Transit corridor will be easily reached by walkers and cyclists, planner says

Not for the first time, the Cardinal has had to question the decisions ofAi?? provincial transit planners; BC & now Ontario.

In the

David Fields, a transit-planningAi?? consultant with Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, told a daylong workshop in Kitchener Tuesday the experience with other light rail lines clearly demonstrates that people are willing to walk for five or 10 minutes, or ride a bicycle for four or five kilometres, to get to a station. I’m sorry Mr Fields but your going to have to do better than that, experience shows that especially in North America the public will baulk at walking more than two blocks to a transit stop and will grab their car keys.

It is imperative that a newAi??train, Tram/LRT, bus or BRT transit
is designed to serve all key trip generators and residential centres reducing walking & cycling durations and times to as little as possible.–transit-corridor-will-be-easily-reached-by-walkers-and-cyclists-planner-says

WATERLOO REGION ai??i?? The $818-million rapid transit system that will run along the urban spine of three local cities can be quickly accessed by the overwhelming majority of people in the region by walking or cycling, says a New York City transit planner.

David Fields, a transit-planning consultant with Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, told a daylong workshop in Kitchener Tuesday the experience with other light rail lines clearly demonstrates that people are willing to walk for five or 10 minutes, or ride a bicycle for four or five kilometres, to get to a station.

ai???We can just about get everybody to the corridor if we think in those terms,ai??? Fields said.

Fieldsai??i?? firm has helped prepare strategies for community building around major investments of public transit in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and New York City. Nelson\Nygaard is among a trio of consulting firms the region has hired to develop a strategy for the local light rail project.

Fields and other transit planners find residentsai??i?? willingness to walk and bike exciting because it means the central transit corridor is not just for people living just a few blocks away. With better infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, the majority of people living in Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge will be able to access the stations.

ai???The best cities are the ones where people donai??i??t think about their transportation,ai??? Fields said.

Sidewalks need to be installed in some areas leading to and from stations. The streets must be well lit at night, pleasing to look at and take the most direct route, Fields said.

On-road bike lanes, off-road bike trails, secure storage areas, air pumps, water fountains and smooth ramps beside stairs for rolling bikes up are good ideas too, Fields said.

The bus system needs to change from doing loops through suburban areas, to a grid system that includes several high-frequency corridors that cross the rail corridor.

Other connections are needed as well, the workshop heard. Daisy Arseneault is a strong supporter of light rail transit but she wants to see connections between the Walter Bean Grand River Trail and the central transit corridor before trains start rolling in 2017.

ai???A big criticism of the LRT coming in is that it does not connect us to these beautiful trails,ai??? Arseneault said at Tuesdayai??i??s workshop on how the new transit system can improve mobility in the region.

For the planners and transit supporters at the workshop, mobility is all about freely using several ways of getting around ai??i?? walking, cycling, riding transit or driving a car.

Arseneault, a Waterloo mother of three young children, would like the light rail line connected to the riverside trails by buses, bike lanes, bike trails or pedestrian walkways.

She was among the more than 25 participants, including planners, cyclists, transit supporters and residents who talked about what needs to be done to help people walk, cycle, ride buses or drive to one of the 23 stations that will dot the 36-kilometre long corridor.

Arseneault also noted RIM Park, the biggest recreation complex in the region, is isolated from the transit corridor.

The workshops continue Wednesday with invited stakeholders, but on Thursday members of the public can drop into the storefront office set up at 220 King St. W. in front of Kitchener City Hall from 3 to 7 p.m. to share ideas.

There are six stations that will need special attention, because multiple modes of travel converge there, including Conestoga Mall, Fairview Park mall, Sportsworld and the central station at King and Victoria streets.

By 2017 the region plans to have light trains running from Conestoga Mall to Fairview Park mall. Rapid buses will run from Fairview Park mall into Cambridge. The system will cost an estimated $818 million, and the mobility workshops are part of planning how to use that investment to strengthen the communities along the central transit corridor.

Melanie Hare, an urban planner leading the development of the community building strategy, said there are some important questions all residents can think about ai??i?? and then share their answers ai??i?? by going online to the in the coming months.

Those questions include: What destinations are important to you? How do you get there now? Is there traffic congestion, disconnected trails or no bus service? What are the key routes? What are the opportunities?

ai???We want to enhance downtown Hespeler, the Cambridge Business Park and Conestoga College with mobility options connected to light rail transit,ai??? Hare said. ai???This is really about how do we make communities healthy,

Some of the biggest challenges are at key points long the corridor ai??i?? Conestoga Mall, Fairview Park mall, Sportsworld and the power centre on Hespeler Road.

The owners must be persuaded to put in place infrastructure to support cyclists and pedestrians getting to and from the stations, said Alain Pinnard, head of planning at the City of Kitchener.

Jason Schreiber, a transit consultant with Nelson\Nygaard, said those properties will see tremendous increases in value as a result of the transit plan and that should be incentive enough for them to make improvements. If not, the region may have to consider other incentives or land swaps, Schreiber said.

The business parks that will be serviced by the transit corridor currently have little or no infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. That will have to change if workers are expected to ride the light trains and buses to the Sportsworld station, and then walk or cycle into the Cambridge Business Park.


One Response to “Transit corridor will be easily reached by walkers and cyclists, planner says”
  1. Insaf says:

    The experience of Boston has been one of ilsoation press coverage of our infamous and incompetent transit Authority has traditionaly been fawning, with occasional press release re-writes, although recently a reporter made the trek to actually ride it and what came back was realistically unfavourable. A tribute to opening ones eyes (and a little honest work).So in our ilsoation, few have heard from the residents along the bus’s service area, a majority of whom seem to feel the almost $2 Billion effort (so far) is a waste. Nobody noticed when the feds pulled their grant to pour even more into this mess-allegedly due to concerns over the fiscal stability of our mismanaged transit agency. (Well, the agency noticed. After lots of political maneuvering, the cash spigot will likely be turned back to full on .) Buses here still get stuck in traffic.. stuck at lights stuck in snow. Most recently, stuck in the agency’s own ineptness testing a new farebox system that’s so poorly done it takes much longer to board passengers, further slowing things down.Maybe we shouldn’t have a problem with a system of buses (touted as a line ), whose bus stops cost $250,000 each one. Small change when you consider the overall performance. And what’s that? Substandard, compared to the light rail system originally promised. Even our Boston Globe did the right thing a survey documenting for the first time that BRT (here) flops.BRT exists in other places and can work if done right. But unfortunately here in Boston, where our politics have strong parallels to the way organized crime operates, and where instead of a coordinated effort by all of government we’ve got one fifedom battling over the other for control, cash and power, and where people are put in charge based on favors owed not true leadership and management skills BRT like everything else becomes yet another costly failure.If you intend to do BRT, don’t follow our example. Use it as a template for avoiding the who, what, where, and how of our expensive and wasteful experience.