Tag Archives: LRT

Vanier/Traynor Informal Pedestrian Crossing.

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.

What’s Up with the Corduroy Road?

First of all, Mayor Sue Foxton of North Dumfries Township wants you to know that North Dumfries still has a lot of corduroy roads. A million snappy jokes jumped into my head, but I like North Dumfries and Mayor Sue is doing a good job!

The one pictured above is, of course, the corduroy road found under King St. in Uptown Waterloo on March 11 when the asphalt road was dug up to put in utilities and set up the new Ion light rail line. An archeologist had to come and examine it and his findings are going to the provincial heritage ministry for approval before work can begin again on the Ion construction. The road is the original Mennonite road built before 1800 by cutting down the standing trees to make the road. You can see large stumps also that became part of the road.

Uptown Waterloo and indeed much of the surrounding housing on Euclid, Alexandra, up to where I used to live on Beverley St, are on the site of the Beverley Swamp. Even today, many houses in this area have sump pumps due to the high ground water levels.

The logs of the road were put over the swamp so horses and carts and people could traverse the swamp ( or as we say today, wetland). Over time, the road was buried and the ground built up. The basement at the Waterloo Hotel where you can descend to a store or bar (depending on who is renting)  is what remains of the original ground floor of the hotel, as told to me by a local resident.

While everyone is concerned what the delay in studying the road will mean for the stores and businesses on King St., it turns out the road has become quite the tourist attraction.

At the Mayor’s Breakfast this morning, Mike Murrary, CAO, mentioned that the Region is working on letting people take a piece of the road if they wish. Tom Galloway presented this idea to me yesterday.

In a previous update memo, Kim Moser said:

The Region will be offering residents a chance to secure their own piece of the corduroy road after it’s been removed
 100, two-foot sections of the corduroy road will be available to the public for free on a first-come, first-service basis, while supplies last in May
 Details on this giveaway will be provided by the Region once the corduroy road has been removed from the area by GrandLinq
 The remainder of the corduroy road and the surrounding soil will be disposed of according to environmental standards and regulations

Here is some information from staff about the process so far.

From Lucille Bish, Director of Cultural Services concerning preserving the road.

The process to preserve wet wood artifacts from archaeological sites is to keep them wet in the field and then in the lab.  Water is slowly removed and replaced with PEG – polyethylene glycol – a process which can take several years.  This cannot be done easily if the wood has been allowed to dry out in the field or the lab.

In the case of the corduroy road section found under King Street, it has been uncovered and fully documented under the direction of an archaeologist.  However, there was no intent to keep it wet and covered, so the cell structure of the wood will have already begun to collapse.  We don’t know how long the wood will stay intact, but any display or use would be short term at best. Without some form of preservation, now that the wood has been exposed to the elements, it will become dust in a matter of a couple years. The resources to preserve the wood are likely limited to federal conservation labs in Ottawa.

The City of Waterloo Museum is planning to take a section, with the knowledge and support of the Region of Waterloo Museum.  There is no need to keep more than one section of the road in the community.  As the actual preservation of the wood is beyond the physical and financial resources of either museum, it would be a temporary exhibit.

Neither can the road be left intact and re-covered with soil, as there are adjacent underground services which must be replaced.

The real value of the find has already been accomplished.  The formal documentation has included photographs, detailed drawings and construction notes, and 3D imaging.  The City of Waterloo Museum plans a temporary exhibit of images at the construction site.  Many people have been attracted to Uptown Waterloo to take a look, which has been good for business.

Here is even more detail about the corduroy road, for those obsessed (like me).

Background:
· On March 11, GrandLinq crews performing light rail transit (LRT) construction at the King/Willis Way intersection, discovered a change in conditions and the presence of wood
o In keeping with requirements of both the Project Agreement and the Ontario Heritage Act, work was immediately stopped and GrandLinq’s Environmental Department was informed
· The investigation, which is nearing completion, has been led by an independent licensed archaeologist, with support from historical experts at both the Region and the City of Waterloo
· On March 18, the lead archaeologist confirmed that the finding was a corduroy road
· Following the confirmation, the lead archaeologist and his team were required to:
o Determine the extent of the corduroy road on King, between William and Erb
o Carefully and completely expose the intact sections of the corduroy road in order to document the findings (i.e. map and photograph the corduroy road)
o Submit a report, for review and approval, to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport (Ministry)

