According to a report by the Real Estate Investment Group, Waterloo Region is the best place in Ontario to invest in real estate. In an interview with CBC News, Don Campbell, head of the Real Estate Investment Group, cited the region’s Light Rail rapid transit plan as one of the reasons to invest in the area.
“You’re seeing [BlackBerry maker] RIM and seeing the high-tech industries still continue to grow and hire,” he said. “And at the same time, they’re revitalizing the downtown of the old cities of Cambridge and Kitchener and now they’re talking about [light rapid transit].”
The report credits Light Rail as a method to significantly improve property values, even when established before higher-density development begins.
“Accessibility is a critical determinant of residential land values, and the improved access between urban centres and residential neighbourhoods greatly improves the value of homes. This is even evident when light rail precedes development”
2 thoughts on “Report: Light Rail Makes Waterloo Region Even More Attractive for Investment”
“…improved access between urban centres and residential neighbourhoods greatly improves the value of homes.”
Light Rail in Waterloo Region is meant to follow a central corridor. How does this improve access between residential neighbourhoods and our urban centres? Unless you wish to go from one mall to another, who does this serve? The 10% of the Region that’d be within half a kilometer (a 10-minute walk) who still could get to where they want faster and more convienently in a private automobile?
There are residential neighbourhoods near the central transit corridor, and there are already many ongoing and planned residential developments in close proximity to it. In addition there are numerous employment nodes along the route. Once the light rail gets under construction, new uses will be attracted to its station areas, and so the number of destinations near the route will grow (residential, employment, commercial).
The fact that the first phase goes from mall to mall is actually a very good thing, since the malls are already big transit destinations that make for strong anchors. A transit line is more efficient if it is used for trips along its entire length and in both directions; so anchors at either end will help generate revenue on all parts of the line. (Whereas you’d get less and less use toward the end of a line going to a bedroom suburb.) In any case, most people won’t be going from mall to mall, but making shorter trips between the many destinations served along the route.
It won’t directly serve the entire Region, obviously, but it doesn’t need to. It will serve the high and increasing density of use along the central transit corridor, and it will provide a good quality transit spine. That will in turn make it more attractive to take a quick bus ride from a more outlying area to a light rail station to then get to anywhere along the line. As an example of this: one would be able to live in the Eastbridge subdivision, catch a frequent bus along University Avenue, transfer to the light rail, and get to a job in downtown Kitchener. Or one could live in Uptown Waterloo and take the light rail to Fairview (or Sportsworld in phase 2) and catch a bus to the Toyota factory, with perhaps a spouse taking the train to UW. Of course it will be even easier to live and work along the line, and that’s a big part of the point both of the light rail project and the new Regional Official Plan.
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