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Ion Light Rail (Kitchener-Waterloo) & King/Victoria Transit Terminal

Streety McCarface

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I do believe the ION goes beyond the fact that the streets in Kitchener are not a grid. It jumps back and forth between many rights of ways and other streets. It is obvious that public input and nimbyism has pushed the LRT to go around many areas and obstacles. Its not like it follows one road that is windy.
It doesn't have that much to do with nimbyism. The fact of the matter is that the most important ridership generators, especially at the north end, are not in a straight line from each other.

Dan
More importantly, the Region wanted to save a boatload of money building this thing, so building on ex-freight ROWs really saved money from a property expropriation perspective.
 

Streety McCarface

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They didn't have concession roads lining up in nice little squares like the GTA did. The Concession system is much more fractured in the area, making planners peice together and build new arterial roads.

Compare to the GTA, where the main arterials are just upgraded concession roads from the 1840's.

I find it interesting how the density of the concession grid is often a pretty good indicator of how bad traffic is in an area in the GTA. Scarborough has pretty light arterial road traffic because it's concession grid is considerably denser, meaning more capacity overall. compare to York Region, which has massive concession grids, and the congestion is way worse.

Brampton too. Concession grids are 1.4x3km, but they have mostly built new arterial roads to break up the 3km distance, making an effective grid of 1.4x1.5km. Compare to York Region's 2.1x2.1km.. you end up with an effective arterial road grid that has double the capacity.
There are definitely quirks to it, do not get me wrong, but it certainly makes running any sort of transit system here a pain, since routes do not line up well, finding common termini are a pain, schedules can't easily be coordinated, and the routing rapid transit is both inefficient and expensive.
 

tmlittle

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It's unfortunate to hear about J&B, since downtown desperately needs more grocery locations, and can be a bit of a food desert. I'm guessing the place that's supposed to open in the ground floor of that Madison-King-Cameron-Charles block development will help since it'll have more floor area than basically any retail downtown, but that's also right next to New City and the market, and south of them -- pretty saturated. I'm guessing people in midtown (as I'm assuming you are) mostly go to Central Fresh. One of the things I feel Kitchener needs in order to have a strong urban residential lifestyle is more mid-sized neighbourhood grocery stores and to get away from the Weston's/Loblaws monolithic chain dominance, but that's a tough prospect when a lot of people attracted to areas like downtown probably eat out more often than not, and aren't cooking for a family. That said these things do reinforce each other, and it would be great to see a lot of the younger people moving into downtown stick around and help anchor a variety of businesses and not just restaurants.

Generally, though, the way it is routed has more to do with the paucity of big trip generators, and the desire to take advantage of existing rights-of-way. It doesn't follow one road not because some NIMBYs on that road resisted it, but because it would miss relatively big destinations.
This in a nutshell, in theory the ION could have taken King Street for its whole length and ignored the freight corridors, but this would have been punishingly slow and delivered no real service advantages over doing BRT with articulated buses. A lot of the wonky portions are due to getting on and off of the freight corridors, such as by Mill or Northfield. That said I am sympathetic to the critics of the one-way stations and loops, as I think TriTAG pointed out years ago that just biting the bullet and having two-way traffic on routes like Borden might have been better even if it closed the street permanently. If we're going to talk NIMBYism and especially about Stage 2 we should consider why the ION Stage 2 route avoids the CP corridor so pathologically, but happily runs next to the CN corridor and along the street -- the freight operators can be the biggest NIMBYs around.