Current Situation:
· Today (April 19), the lead archaeologist and his team are expected to complete their documentation of the corduroy road on King, between William and Erb. They will also prepare the report for the Ministry
· Understanding the concerns a prolonged delay will have on ION LRT construction and businesses in UpTown Waterloo, the lead archaeologist has worked closely with the Ministry throughout the investigation and will remove the corduroy road once the documentation process is complete and authorization from the Ministry has been granted. This work will require two steps:
o Step 1: Removal of unsuitable soil that surrounded the corduroy road. Some of the soil in this area cannot be reused due to poor conditions
o Step 2: The corduroy road (i.e. the logs) will be removed
· Once the unsuitable soil and corduroy road materials have been removed, LRT construction in this area will resume

Next Steps:
· At this point, it’s too early to know what impact the corduroy road delay will have on the ION construction schedule for UpTown Waterloo
· Once LRT construction resumes, GrandLinq and the Region will need some time to assess the situation and determine what (if any) schedule time can be gained through other construction methods (i.e. double-shifting and/or a noise by-law exemption, etc.)
· The Region and GrandLinq understand the importance of the Christmas shopping season for UpTown Waterloo businesses. We expect to have an update on the ION construction schedule and the impacts of the corduroy road delay by the end of June
· It’s important to note that during the archaeological investigation of the corduroy road, GrandLinq crews were re-assigned to accelerate the completion of LRT work in other areas of UpTown Waterloo. This will help with the overall LRT construction schedule for UpTown Waterloo. For example, on Allen, and in the Caroline/Allen intersection:
o The Caroline/Allen intersection did not open, as previously planned, on March 24. Instead, the intersection remains closed until mid-June
o When the intersection re-opens, all required work in the intersection will be complete, including installation of the track and related infrastructure
· On-going work in UpTown also continues, as scheduled, including:
o King/Union – construction at this intersection is progressing well and it is expected to re-open May 15 prior to the Caroline/Erb intersection closing
o King/William – construction at this intersection began March 29 and it is expected to re-open May 15. The Caroline/Erb intersection will not close until King/William re-opens

What will happen to the corduroy road?
· As required by the Ontario Heritage Act, the corduroy road has been carefully and completely exposed and documented. A report on the findings, as required, will be submitted to the Ministry for review and approval
o The final report will be shared with both the Waterloo Region Museum and the City of Waterloo’s Museum
· The City of Waterloo’s Museum has requested, and will receive, a piece of the corduroy road for its archives
· The Region has extensive drone footage of the corduroy road
· The City of Waterloo has documented the corduroy road through 3D-imaging. This information will be shared with the Region
· The Region and the City of Waterloo will be creating several banners to document the history of the corduroy road and what was found in UpTown Waterloo
o These banners, once completed, will be displayed along the construction fencing in UpTown Waterloo
· The Region will be offering residents a chance to secure their own piece of the corduroy road after it’s been removed
o 100, two-foot sections of the corduroy road will be available to the public for free on a first-come, first-service basis, while supplies last in May
o Details on this giveaway will be provided by the Region once the corduroy road has been removed from the area by GrandLinq
· The remainder of the corduroy road and the surrounding soil will be disposed of according to environmental standards and regulations

Will GrandLinq be able to complete their work in time for the 2016 Holiday shopping season?
· At this point, it’s too early to know what impact the corduroy road delay will have on the ION construction schedule for UpTown Waterloo
· Once LRT construction resumes, GrandLinq and the Region will need some time to assess the situation and determine what (if any) schedule time can be gained through other construction methods (i.e. double-shifting and/or a noise by-law exemption, etc.)
· The Region and GrandLinq understand the importance of the Christmas shopping season for UpTown Waterloo businesses. We expect to have an update on the ION construction schedule and the impacts of the corduroy road delay by the end of June

What is a Corduroy road?
· A corduroy road (or log road) is a type of road made by placing logs perpendicular to the direction of the road over a low or swampy area
o In some cases, these road sections were sand or earth covered. The result is an improvement over impassable mud/dirt roads
· Corduroy roads are the first instances of roads in Ontario. The corduroy road in UpTown Waterloo predates the 1800’s

Why is it important to document information about historical finds?
· Archaeological features, like the corduroy road in UpTown Waterloo, tell us about our past
o This feature tells us about the earliest Euro-Canadian settlers in the area (pre-dating 1800) and provides an example of the first roads travelled in Ontario
· From discoveries like this one, that connect our present to the past, we can learn about the evolution of Waterloo Region
· It is important – and regulated – that historical specimens discovered during construction be treated in accordance with the steps outlined in both the Project Agreement and the Ontario Heritage Act

