cycling

As construction continues on protected bike lanes on Uptown King Street, results of a one-year bike lane pilot on Bloor Street in Toronto has city staff there recommending the lanes be made permanent. The study found that overall spending in along the stretch increased more than in neighbouring areas, collisions decreased, and cycling along Bloor grew by 49%.

Land use and parking

  • Midtown’s missing middle (Kitchener Post)
  • Once in a lifetime chance to build density with diversity (The Record)
  • Development charges going up in new proposed bylaw (Waterloo Chronicle)
  • UW study highlights shortfall in K-W family rental options (The Record)
  • Cities and suburbs are becoming pretty similar (Bloomberg)
  • Obesity thrives in the suburbs (CityLab)
  • Better tax math: Build more infill to lower taxes (Slow Streets)
  • Choosing to ditch the car to work: what helps office workers decide (Rocky Mountain Institute)

Road ahead

Community Car Share votes to pursue negotiations with Communauto for acquisition of its assets and debts.

ClimateActionWR needs to hear from you! Waterloo Region’s Climate Action Plan means our community is taking local action to address climate change. While we’re working hard to achieve our short-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2020, transportation emissions have been rising, and now make up half of our locally produced emissions. We’re now looking ahead to setting our community’s next, long-term target for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Please fill out this short survey to let us know where you think Waterloo Region should be heading.

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Week in review: October 10, 2017

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Consultations, feedback, and events

Transit

It’s here!

the second ION light rail vehicle has arrived

The second ION light rail vehicle has arrived

The Region has opened its online survey for the 2018 budget. Shockingly, after committing to fare increases under 2% per year over the next few years in the GRT business plan, the survey asks residents if they would accept a whopping 75 cent fare increase per trip! This is far beyond any of the punishing fare increases the Region has made in the past.  Please complete the survey and ask the Region to invest more in transit, not gouge riders any further.

Metrolinx is planning to upgrade its track through Guelph, which includes replacing the mainline and improving crossings, with the intent of improving speeds from 10 mph to 30 mph. This should help speed up GO train trips, eventually.

Vision Zero

  • Drivers not doing right, still making left, despite new signs (570 News)
  • Uptown parents concerned about route kids have to take to school after busing removed (Waterloo Chronicle)
  • Vehicles from serious crashes on display in Waterloo Region for road safety campaign (The Record)
  • If Toronto is waging war on the car, why are drivers the only ones racking up the body count? (The Star)

    “If your solution to problems relies on ‘If everyone would just…’ then you do not have a solution. Everyone is not going to just. At no time in history has everyone just, and they’re not going to start now.”

  • Amsterdam rethinks the traffic light’s role in city planning (Next City)
  • Philly takes safer streets plan beyond the usual urbanists (Next City)

Trails and walkability

The Region moves forward with its plans for a twisty route between the Iron Horse Trail and the future transit hub, while leaving options open in the future to straighten it out or even follow parallel to the rail corridor. City councillor Frank Etherington is not impressed.

On Wednesday, neighbourhood resident Sam Kamminga will remind Regional Council of the need to maintain pedestrian access between the Fairway Road stores and the Traynor-Vanier neighbourhood, as ION completion closes the fence for good.

Cycling

  • Volunteer bike counters step up to gather the data the city should be collecting (The Star)
  • Laurier Ave bike lanes reducing collisions say City of Ottawa (Metro News)
  • Six way-finding principles that make communities easier to navigate (Alta Planning + Design)

Land use

  • How shared parking can reduce housing costs and cut traffic (Streetsblog)
  • Midtown plan would see highrises, cafés sprout along King Street (The Record)
  • Central transit corridor building boom
    • Breithaupt Block hopes to add 12-storey tower (The Record)
    • Investors put almost $100 million into Waterloo’s Idea Quarter (The Record)
    • Old American Hotel could be reborn as six-storey condo (The Record)
    • Schneiders plant sold, will become ‘largest central infill development in the region’ (CBC)
  • Trying to fix a bad land use plan with a bad transit plan (Torontoist)
  • Transit-focused housing necessary to maximize investments in infrastructure (The Star)
  • Proposed development charges bylaw released (City of Waterloo)

The road ahead

  • The joy and freedom of a city without car traffic (Streetsblog)
  • The heterogeneous future of urban mobility (CityLab)
  • Road pricing the best way to reduce vehicle emissions, concludes UBC study (CBC)
  • 10 questions on how bicyclists and pedestrians will interact with autonomous vehicles (Mobility Lab)
  • 3 senators, 1 car, zero drivers: Committee cruises by autonomous vehicle centre (CBC)
  • Modest test of driverless bus may hint at big things to come (The Record)
  • Transportation equity: the Subaru and the Suburban (City Observatory)

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Week in review: October 2, 2017

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Consultations, feedback, and events

Big news

TriTAG has officially incorporated as a not-for-profit! We’ll have more to share in the coming weeks about what that means going forward.