Wondering if the developers are eyeing all that empty parking spaces next to the stations, ripe for development. It would be better if the people walking to their cars or transferring vehicles in general, pass by retail stores along the way. See link.
If you look at the proposed plans a lot of areas are shaded in pink as being marked for future redevelopment, and I imagine a finalized Stage 2 route will see a similar land rush as what happened with Stage 1. Cambridge desperately needs transit-oriented development and I imagine if Stage 2 does end up with its 2028 date, by that point we will already see some higher density along the future corridor.
 

jordanmkasla2009

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It's unfortunate to hear about J&B, since downtown desperately needs more grocery locations, and can be a bit of a food desert. I'm guessing the place that's supposed to open in the ground floor of that Madison-King-Cameron-Charles block development will help since it'll have more floor area than basically any retail downtown, but that's also right next to New City and the market, and south of them -- pretty saturated. I'm guessing people in midtown (as I'm assuming you are) mostly go to Central Fresh. One of the things I feel Kitchener needs in order to have a strong urban residential lifestyle is more mid-sized neighbourhood grocery stores and to get away from the Weston's/Loblaws monolithic chain dominance, but that's a tough prospect when a lot of people attracted to areas like downtown probably eat out more often than not, and aren't cooking for a family. That said these things do reinforce each other, and it would be great to see a lot of the younger people moving into downtown stick around and help anchor a variety of businesses and not just restaurants.



This in a nutshell, in theory the ION could have taken King Street for its whole length and ignored the freight corridors, but this would have been punishingly slow and delivered no real service advantages over doing BRT with articulated buses. A lot of the wonky portions are due to getting on and off of the freight corridors, such as by Mill or Northfield. That said I am sympathetic to the critics of the one-way stations and loops, as I think TriTAG pointed out years ago that just biting the bullet and having two-way traffic on routes like Borden might have been better even if it closed the street permanently. If we're going to talk NIMBYism and especially about Stage 2 we should consider why the ION Stage 2 route avoids the CP corridor so pathologically, but happily runs next to the CN corridor and along the street -- the freight operators can be the biggest NIMBYs around.



If you look at the proposed plans a lot of areas are shaded in pink as being marked for future redevelopment, and I imagine a finalized Stage 2 route will see a similar land rush as what happened with Stage 1. Cambridge desperately needs transit-oriented development and I imagine if Stage 2 does end up with its 2028 date, by that point we will already see some higher density along the future corridor.
The Stage 2 route actually uses an abandoned CP line to avoid Eagle St. CP wasn't willing to come to the table with respect to sharing their active corridor but was perfectly willing to part ways with their long abandoned section. Additionally, not using the CP corridor has the benefit of more convenient locations for Sportsworld Station and Preston Station.
 

jamincan

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I think there's also a big distinction between the old downtown street system which was planned in a radial continental European style, and the later suburban arterial roads planned in the 50s and 60s. The former are distinctly car unfriendly and great for pedestrians, the latter are a pedestrian nightmare as the high speeds and gradual curves make it harder to cross safely, as trees, bushes, and noise barriers often obstruct drivers' vision. The old streets, in contrast, are basically always straight, but have frequent angled intersections, which are dangerous with cars around, but less prone to high speed collisions that kill people.
A mildly interesting exercise is to identify all the five-point intersections in KW. None really exist anymore as the city has adjusted them to only be four-ways, but you can still follow the streets and see where they were. It's also very much a feature of Kitchener and not Waterloo or Cambridge.
 

tmlittle

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A mildly interesting exercise is to identify all the five-point intersections in KW. None really exist anymore as the city has adjusted them to only be four-ways, but you can still follow the streets and see where they were. It's also very much a feature of Kitchener and not Waterloo or Cambridge.
Yeah, it's really unfortunate because in a bunch of cases all they've done is turn one intersection into two and actually made it more complicated.
 

MidtownKW

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It's unfortunate to hear about J&B, since downtown desperately needs more grocery locations, and can be a bit of a food desert. I'm guessing the place that's supposed to open in the ground floor of that Madison-King-Cameron-Charles block development will help since it'll have more floor area than basically any retail downtown, but that's also right next to New City and the market, and south of them -- pretty saturated. I'm guessing people in midtown (as I'm assuming you are) mostly go to Central Fresh. One of the things I feel Kitchener needs in order to have a strong urban residential lifestyle is more mid-sized neighbourhood grocery stores and to get away from the Weston's/Loblaws monolithic chain dominance, but that's a tough prospect when a lot of people attracted to areas like downtown probably eat out more often than not, and aren't cooking for a family. That said these things do reinforce each other, and it would be great to see a lot of the younger people moving into downtown stick around and help anchor a variety of businesses and not just restaurants.
You assume correctly that I'm in Midtown, and I personally feed my family mostly with groceries bought at Central, but my streetcar suburb is mostly occupied by people who drive a lot, so I would guess that most of the neighbourhood's grocery dollars probably get spent at a Loblaw or Empire store. I'm in strong agreement with your points about the need for more mid-sized grocery stores, and maybe one in the west end of downtown. A greater diversity of new inhabitants downtown (i.e. more than just singles at DINKs) would help attract a greater diversity of business types.

