Tag Archives: showcase

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Missing the connection: Will the University iXpress bypass ION?

Grand River Transit is investing in a new transit plaza next to the University of Waterloo’s ION station. But they have no stated plan to connect the 202 University iXpress with this location. In fact, they propose to have the 202 drive over the tracks and not stop near ION at all. How could this be? See the plans yourself, and then tell GRT you want the 202 to connect with ION.

Imagine that it’s early 2018, and ION has begun service. A young woman leaves her home in the Beechwood neighbourhood bound for work. Instead of getting in the car as she normally would, she walks towards the closest bus stop. Today she will find out if ION works for her.

It’s a short walk to the bus shelter, and a short wait for her bus to arrive: a 202 University iXpress. It quickly carries her along Erb to University Avenue, then through campus and she steps off the bus just metres away from the ION platform. It’s a quick and convenient transfer as the train glides smoothly into the station as she walks up and just like that, she’s on her way downtown.

Now imagine instead, her bus drives right past the University of Waterloo. There’s the unmistakable thump-thump of crossing railway tracks: surely, this must be the place to transfer. But no, the bus keeps going.

She gets out at the very next stop, beyond Phillip St. She doesn’t know the area, and she can’t see the station anywhere around here. She asks a passing student, who points back towards the tracks. She starts walking.

Despite crossing each other, the 202 and ION stops are a long way apart.

Despite crossing each other, the 202 and ION stops are a long way apart.

It’s almost 10 minutes before she has found her way to the ION station. By now, she’s cold and annoyed. These iXpress buses were supposed to connect seamlessly with the train, she thinks. Do they actually expect her to walk all this way every time to catch her train downtown, and then find her way back to this bus stop in the evening? Why does her bus completely bypass the light rail line whose tracks it drives over? She can’t understand why anyone would think this was a good idea. She resolves to go back to driving tomorrow.

202walk

Of all these routes, the 202 is the most vital to connect with ION.

Sadly, it is this latter scenario that we are being set up for. GRT revealed its plans for the new UW transit plaza and route adjustments in the area to connect here, and those plans specifically exclude the 202 University iXpress. Despite the creation of this plaza and the placement of the UW ION station, the University of Waterloo wants to block bus access to sections of Ring Road. The 202, serving our region’s second largest transit corridor, is a casualty of this decision, currently relegated to bypass ION and stop a long distance away.

The 202 is Waterloo's best cross-town route, extending to Erb West and University East.

The 202 is Waterloo’s best cross-town route, extending to Erb West and University East.

But there are alternatives. There are ways to make this work. Unfortunately, Grand River Transit appears to be proposing inaction when they presented to the public last week. The vision of iXpress cross-town lines feeding the ION transit spine may well be abandoned where it is most critical.

We must ensure that this connection happens. GRT needs to step up, and deliver a solution. And if GRT can’t bring the 202 to the UW transit plaza, then it should instead be routed to connect with ION at the Laurier-Waterloo Park station on Seagram drive.

Why not connect 202 with ION on Seagram, and also provide Laurier with an ION shuttle at the same time?

Why not connect 202 with ION on Seagram, and also provide Laurier with an ION shuttle at the same time?

Making these connections between ION and iXpress is of paramount importance to ensuring that our investment in LRT benefits more than those who live and work immediately adjacent to the line, because they connect ION riders to many more destinations outside the central transit corridor.

It’s not too late to tell GRT directly that you want to see the 202 iXpress bring you to ION’s doorstep. You can see GRT’s plans yourself, and submit your comments online. Let’s help our transit planners make the connection.

Find out other ways you can help to make the connection.

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ION station buttons

Show your support for light rail and your neighbourhood pride

You’ve seen the construction, the tracks getting put in the ground, the stations falling into place.

At TriTAG, we’re excited to soon be able to get around town with rapid, frequent transit service. For the last six years, we’ve been advocating for more transit, protected bikeways, and better walking conditions to our cities to make our communities great places to work and live.

We want you to share your excitement for the transformation happening in our Region, while helping us to take our efforts to the next level.