What are the costs of the corduroy road?
· It’s too soon to speculate on what the costs will be. However, it is expected that any costs associated with the corduroy road will be managed within the contingencies that are being carried for Stage 1 ION LRT
· As we have done to date, any impacts to the schedule or costs for ION will be included in the staff update to Regional Council. The next update will be later this fall/winter

And finally, an interesting article in the Waterloo Chronicle about a bridge, probably removed when Laurel Creek was buried, across the original street in Uptown.

http://www.waterloochronicle.ca/news-story/6411654-historical-discovery/

Pictures of Uptown Waterloo and Corduroy Road, on April 22nd, 2016, Earth Day

 

 

 

New LRT in Dubai, UAE by Guest Blogger Kevin Thomason

The world’s newest LRT opens this week in Dubai, United Arab

An LRT ground level street intersection crossing.

An LRT ground level street intersection crossing.

Emirates.  Yet another form of transit by RTE in this rapidly growing Gulf city of 2.1 million people, the Dubai Tram connects Marina City, Jumeriah Beach, Internet City, and Dubai Media City to the Dubai Metro – a subway like train that actually travels above this vast city on raised tracks rather than underground.The Light Rail Transit travels as well on raised tracks alongside the massive Sheik Zayed Road/Expressway as welll as in dedicated track lanes at ground level on city roads too.  It is an interesting combination of systems.

Really good signage being used by the system with great area maps, named, numbered and colour coded stations.

Really good signage being used by the system with great area maps, named, numbered and colour coded stations.

The LRT has been under construction for four years and will open this Tuesday, November 11th with the first day of operations reserved solely for the Sheik and Royal Family, it will then open to the broader public on Wednesday, November 12th.  I was lucky to get a chance to explore much of the system over the past few days and despite thousands of workers racing around the clock to complete it, the system is impressive and it was fun to watch them testing everything out as well as learn how to drive the trains as they ran the system empty of people.

cement pyramids

The cement pyramids used at road way edges to prevent cars from driving onto the LRT tracks.No overhead wires – instead a ground level power system clearly visible in-between the rails here on this road crossing.

The system is quite unique for a few different reasons.  First it is the only LRT system in the world with every station enclosed and using automated platform doors.  This is simply a fact of the intense desert environment here and summer temperatures reaching 45C+.  People would die on the platforms in the heat of the sun if there wasn’t air conditioning and climate control.  The current metro system has an impressive and very extensive system of air-conditioned stations and totally enclosed air-conditioned walkways to reach them.

It is good inspiration for us to consider at least making some of our busier stations more protected from the Canadian weather and elements.

The inside of one of the new Dubai LRT stations - the only all enclosed station system.

The inside of one of the new Dubai LRT stations – the only all enclosed station system.

Secondly, similar to Bordeaux, France the LRT system has no overhead catenary wiring but instead uses an innovative ground level power supply – a buried third rail system that switches on power to each section of rail as the LRT passes over it.

Thirdly, the LRTs have a Gold (first class section) as well as Silver (second class section) as well as space dedicated to women and children (more than 75% of the population of Dubai is male).

Although Phase 1 is only 11.5km long with 13 stations, Phase 2 is already under construction and there are plans for additional phases as well as the emirate races to provided the needed infrastructure in this rapidly growing region.  The pace of construction here is hard to fathom with most work sites throughout the region operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week with astonishing numbers of workers on every building site.The Dubai LRT is using the popular Alstrom Citadis LRV’s that will accommodate upto 300 people and if the nearby metro that the LRT links to at several stations is any indication, there should be plenty of ridership from the skyscrapers, hotels, beaches, and luxury marinas that already line much of the LRT route.

Despite the Dubai LRT not even being opened yet, local drivers have had

A small little roadside passenger drop off/pick up area with the station just behind me to my left.  This is a great idea that we need to consider in Waterloo.

A small little roadside passenger drop off/pick up area with the station just behind me to my left. This is a great idea that we need to consider in Waterloo.

challenges adapting to the rail crossings and there have been several car/train collisions already.  It turns out in this often extremely congested city, drivers unfamiliar with rail transit were trying to take shortcuts down LRT rights of way.  Thus, interesting cement pyramid pavers have been used to discourage car traffic and steep 20,000 AED ($6,500 CAD) fines have been implemented for driving on the rights of way or not yielding to LRTs at crossings.  You will see photos below of the extensive multilingual road signage below trying to teach drivers how to deal with LRT’s at intersections.

