All posts by Mike Boos

Mike is a new homeowner and father, who walks, bikes, buses, and drives his son around Kitchener.

Free transit: a solution for Waterloo Region?

Find our election survey for Waterloo Region, Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo candidates at

A new candidate , John Wolf, has officially entered the race for Regional Chair. Wolf claims that as Chair, he would try to cancel light rail, and as an alternative, investigate making transit free in an effort to boost ridership.

Last month, TriTAG investigated the claims of (as of yet unregistered) Regional Chair candidate Jay Aissa concerning the light rail project. Today, we will explore the issue of free transit and try to address two questions that arise from Wolf’s platform: is free transit a viable alternative to light rail and rapid transit, and what would the impact of free public transit be on Waterloo Region?


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Fact-checking municipal campaigns: Jay Aissa

Check out our Mythbusting the Election  series for more fact-checking and mythbusting of candidates like Jay Aissa.

Find our election survey for Waterloo Region, Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo candidates at

In 2011, when light rail was being debated and ultimately decided upon, there was a great deal of misinformation being spread about light rail and its suitability to Waterloo Region. During that time, TriTAG debunked many of these myths so that an informed public debate could occur.

As the 2014 municipal election period builds momentum, false information about light rail is once again emerging. As democracy depends on an informed electorate, we’ve decided to fact-check egregious statements candidates make regarding light rail and other issues for which we advocate. We begin with Jay Aissa, who in his interview shortly after declaring his intent to run for Regional Chair, made several false claims concerning the light rail project.


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all aboard

All Aboard! Announcing TriTAG’s new mailing list

TriTAG has maintained a mailing list over the past five years to let you know about important local transportation issues and events. In the past year, we’ve used our email list to keep you informed about important LRT decisions, the potential for protected bike lanes in Uptown, our provincial election candidates’ questionnaire, and our 5th anniversary gathering.

We hope this conversation can continue.

New rules governing how emails can be sent and received in Canada come into force tomorrow. While we consider our existing mailing list to already use many of these practices (opt-in, unsubscribe at any time, etc.), because we want ensure you can choose to continue to hear from us, we’ve decided to start fresh with a new list that better satisfies these new requirements.

This means that if you’ve been on our mailing list in the past, you should have received an email over the weekend asking you to re-subscribe – we won’t be using the old list anymore. Of course, if you’re new and weren’t on our old list, you too can subscribe and support our initiatives.

If you don’t want to receive emails from us, you don’t need to do anything. And as always, you can unsubscribe at any time from our list by following the links at the bottom of our emails. We’ll be sad to see you go, but we’ll understand.

Finally, if you have any questions or concerns about the way we communicate with you via email, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Why Protected Bike Lanes in Uptown Waterloo?

King Street in Uptown Waterloo  is being redesigned, and due to popular demand, protected bike lanes are now being considered as an option for the blocks between Erb and Central.

TriTAG is supportive of protected bike infrastructure because it can make bicycling an attractive choice to most people. This is a once in a generation opportunity to make Uptown a truly walkable and bikable place. But businesses have concerns about changes to the Uptown streetscape, so we’ve created an infographic to help understand the benefits and trade-offs of protected lanes. (more…)

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Screen shot 2014-03-14 at 10.37.30 PM

Stop design and network legibility

Recently, we looked at transit stop design for ION through the lens of branding. Today, we’d like to explore the impact stop design has on way-finding, legibility, and providing information to transit users about when to expect the next bus or tram.

Finding our way

Good way-finding cues will be critical for the integration of ION with iXpress buses and neighbourhood routes. Aside from the stop on Caroline, ION trains will have their own platforms distinct from bus stop platforms. (The aBRT stops however will be accessible by both ION and regular buses.) The Victoria Street multi-modal hub will need to allow connections between ION, iXpress, local routes, taxis, GO and VIA trains, and intercity buses. On top of all this is the fact that north- and south-bound direction stops are split by one or two blocks in both the Kitchener and Waterloo downtowns. Planners will need to be proactive in ensuring that the experience of the Grand River Transit network is a seamless one. (more…)

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Screenshot from the game "Mini Metro"

Weekend reading

Two articles caught our attention this week that we thought worth sharing.

