Week in review: November 19, 2016

Consultations and feedback deadlines

Municipal budgets

Vision Zero

  • The OPP reports that pedestrian deaths have reached an 8 year high in Ontario.
  • The emergence of driverless cars may lead to further draconian regulations against pedestrians crossing the street instead of a future where people can cross with confidence and safety.
  • Regional Planning and Works Committee will receive a recommendation next week for road work on Weber in Kitchener, including a new crosswalk signal at Fairview (the residential street, not the mall), and replacement of mature English Oak street trees. Wood roadside barriers are recommended near the cemetery to protect pedestrians, even though the only real protection will come from slower speeds in the S-curve through roadway design, something staff are not considering.
  • The Waterloo Regional Police Service was called out for a bone-headed tweet this week, claiming distracted walking was “just as harmful” as distracted driving. If a basic understanding of physics doesn’t convince you why this is utterly false, maybe collision statistics will.


  • Consultation for the future UW transit station was held this week. Alarmingly, planners appear to be assuming University Ave routes, including the 202 iXpress, will not connect with ION. Allegedly, the University of Waterloo does not want buses on Ring Road to compromise pedestrian safety. (Though if they were truly concerned, they would limit automobile traffic, not buses.) It seems as though our concerns about ION’s station placements around campus were worse than we had feared.
  • Construction of Uptown King Street is scheduled to be completed on time by November 30. Uptown businesses are planning to celebrate December 3 with a “Festival of Living Streets.”
  • Work on ION will continue into 2017, but with far less traffic disruption.
  • Council is being updated on ION’s progress. While Bombardier delays may increase the Region’s costs, so far, $32.5 million of the ION’s budgeted $818 million capital costs remain unspent or uncommitted.
  • Regional Councillor Karl Kiefer asks where the money in the budget is for extending light rail into Cambridge. The Region is waiting for firmer details on costs from its environmental assessment, along with pledges from upper tiers of government.
  • Researchers continue to study the impact of ION on land use and property values. A symposium is being hosted on Tuesday (registration link) to present findings. The monitoring report is also being presented to Regional Planning and Works Committee.