All the consultation centres for Rapid Transit implementation options have taken place, but you still have until tomorrow (Friday the 25th) to make your opinions count! The official Rapid Transit site has the information which was presented at the centres and you can find the comment form here.
We fully support a Light Rail Transit based approach. That said, there are two main issues of concern to us at this stage, and we encourage you to add your thoughts on them to your comments or to otherwise contact Rapid Transit staff to convey your own concerns. The issues are detailed below.
The first one is the routing of proposed Light Rail Transit through Uptown Waterloo. The plan has the two directions split, the southbound track going along Caroline and Allen and the northbound along King and Erb. We believe locating the stops on separate streets is problematic and a missed opportunity for a better, more consolidated design. Staff tell us that there are difficulties with right-of-way size, underground utilities, parking, and the BIA that have resulted in the current planned alignment. We believe a better option would run both directions up King Street and then turn near the current freight tracks, and that this could initially be done using a single track on a small piece of the corridor. This would allow a consolidated station right at the public square. Another option is to run both directions on Caroline Street, again using a single track to deal with narrow right-of-way (namely, at William Street).
Our other main issue is with the mid-block location of several stations in Waterloo: one is to be at Seagram Drive, one at UW Davis Center, and one at the R&T Park. We’ve been told that Wilfrid Laurier University insists on a Seagram stop, and that Grand River Transit and GO Transit are intending for a major terminal off Phillip Street, next to a UW Davis Centre stop. We believe these choices contradict the aims of creating a grid-based network which is understandable by users. A mid-block terminal between Columbia and University would either force buses on those streets to go out of their way or would force a poor connection between cross-corridor routes and the LRT line. We also do not believe Seagram Drive has anywhere near the potential of developing as a corridor that University Avenue does. In the not-too-distant future University Avenue is likely to be a candidate for Rapid Transit itself, so it’s important that we are planning for future connections.
Our preferred alternative would be to eliminate the Seagram Drive station, and to instead have stations at University Avenue, at Columbia Street, and at Bearinger Road. If a Seagram Drive station must be included, it would best be added to the above three, instead of forcing the other stations to mid-block locations. Finally, if stations cannot be changed, we propose that instead of the terminal being off Phillip Street, that a busway be constructed between University Avenue and Columbia Street to facilitate access to the terminal.
Finally, we would like to see consolidation of stations at Charles & Borden, an extra station at Mill & Ottawa, and curbside painted bus lanes on Hespeler Road for the iXpress / aBRT – to be implemented as soon as possible.