Here is the text of an e-mail sent to Regional Councillors concerning the Vanier/Traynor Crossing .
As part of constructing the ION system, a fence was installed along the Hydro Corridor, which has restricted previous informal pedestrian access between this neighbourhood and the properties on Fairway Road. This area is now an active part of the ION system, with trains testing along the corridor.
The Region and the City of Kitchener are continuing to work on the provision of a permanent pedestrian access point (with gates and bells) across the LRT tracks, including the identification of a suitable location. The properties on both sides of the LRT tracks are privately owned. Once a the location and property requirements have been finalized, the Region will finalize the design and start construction (funding for construction still needs to be finalized). The City of Kitchener is responsible for acquiring the property and constructing a formal public access to the ION crossing.
The Region has retained a consultant for the design of the pedestrian crossing. This work is ongoing. Once the design and property acquisition work is complete construction can start. The Region is also committed to applying to the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund to receive funding for the project and if this is not possible staff are reviewing alternative funding which may require Council approvals.
The City is working on completing the work to select the appropriate location for sidewalks to connect to the ION crossing and the associated land acquisition. Region staff have agreed to assist the City should expropriation be required. Region and City staff will coordinate timing of land acquisition and construction to ensure that there is public access to the ION crossing when it is complete.
Given the current status of design and land acquisition it is unlikely that the pedestrian crossing will be open before ION service starts. The earliest that it could be open is likely spring 2019 (a full schedule is not complete as the design is not complete). A preliminary design and cost estimate of the walkway and rail crossing is now being developed, which will allow us to move forward with approvals and seek funding.
We are also aware that pedestrians are crossing the LRT tracks and damaging fences in this location. As a result, the Region has placed signage in this area advising that this is an unsafe activity.
In terms of the permanent crossing, the next steps include:
- Complete the design work and identify the budget
- Finalize location of the crossing
- Work with the City to complete their feasibility study
- Request funding
- Acquire the necessary land
- Construct the crossing
which has restricted previous informal pedestrian access between this neighbourhood and the properties on Fairway Road. This area is now an active part of the ION system, with trains testing along the corridor.
People have asked me why there is a crossing at Old Albert in Waterloo and not at Traynor. Frankly, I use the Albert crossing and kept after staff for a pedestrian crossing from the very beginning of LRT. Unfortunately due to the informal nature of the Traynor /Vanier crossings, no one picked up this need for a pedestrian crossing. It is not uncommon for the needs of pedestrians to be ignored as shown by the many beaten down paths along roads without sidewalks and is something that we must continue working on changing.