Week in review: June 17, 2017

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Consultations, feedback, and events


A report from the Rapid Transit team summarizes the results of the public consultations for Stage 2 light rail into Cambridge. Staff will be taking extra time to consider new alternatives and the feedback, and will host an additional third round of consultations early next year. While its important to get the route right, delays in planning mean other communities like Ottawa and Montreal are passing us by in receiving federal funding for their rail expansions. Another concern is that staff will now be considering operating light rail within mixed traffic in tight sections – which could strip light rail of one of its primary advantages.

Also in Tuesday’s Planning and Works agenda are updates on the MobilityPLUS business plan and EasyGO fare card. New fare cards are expected to be issued in August, and users will be able to register them at a new web portal with the awkward URL

In intercity-transit, the province announced the launch of its Transit Project Assessment for electrification of core GO train routes. For the Kitchener corridor, electrification would stop at Brampton, but also announced was a feasibility study for hydrogen-powered trains, which would allow for many of the benefits of electrification without requiring wires. While this sounds great, it’s an idea the province first considered a decade ago, and a commercial vehicle is not yet available.

  • Heated LRT stations are not wasteful. They’re a brilliant idea (The Record)
  • Bombardier streetcars likely to miss reliability target (The Star)
  • In sprawling areas, can a bus become anything other than a lifeline to the poor? (Streetsblog)
  • Talking about transit effectively (TransitCenter)

Cycling and trails

On the blog, we shared our concerns about the staff preferred options for an Iron Horse Trail to transit hub active transportation connection as involving too much on-street facilities and insufficient path width along Park Street. Meanwhile, the Region is selecting a consultant to lead the segregated bike lane pilot that will build a protected bike lane network within one of Waterloo, Kitchener, or Cambridge. The Region is also considering multi-use pathways along portions of Westmount and Victoria (public consultation is June 27).

On King Street, shock and dismay at the paved shoulders parallel to the ION tracks, that are just wide enough to look like bike lanes, but disappear without warning near intersections. The failure to implement these as real bike lanes represents a serious failure as part of the ION planning process.

Vision Zero

  • Elderly Kitchener man hit by car, thrown from scooter, suffers head injuries (CBC)
  • Distracted driving has killer consequences (Waterloo Chronicle)
  • “You cannot talk fatalities down” (Spacing)
  • Children can’t detect car speeds over 32 km/h (Price Tags)
  • Cities are trying to end pedestrian deaths. New data suggests they’re making progress (Governing)

Land use and parking

In Uptown Waterloo, a new mixed-use residential tower is proposed with fewer parking spaces than units. Progress! (Read the traffic impact report where the developer suggests a 41% reduction in parking requirements.)

  • Parking reform has big implications for sustainable transit – and for ride-hailing too (Streetsblog)
  • Density without demolition (CityLab)
  • Oslo’s car ban faced backlash. So it banned parking (Guardian Cities)
  • The hidden ways that architecture affects how you feel (BBC)
  • Lefty cities say they want to fight climate change but won’t take the most obvious steps to do it (Slate)

The road ahead