The Region of Waterloo has now passed its budget for 2016. You may have seen headlines in the news about a bus to Hanson Ave, a discounted bus pass for Conestoga students, and discounted passes for refugee children, not to mention the ongoing light rail construction.
But there’s more happening in this year’s budget. Here are a few things we find in the Grand River Transit budget:
- Introduction of electronic fare cards this year to replace tickets and passes
- Installation of transit priority measures to keep buses on schedule
- Relocation of the Cambridge Centre bus terminal to Hespeler Road to make ION aBRT more direct in 2016
- A new bus garage will be built near Northfield and University to help GRT deploy buses to Waterloo routes
- New stop platforms and shelters in 2017 for the future Ottawa iXpress
- A new bus terminal at the University of Waterloo ION stop, to be completed in 2017
- Realignment of the Fairway bus terminal and improvements to Conestoga Mall terminal’s pedestrian connections to integrate with the ION stops, to be completed in 2017
- A new bus terminal at the future Block Line ION stop in 2017, where the 201 iXpress will likely begin and end its route
The GRT capital projection includes costs for facility renewal at Charles Street Terminal up until 2020, giving us an idea of when planners anticipate the terminal’s functions will be fully transferred to the Victoria Multi-modal Hub.
For active transportation, about $15 million is projected to be spent on cycling facilities in conjunction with planned road rework projects over the next five years. An additional $12 million will be spent on new sidewalk construction, both as part of road rework and separate projects. For 2016, about $4.4 million will be spent on cycling and walking, coming entirely out of development charge reserves rather than property taxes. Projects anticipated for 2016 include multi-use paths along Franklin in Cambridge, protected bike lanes for Manitou Drive in Kitchener, and sidewalk infill on Westmount between University and Columbia.