Vision Zero

A woman was killed in Cambridge last week after she and her grandson were struck by a left-turning driver of an SUV at an all-way stop. Police are still investigating.

  • New private member’s bill goes beyond increased fines for dangerous drivers (The Record)
  • Reducing speed-related crashes through design (Alta Planning + Design)
  • Life is cheap by design in Toronto (The Star)
  • How a city in Spain got rid of its cars – and its traffic fatalities (Eco-Business)

Transit

The second (and first functional) ION train has arrived in the Region! It’s parked in the rail yard off Lancaster, and is expected to be delivered to the ION facility Monday night.

In response to the exposure of political meddling in choosing new GO train stations in the GTA, Metrolinx has released its business case rankings report. It’s nice to know that Breslau is ranked among the best-performing locations. It notes that much of the area surrounding the station is not projected to have rapid transit supportive density, but that the station is expected to have a larger catchment area (i.e. park & ride). We hope it will reduce demand for parking at the King and Victoria transit hub, where too much parking will have a detrimental effect on downtown Kitchener.

  • Amazon’s HQ2 hunt is a transit reckoning (CityLab)
  • New: Manual on pedestrian and bicycle connections to transit (US Federal Transit Administration)
  • Boston’s dream of a more powerful fare card (Next City)
  • The rail that fails – why US cities keep building underperforming streetcars (City Labs)
    Editor’s note: Your friendly reminder that ION light rail is distinct from conventional streetcars in that it operates outside of traffic, and while it too is an incentive for development, ION will also actually improve transit along the central corridor.

Transforming the city

Our own Mark Jackson-Brown was part of a REEP panel on sustainable transportation last week. He noted that if we want to change the way in which people get around, then we need to be thinking about how we are building our community and how it impacts the daily trips we take. “In order for it to become a true option, it needs to become easy.”

Cycling

  • Ontario adding bicycle parking at tourist and cultural attractions (Ontario)
  • Space for all on the streets of Montreal (Copenhagenize)
  • The cultural lag on safety at DOTs (Streetsblog)
  • Carmel, Indiana, is showing suburbs how to go big on biking (People for Bikes)
  • Bloor bike lanes inspiring more ‘normal’ people to cycle (The Star)
  • Strong support for bike lanes on major city roads (Campaign Research poll)

Land use

Only one consortium, King Victoria Transit Hub Partners Inc, which includes local firm Perimeter Development, submitted a qualification package to build the transit hub in Kitchener. The consortium will soon begin negotiations with the Region to build the hub, which will include light rail, city buses, GO trains, and GO and Greyhound buses, as well as residential, retail, and commercial space.

  • Kitchener braces for construction boom ahead of new fees (The Record)
  • Cambridge council, sports groups keen on multiplex at the mall proposal (The Record)
  • Waterloo council looks at early design for proposed recreation complex expansion (The Record)
  • Fresh housing policies for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Urban Strategies)
  • Not the suburb of the future (Human Transit)
  • Public school’s shouldn’t undermine walkability (Streetsblog)
  • Who pays for parking? Unraveling the hidden subsidies that clog our streets (Strong Towns)
  • ‘Snob zoning’ is racial housing segregation by another name (Washington Post)

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Week in review: September 25, 2017

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Consultations, feedback, and events

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Week in review: September 18, 2017

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Week in review: September 11, 2017

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Week in review: September 5, 2017

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Week in review: August 26, 2017

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Week in review: August 19, 2017

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The inevitable consequence of failing to design intersections for people who bike

Yesterday, a 12 year old was struck by a transport truck while cycling through the intersection of Hespeler and Can-Amera Parkway. (A GoFundMe page has been set up by a family friend to assist the family as he recovers.) We don’t have many details at this point what happened, although police suggest the child may have been riding on the sidewalk before entering the roadway.

There is a multi-use pathway along the south side of Can-Amera. We don’t know if the victim had been using this path, or had intended to use it. But the way in which this path meets the intersection should raise some uncomfortable questions among our local traffic engineers. It, like many similar paths throughout the Region, lacks a proper way to cross the intersection on a bike.  (more…)

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