np for the part that goes through Waterloo, it's tough to say what the better option is. The rail corridor has UW and employment at the RT park, but the other routes have a higher reurbanization potential
I'd support the rail corridor through Waterloo. It goes through all the juicy bits like UW, uptown Waterloo, downtown Kitchener and the research park. The only thing it really misses is Laurier - but that's probably a 300 m walk down Seagram Drive - and Grand River Hospital, which is not very far, either.
It's far cheaper than building down King street and probably much faster, too.
Rapid transit has been on the radar for Waterloo region for quite a long time. If they press hard enough, I think this will eventually get built.
One alignment that is missing is one through the derelict lands between Charles and King north of Sterling Avenue. It would hit the south end of downtown Kitchener (Farmerâ€™s Market) and get around the busier part of King St, and would support revitalization of that general area, which is pretty nasty. These lands did have an early Grand River Railway alignment, which lasted as a spur for a while longer when the Rockway diversion was built.
Otherwise, Iâ€™d also support the rail line alignment from Uptown Waterloo, then use King Street or Caroline/Park Avenue down to Charles St Terminal, then King-Highway 8 from Sterling down to Fairview Park. Iâ€™m not sure yet if it makes sense to go to Cambridge yet, but it will, partly for political reasons. Improved route 52 frequencies and all-day express buses through Preston and Galt would be sufficient, plus a Hespeler-Fairview Park route, which I think is already badly lacking in GRTâ€™s network.
I'm just about to read the study, but I can say with confidence that the best route is up King through Downtown Kitchener to Waterloo, then along the rail corridor past UW to the Research Park, and then northeast to Conestoga Mall. It should definitely go as far south as Fairview Mall, but no further in the short term. Extending it to Cambridge really makes no sense, but politics will likely necessitate it. South of Uptown Waterloo, King Street is the best route, serving the hospital, Clarica, KCI, and the North Ward residential neighbourhood, all far bigger trip generators than my neighbourhood.
I'll upload some pictures soon. UW is building its pharmacy building at Victoria and King, once touted as a convention centre and intermodal VIA/bus/LRT station. There should definitely be a stop for the LRT around there.
UW's architecture faculty is an amazing building, nice setting, but yes it is disconnected. I'm sure iXpress helps, but at 15/30 minutes rush/midday only, it needs more. Like I say, Cambridge would be well served by frequent buses to Galt (express and local), Preston and Hespeler.
As Peter Gzowski (a Galt native) said, no one is from Cambridge, you're from Galt, Preston or Hespeler.
Hespeler really gets the short end of the stick in that arrangement - they really should have a direct bus, and not force the transfer through Preston to get to Kitchener, or even Toyota.
You must have missed the years-long Ottawa LRT saga...
I don't necessarily oppose the idea of building it to Cambridge if that's what's politically required. I also think that anything that ties Cambridge closer to Kitchener-Waterloo is a good thing. It certainly isn't going to be terribly well used, though, south of Fairview Mall. From that mall up to Conestoga, it will be very popular, though I can see many people not liking the dramatically reduced frequency of stops. The King Street alignment from Downtown Kitchener to Uptown Waterloo is a must, and from there the rail corridor is best, with a jump over in the hydro corridor to Conestoga Mall. South of the King and Montgomery stop, Weber might not be such a bad alignment if it includes a stop in the HiWay Market or even Charcoal Steak House area. It could be quite popular. If, as the map suggests, there will be no stop between King and Montgomery and Fairview Mall, the Highway 8 alignment is obviously better. I think it's a damned shame that they didn't plan this simultaneously with the Highway 8 widening. They could have done all the work at once.
My only concern with the suggested uptown route, it would miss Laurier's main campus, which I think despite its smaller enrollment, generates more ridership than UW because of its U-PASS and less of its population lives on campus. Although if things go well for UW's referendum, that could change.
I think that a route past the U of W campus is best, not just because of its greater size. More Laurier students do live off campus, but most of them are in the Regina and Hazel area student ghettos, not really useful for the light rail line. Laurier students are also more able to walk to local services like restaurants and bars, while U of W students are farther away and therefore more likely to take transit. Even if the U of W referendum doesn't pass now, I think that I new light rail line should turn that around in a few years.
As much as anything, the Rail Corridor/U of W route would be faster than King Street. I might also consider adding stops at Albert McCormick to serve that neighbourhood and maybe even the rec centre/Waterloo Park.