Their system will use the same very successful NOL card system as their metro, buses, ferries, abras, trolleys, and other forms of public transportation – a loadable card that is scanned on every boarding and exit at the entrances to the stations platforms.  With prices starting as low as 85 cents Canadian it will certainly be an affordable system for riders.

It will be an exciting week as they prepare for the opening.  Every station is a buzz of activity with hundreds if not thousands of workers at each still making finishing touches and cleaning off the desert dust.

In a brilliant move huge searchlights and generators have been brought into each station area that will sweep the sky at night clearly showing locals where each station is located and creating some Hollywood-like opening excitement this week.All the signage for the system is bilingual – Arabic and English with lots of icons as well to accommodate the incredibly diverse multicultural mosaic here.  Interestingly, the LED signs on each Light Rail Vehicle have had to be programmed to scroll the English station names and other messages from right to left, but then reverse and scroll the Arabic from left to right since it is read in the opposite direction.

Unfortunately I have to depart and won’t be here later this week for the grand opening of the LRT however, it will be interesting to see what becomes of the tram here as Dubai ramps up for Expo 2020 and the economy here is booming again after the 2008 financial crisis.

I believe that it will be quite successful and really help to facilitate

A typical Dubai LRT station - the only system with totally enclosed stations and automatic sliding entry doors.

A typical Dubai LRT station – the only system with totally enclosed stations and automatic sliding entry doors.

getting around a fascinating and beautiful part of this incredible city that is home to the world’s tallest building, the world’s largest airport, the world’s two largest shopping malls, the world’s largest fountain, the world’s largest fleet of jumbo jets (in particular more than 50 of the massive Airbus A380’s with 85 more on order for Emirates Airlines as fast as Airbus can build them), and a city that is home to hundreds of high-rise buildings over 20 stories – almost all built in recent years.There is lots to learn from Dubai for our design, construction and operation of the ION LRT system.  Lets hope that ION will help to ensure that Waterloo is just as successful and helps to make us in our own way one of the greatest communities in the world to live in.

Transportation: The LRT/ION. Part 1 of The Fourth of my Five Priorities for the Next Term of Council

 My Pledge: I will continue to make sure that the LRT/ION is on budget and on time.

Why did I vote for the LRT?

I have a Master Library and Information Science. Before I made my decision on the LRT, I did my research. I looked at information for light rail and information for bus rapid transit, both pro and con.

In 2010, I said I wouldn’t accept LRT in its present form with respect to cost. The province had said they would give 500 million to the light rail project. They came in with 300 million. So changes needed to be made to the financing of LRT before I could find it acceptable.

Staff found efficiencies and savings and we went to a Public Private Partnership which brought the burden on the taxpayer down to 11 dollars per year per household. If the estimated cost of fares is included, the amount is .5  increase per year until 2018. When weighing the increase against the 20,900 jobs LRT will create, the benefits to intensification and reduced gridlock, the benefits outweighed the costs.

Also Grandlinq is very experienced in building and running light rail. The Region still owns the ION and will control fares.

During the last election, I promised to support looking again at rapid buses. Once again I did my research. I found BRT wanting.

For my research, I studied the light rail of a number of cities, both southern and northern cities like Edmonton and Calgary. The city I looked at in particular was Portland Oregon.

This is what a traveller had to say about Portland in 1970,

Scattered bomb-site look of downtown parking lots.

Compare this to today where the downtown is according to the Lonely Planet,

Portland positively rocks. It’s a city with a vibrant downtown, pretty residential neighborhoods

Why? Portland turned away from parking lots to intensification, light rail and transit. Waterloo Region is doing the same to save our farmland, stop sprawl, cut gridlock and create great vibrant downtowns. Downtowns that a few years before the hope of this project were dying.

The provincial and federal governments supported Waterloo Region’s light rail because it is a job generator. 16,900 jobs will be created around the ION stations. This does not include direct jobs such as ION drivers, construction workers and engineers building the line.

Waterloo is the city that will benefit most from the ION. 70,000 university students already jam the Ixpress and crowding is one of the issues the Feds talked to me about when we met. Imagine the gridlock if students got off the buses and drove again. The Universities and their high tech spinoffs are Waterloo’s bread and butter.