How Design Can Help Build a ‘Transit Culture’ – Eric Jaffe, The Atlantic Cities

Increasingly, transit agencies are realizing the importance of the user experience and public perception to  ridership.  TriTAG has long maintained that bus-wrap ads not only make taking transit unpleasant, but they also severely dilute GRT’s brand into rolling advertisements.  We’re hopeful that wrap ads never appear on the ION, and that the Region eventually realizes how much brand-value is lost by covering up entire sides of their buses. (more…)

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Where Will ION LRT Take You Video

VIDEO: Where will ION Light Rail Transit take you?

TriTAG supports Light Rail Transit for Waterloo Region because it will be the backbone of our entire transit network, and a vital part of our growth as one of Canada’s largest urban areas. This region is uniquely laid out to allow LRT to serve many destinations along the Central Transit Corridor, while two existing transit nodes will serve as strong anchors for the route. Sadly, there are a few people who still see it as nothing more than “mall to mall”.

But it’s so much more than that. Let’s take a look.

Here are some simple ways you can join us in support of ION light rail in Waterloo region:


Demand for better transit, cycling infrastructure, safer roads as election season begins

Of all the infrastructure and services municipalities provide, transportation is the one thing we notice the most. Utilities like gas, water, and electricity are, with few exceptions, generally consistent and reliable, and emergency services are hopefully only called upon for rare occasions. Travel, however is a daily requirement for most of us, and our experience of it has the power to shape the rest of our day: from the motorist stuck on the Conestoga Parkway, to the bicyclist dodging cars or squeezed into narrow and pitted bike lanes, to the pedestrian slipping on snow-covered sidewalks, to the person waiting and wondering when their late bus will arrive. (more…)

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Choosing a better land-use future

Transportation choice is inextricably linked to land use. When cities sprawl, the ability for citizens to freely choose their means of transportation diminishes as the number of trips requiring a car increases. If everyday destinations like home, work, retail, and leisure are located near each other however, it becomes easier to choose to walk, bike, or take transit between them. In addition, these kinds of places are much less costly to connect to each other with streets and transit than sprawled areas.

As renowned urban planner Brent Toderian writes, “the best transportation plan is a great land-use plan.”

In 2009, Waterloo Regional Council approved its Official Plan, a document outlining the shape of growth for our Region over the next 20 years. The plan encourages development to be mixed-use and to take place in already built-up areas, and limits sprawl over farmland by establishing a firm countryside line.

This plan has been appealed by a group of private developers who have benefited from previous sprawl-permitting policies. Earlier this year, the Ontario Municipal Board made a ruling in favour of these developers, requiring that the Region provide for more than 10 times as much development on new land (i.e. sprawl) than what was in its Official Plan. Essentially, the ruling forces Waterloo Region to provide farmland for another 20 years of full-speed sprawl, on the basis that sprawl is what the last 20 years looked like.

Waterloo Regional Council understands the threat this is to the Region and its ability to plan its own future, and has voted unanimously to appeal this decision in court. TriTAG applauds Waterloo Region for defending its progressive and responsible plan that would lead to greater transportation choice and quality of life for its citizens. It is vital that we citizens, through our elected government (rather than a handful of private developers), be in control of our own region’s destiny.

To learn more about the Region’s Official Plan and the Ontario Municipal Board appeal, visit

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iXpress loves you and wants you to be happy

Proposed 2013 GRT Service Improvements

The Region of Waterloo’s Planning and Works agenda has come out for next Tuesday, including proposed 2013 service improvements in Waterloo and the service planning implications of cuts to existing transit service in the 2013 budget.

Public consultations on the service changes will be held at various locations in Waterloo and Kitchener between March 18 and 26.

Service improvements for GRT in 2013

We are very pleased to see a movement towards a grid system. A trade-off is present here however: it will take longer for customers within the neighbourhoods bordering Bridge Street to reach their bus stop. Once they get to a bus though, it will take much less time for them to reach their destination. We believe this change represents a net gain for GRT users and residents in general. [1] (more…)

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