Ion's one-way loops downtown and uptown are really unfortunate. I'm not convinced that they were politically necessary, but I guess it is possible that closing King (say) to vehicular traffic would have attracted the right voices in opposition to kill the project. Stage 2 is similarly going to be an "art of the possible" type routing that will sacrifice some utility in order to minimize opposition, and that's probably okay. Hopefully Ion is obviously successful enough that, by the time we embark on Stage 3 on University of Victoria or wherever, it doesn't have to be as watered down.
 

tmlittle

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You assume correctly that I'm in Midtown, and I personally feed my family mostly with groceries bought at Central, but my streetcar suburb is mostly occupied by people who drive a lot, so I would guess that most of the neighbourhood's grocery dollars probably get spent at a Loblaw or Empire store. I'm in strong agreement with your points about the need for more mid-sized grocery stores, and maybe one in the west end of downtown. A greater diversity of new inhabitants downtown (i.e. more than just singles at DINKs) would help attract a greater diversity of business types.

Ion's one-way loops downtown and uptown are really unfortunate. I'm not convinced that they were politically necessary, but I guess it is possible that closing King (say) to vehicular traffic would have attracted the right voices in opposition to kill the project. Stage 2 is similarly going to be an "art of the possible" type routing that will sacrifice some utility in order to minimize opposition, and that's probably okay. Hopefully Ion is obviously successful enough that, by the time we embark on Stage 3 on University of Victoria or wherever, it doesn't have to be as watered down.
I agree the loops were a bit unfortunate. What I see as a shame in Cambridge is all the road widening planned to preserve car lanes -- within a few decades I think a lot of naive boosters eager to placate suburbanites will find that you just can't have your cake and eat it too, and building higher order transit in the middle of surface lots depresses ridership unless you redevelop the area. Even the proposed University Ave rebuild the city of Waterloo is so proud of doesn't really reduce car lanes. At some point people need to give up the ghost and admit that car friendly roads are mutually exclusive with getting serious about transit and active transportation.
 

micheal_can

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I agree the loops were a bit unfortunate. What I see as a shame in Cambridge is all the road widening planned to preserve car lanes -- within a few decades I think a lot of naive boosters eager to placate suburbanites will find that you just can't have your cake and eat it too, and building higher order transit in the middle of surface lots depresses ridership unless you redevelop the area. Even the proposed University Ave rebuild the city of Waterloo is so proud of doesn't really reduce car lanes. At some point people need to give up the ghost and admit that car friendly roads are mutually exclusive with getting serious about transit and active transportation.
Maybe that is what we will see; some of those areas with new higher density buildings due to the LRT demand.
 

Reecemartin

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It seems ION is running way more smoothly that Ottawa
Kitchener was thinking ahead when implementing rail transit, Ottawa is behind.

View attachment 212563

This is what it's like around 5 pm headed southbound just south of Laurier-Waterloo Park station. It's like this around 12-2 pm as well from what I've seen (maybe a little less people). Almost crush load?
Great to see the trains getting lots of use, as more people ride the demand for 2 car trains and other upgrades will only increase. It will also likely lead to some more densification along the route which will be great.
 

micheal_can

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Kitchener was thinking ahead when implementing rail transit, Ottawa is behind.
I think it has more of the attitude that they wanted to get it into service as quick as possible. Their problem seems to be not enough trains. Had they waited till they got enough, then maybe these issues would not have happened.
 

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