Traffic congestion can be solved by transit or by expanding roads. If we do not have the ION, we will have to build 300 to 400 new and expanded roads at a cost similar to the ION. Westmount at Glasgow will have to be 6 lanes as will Fischer Hallman and Victoria St.

The LRT is being built as you read this. Caroline St. is already dug up, the rail cars are ordered, contacts are signed. To stop it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars for nothing. Look to Ottawa where the LRT was cancelled then restarted when the buses ended up in a gridlock conga line at rush hour. If Bus Rapid Transit, with its slightly lesser cost upfront but more costs later to replace buses, were put in, it would end up costing more than the LRT because the millions wasted by the cancellation would still be on your tax bill.

That being said,  I will continue to make sure that the LRT/ION is on budget (Inflation has been built into the 818 million cost) and on time.

Transportation, Roads  Part 2

Transportation, Cycling and Walking Part 3

Transportation, Transit, Part 4

Light Rail in Turkey: Ideas for Waterloo Region. by guest blogger, Kevin Thomason

 I want to

LRT in Istanbul

LRT in Istanbul, Turkey

continue with another of the ongoing series of e-mails I have sent from my travels of what we can learn from LRT systems around the world.

It is astounding the systems being built in rapidly developing countries and I would like to focus this time on the Istanbul, Turkey Light Rapid Transit network – an LRT that almost bridges two continents – Europe and Asia.  With one of the highest passenger loads in the world, the Istanbul LRT lines move hundreds of thousands of people every day as part of a larger integrated system of Bus, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), and Subways.
Istanbul has two older LRT lines built in the 1970’s very similar to Calgary’s C Train with high platform heights, dated rolling stock, and challenging stations.  They also have two newer LRT lines built just a few years ago using modern low-floor trains much more comparable to what we are planning for here in Waterloo Region.
The capacity of people moved daily on their LRT is astounding.  The new T1 route is 18km long with more than 100 Bombardier and Alstom LRT trains moving up to 320,000 people per day through a narrow, congested part of Istanbul that is over 2,000 years old.
Our construction challenges are nothing compared to the archaeological and engineering issues facing Istanbul.  This line travels within metres of the 1,600 year old Hagia Sofia – one of the grandest churches in the world and for almost 1,000 years the world’s largest cathedral, as well as within a few hundred meters of the famous 500 year old Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque).  Knox Presbyterian Church in Waterloo has nothing to worry about when one sees how the LRT in Istanbul navigates so close to these ancient world heritage sites.
The Istanbul LRT trains are often attached together in dual trains to double the length and capacity.  A peak times there is often as little as one or two minutes between trains as tens of thousands of people per hour move along this scenic line.  It is amazing to see how so many trains intermingle with thousands of tourists and pedestrians in the ancient core of the bustling city with few incidents or problems.
The system uses double-headed trains that can be driven from driver cabs at either end so there is no need to turn them around and similar to what is being planned for Waterloo they use fast, efficient paid station areas and proof of purchase ticketing so passengers can board at any door of the LRT.
The Istanbul system incorporates a lot of landscaping and greenery wherever possible – often creatively using trees, planters, and living fences to help guide traffic and pedestrians.  It reinforces the need for us to include as much greenery here in Waterloo as possible.
Below are a number of photos I took of their LRT system and ideas the Region should consider.
Istanbul LRT

Typical Istanbul LRT station

LRT side by side

LRT’s pass each other in a busy residential and shopping district of Istanbul.

Tickets for Istanbul LRT

The automatic ticketing machines used by the transit network that take a variety of currencies and utilize a variety of different languages.

Park LRT

LRT passes the entrance to a park

LRT kiosk

LRT passengers using their transit pass or token to go through the gates to gain access to the LRT station platform to catch the next train.

LRT platform in Istanbul

A station platform as two LRTs (one in each direction) simultaneously arrive.

LRT and ambulance

A Red Crescent Ambulance using the LRT track right of way for emergency access in Istanbul.

Crowds and LRT tracks

Huge tourist crowds not impeded by the LRT tracks in any way.

turkeylrt6

A double LRT train passing alongside t entrance to the 1,600 year old Hagia Sofia Cathedral/Mosque.

Crowds by the LRT

Crowds by the LRT. Nobody run over!

 

Cambridge is Playing Catchup on Transit.