We’re creating buttons for each stop along the ION light rail route. Inspired by the anchor wall designs, these buttons will feature a unique pattern for each ION station, letting you show off your neighbourhood pride. We’re giving these buttons as ‘perks’ for your support of our Indiegogo campaign. You can get the whole set, or special collections featuring different neighbourhoods and places along ION.

ION station buttons

We’re looking to raise $5,000 to continue TriTAG’s advocacy efforts through incorporation as a not-for-profit and better engagement with the Waterloo Region community.

To find out more, visit http://igg.me/at/tritag.

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INFOGRAPHIC: LRT is on the way!

What is LRT? Why is it being built? How will it affect the community? When and where can I ride it?

ION Light Rail Transit (LRT) is the solution Waterloo Region needs to manage our growth, connect our region, and ensure a prosperous future. After a decade of study and public consultation, it’s time to move forward, and time to get excited!

To celebrate ION coming up for its final formal approval and to consolidate some of the answers to frequently-asked questions, we’ve produced an infographic showing why ION Light Rail Transit is the best investment to move us around and shape our region’s future.

Look below the break for the full infographic.

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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.

[youtube http://youtu.be/wj6NQfe-9do] Continue reading

Could King Street look like this in the future? (courtesy ActiveTrans)

Could Uptown be Waterloo’s first protected bike way?

Uptown streetscape: lots of room for improvement. (image courtesy City of Waterloo)

Do you bike through Uptown Waterloo? What if you could ride along King Street protected from traffic by a curb and parked cars?

In a few years, King Street’s pedestrian-hostile four lane thoroughfare will be a thing of the past between downtown Kitchener and Waterloo Town Square. Implementing ION will mean removing two of those lanes.

In light of this, the city of Waterloo (in partnership with the region) wants to improve King from Erb St. all the way up to University Avenue. Their plan: trim the redundant road lanes that would dead end in Uptown, and use the room to provide better access for people on foot or bike. The goal: create a friendlier, safer Uptown with space for people to move around, shop, and enjoy the scenery, while smoothing traffic flow along King. As part of this plan, the city proposes to paint traditional bike lanes of sub-standard width in between rows of parking and road lanes heavy with cars and buses.

We think they could do a lot better: instead of sandwiching cyclists between open car doors and moving traffic, why not use those parked cars to protect people on bikes? King Street may be the perfect location for Waterloo to implement its very first protected bike lanes.

Could King Street look like this in the future? (courtesy ActiveTrans)

Protected bike lanes are paths for bikes along roads but separated from traffic by a curb, parked cars, or other barriers like planters. With as many as 60% of people interested in cycling but concerned about safety, protected bike lanes are cycling infrastructure for the rest of us. And their popularity has exploded, in places like New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Montreal. Even Guelph has installed curb-protected bike lanes on part of Stone Road: providing a friendly space for bikes has greatly reduced the amount of people riding their bikes on the sidewalk.

Protected bike lanes are effective because they feel much safer for casual riders and their families. How safe are they really? One study took a look at protected bike lanes in Montreal, and found that they substantially reduce injuries while attracting riders from less bike-friendly roads. The University of British Columbia has shown that on top of being preferable, protected bike lanes get top marks for safety.

But what’s in it for Uptown? Business owners and merchants, who customarily focus on more parking to bring in customers, could stand to reap huge dividends from the presence of friendly bike infrastructure. A study of Bloor West in Toronto found that pedestrians and cyclists visit local businesses the most often and spend more money than motorists. New York created the United States’ first protected bike lanes on 9th Avenue and consequently, businesses there saw a 49% increase in retail sales. Closer to home, Waterloo’s ongoing intensification means that number of potential customers within walking and cycling distances of Uptown is growing rapidly.

Protected bike lanes are coming eventually: evidence keeps building on the benefit they can provide to our urban environment, and they’re starting to attract Waterloo’s attention. Councillor Melissa Durrell has said that she would like to see protected bike lanes and we agree with her.

This is where you come in. A good idea needs support! Visit the public consultation (and submit your feedback), and write your councillors. Tell them Waterloo needs protected bike lanes. To make cycling accessible and safe for everyone, and to keep our Uptown vibrant and healthy, we need to be heard: It’s time for protected bike lanes in Waterloo.

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