A sign at the northwest corner of Kitchener’s King / Victoria intersection proclaims the future home of an inter-modal transit hub, with LRT, GO and Via trains, and local and intercity buses. Hidden away in Regional purchasing documents are some clues as to how the planning of this site is taking place.
Early last month, the Region of Waterloo issued a request for proposals (addendum) for a “Preliminary Design Study and Station Access Plan”. Bidding closed two weeks ago, and the project is to be awarded next Tuesday. Consultations with various advisory committees are required of the winning bidder; general public consultation is encouraged but not required.
These documents also indicate that the Region “has undertaken a design study for the City of Kitchener, which includes building envelopes, heights, and massing for this project.” The City of Kitchener’s vision for this part of the downtown is grand, and it appears likely that the transit hub will be a substantial presence physically.
Interesting aspects and quotes found in the RFP about the study:
- A focus on good pedestrian and cycling connections in the surrounding street network, with an 800m radius pedestrian network and a 2500m radius cycling network.
- “design concepts for the King Street Grade Separation and Victoria Street frontage to encourage street-level activity and ensure a high-quality pedestrian environment”
- “flow diagrams that show clear and direct transfers between different transportation modes”
- “The Access Plan will integrate and expand on existing and planned active transportation routes and identify ways to improve the connectivity of surrounding neighbourhoods. Barriers to active transportation will be identified during this process and the successful consulting team will recommend and prioritize solutions
to these barriers.”
- “Minimized walking distances, permeable block lengths and pedestrian refuge”
- “Establish a hierarchy of pedestrian routes, public spaces, semi-public spaces and private spaces with recommendations on how to delineate each to facilitate wayfinding and placemaking.”
- “Take advantage of potential connections to adjacent properties and across transit stations, train platforms or station corridors under tracks.”
- “Continuous weather protected transit waiting areas and pedestrian refuge areas”
- “Plentiful and covered bicycle parking at all entrances and additional amenities at high volume locations”
- “Providing direct connections to the proposed Waterloo Spur Line and the existing Trans Canada Trail”
- “Designating [cycling] routes along anticipated desired lines from existing and planned developments and cycling facilities” (This likely refers to desire lines, people’s empirically preferred paths.)
- “Waterloo Street is a relatively high volume cycling route that may be closed to vehicle traffic when the new GO/VIA Rail platforms are complete. It may provide an opportunity for an at-grade crossing, with direct access to the rail platform, and also has potential to provide a pedestrian/cyclist underpass (with switchbacks) to the Multi-Modal Transit Hub and through to Victoria Street.”
- “The Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-Law Amendment will increase the permitted density of the site, will broaden the permitted land uses and will allow parking reductions based on the site’s downtown location, its mix [of] uses, and expected transit mode share.”
Last month Waterloo Region also awarded a contract for its “Heritage Study for Multimodal Hub” (addendum). The site includes the Rumpel Felt factory complex and sits in Kitchener’s “Warehouse District”. The consultant will be recommending “how the cultural heritage resources on the site could be conserved and integrated into the design of the Multimodal Hub project and how the cultural heritage resources on and around the site could be used to influence the design of the Multimodal Hub project.”