Last Tuesday during the debate on accepting the LRT consortium, Councillor (and retired mayor) Jane Brewer said the following in response to remarks that transit in Cambridge is not as good as in the rest of the Region.

She stated that in the 1990s,when Greg Durocher (present head of Cambridge Chamber of Commerce), Doug Craig (present Mayor) and herself were on a Cambridge city council that ran transit, the council always dipped into the funding for Cambridge transit to fund other city needs. I thank her for saying that. It was very brave to admit the truth.

I knew this because I know people who live in Cambridge. My best friend has said many times how much better transit is now in Cambridge since the Region has taken it over. The bus that went by near her house used to only go one way. To get downtown, she would have to go all the way around the the route,even though she could walk to downtown Galt in a half-hour.

Recently her son attended the University of Waterloo. In his first year, he was able to live at home. He took the bus that now went both ways to the Ainslie terminal and took the Ixpress to the University. He loves his Upass and will be sad to give it up when he graduates.

Here are the statistics from when the Region took over transit in Cambridge:

1.      Annual ridership in Cambridge has increased from 1.11 million in 1999 (GRT was established in January 2000) to 3.66 million in 2013, a 229% increase. During the same time period, total GRT ridership increased from 9.47 million to 22 million, a 132% increase.
 
Correspondingly, the amount of service provided in Cambridge increased from 59,300  to 143,900 annual service hours, a 141% increase. In comparison, annual service hours on GRT increased from 336,100 to 631,800, an 88% increase.
 
 
2.      Also, please find attached a table that details the 2014 service reductions in Cambridge and the new Maple Grove iXpress. In total, we are adding more service (4,458 annual service hours) and project an increase of 17,659 rides annually in Cambridge.
 
There is also a million dollars a year going to Cambridge to improve transit. The aBRT will be starting in late 2014 or 2015. It is an Ixpress with priority signals and priority lanes during busy times. It is laying the groundwork for the LRT extension to Cambridge.
The cost to build the LRT from Fairway Kitchener to Ainslie Terminal in Cambridge is the same as building phase one from King St. Conestoga Mall to Fairway Mall. As noted above, Kitchener and Waterloo have more ridership than Cambridge due to the catchup Cambridge  transit has had to make since the Region took it over.
Staff are presently meeting with residents from two seniors’ homes who are having problems with the Cambridge route cuts. The Region always does this. Hopefully we can do some rejigging for the seniors.
The route changes in Cambridge (There are also cuts in Kitchener) are listed below:

Route

Day Type

Effective Date

Service Change Description

Annual Service Hours Change

Forecasted Annual Ridership Change

57 Blair Road

Weekday

Apr 28 2014

From 30 minute to no midday service

(1,230)

(8,864)

58 Elmwood

Saturday

May 3 2014

From 30 to 60 minute service

(333)

(2,518)

61 Conestoga College

Weekday

Apr 28 2014

From 30 to 60 minute service during midday in spring only

(195)

(799)

Weekday

Jun 23 2014

From 30 to 60 minute service during midday in summer only

(240)

(877)

62 Woodside

Saturday

May 3 2014

From 30 to 60 minute service

(213)

(1,439)

66 Winston

Weekday

Apr 28 2014

Route discontinued and replaced with modified Route 71 Melran

(2,680)

(11,844)

203 Maple Grove iXpress

 

Weekday

Apr 28 2014

Introduce new route from the Cambridge Centre to Sportsworld via Franklin Boulevard and Maple Grove Road, operating every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

9,349

44,000

Weekday

Sep 2 2014

Extend service during peak periods to Conestoga College Doon and Cambridge Campuses

NET TOTAL

4,458

17,659

What I said in response to Mayor Halloran about the City of Waterloo’s Support for LRT

I am so tired of Mayor Halloran and some people saying that the City of Waterloo does not support LRT. I grew up in Waterloo and often my kids say to me “Do you know everybody, Mom?”

At least four of the delegations tonight who are for the LRT are from the City of Waterloo. The universities, including urban planning and engineering professors support the LRT. Of course the University students support LRT. Sitting in the audience tonight are representatives of the B.I.A. which supports LRT. Most of the City councillors support the LRT.

I have letters from high tech Waterloo companies who support the LRT. Communitech supports the LRT. I have had many letters and comments from my constituents that they support the LRT. Yes, even when I went door to door in 2010, I met people who supported the LRT.

My City of Waterloo includes the people who support the LRT.