Approximately 50 people attended the Transit Hub meeting at Kitchener Council Chambers on Thursday November 28. Staff from Metrolinx, Region of Waterloo and City of Kitchener gave a brief presentation (also linked above), which set the stage for a Question & Answer session with residents.
It’s always difficult to interpret the information on a slide presentation if you were not able to attend but the notes below were collected from various neighbourhood residents who did attend. NOTE: I missed the presentation so these are not my notes, but a compilation from others.
Transit Hub Meeting Notes
- the purpose of this preliminary meeting was to introduce neighbours to some of the transit hub initial planning needs, challenges and steps and start gathering neighbourhood feedback
- the first phase of development to focus on transit related buildings to consolidate GO, VIA, GRT and other inter-city buses
- commercial/retail/housing builds will be second stage following the transit build
- HOWEVER, community space will be included in phase 1 of the development
- the Region indicated that the preliminary plans acknowledge the need to create a showcase development at Victoria/King. They are expecting that the transit hub will create a more creative and welcoming entrance to midtown
- there are restrictions along the rail corridor, with platforms bookended by King & Duke, which are not enough to accommodate a 12-car GO train (Transport Canada regulations require a minimum distance for trains arrival & departure)
- as a result, the preferred option proposed by Region and Metrolinx is to close Duke Street (from Breithaupt to Victoria)
- pedestrian/cyclist access through Waterloo Street AND Duke Street was raised by several people and acknowledged as likely infrastructure to be developed
- there might be a larger parking lot in the first phase but the final hub will have ~100 spots (the intention is to encourage people to take transit TO the hub rather than driving to it)
- residents raised issues and need for clarification on how the transit hub will integrate with walking trails, pedestrian access, cycling trails in the neighbourhood (i.e. connection to the Spur Line, fixing cycling paths adjacent to the Hub on King/Victoria, connection to the proposed Station Park path along the CN line)
- other residents raised concern about how the design will recognize the industrial heritage of the area including the integration of the Rumpel Felt property/building
- the Region indicated that the Rumpel Felt building is a designated heritage building and will be incorporated into the overall site design
- Metrolinx is planning on conducting a traffic study in the area from Weber to King bounded by Wellington to the north and Young Street to the south.
- many residents asked them to expand the area of the study beyond Weber – particularly due to the current traffic patterns on Wellington.
- construction on the transit hub will start in Spring 2021
There were many more comments on traffic and parking but the majority of comments were on the potential closure of Duke Street. Combined with the closure of Waterloo Street, residents on the north side of Victoria are concerned about being a “landlocked island” with the closure of Duke Street. Residents are reiterating that the underground pedestrian access on Waterloo Street proposed with the original plans is a significant priority on any design. They also reiterated that the closure of Duke would necessitate a pedestrian crossing on Duke to Victoria.
Provide your feedback
You are encouraged to give your feedback whether or not you were able to attend the presentation and meeting. All comments should be submitted by December 31st.
Feedback can include:
- Do you require further information regarding transit projects in your community?
- What ideas or suggestions do you have to minimize any impacts you think transit infrastructure might have in your neighbourhood?
- What more can the City of Kitchener, the Region of Waterloo and/or Metrolinx do to address any concerns of neighbouring residents?
- Any other comments are welcome
You can send you comments to any/all of the following:
- Barry Cronkite, Director, Transportation Services, City of Kitchener Barry.Cronkite@kitchener.ca
- Ellen McGaghey, Project Director, Region of Waterloo EMcGaghey@regionofwaterloo.ca
- Leona Hollingsworth, Senior Manager, Community/Stakeholder Relations, Metrolinx – Leona.Hollingsworth@metrolinx.com
Additional information sessions will be held in January/February 2020, at which time there will be more detailed design plans and a more comprehensive project schedule.
- Catherine Thompson’s article in The Record: Waterloo Region transit hub will force closure of Duke Street
- Subscribe for updates from the Transit Hub page on the RoW website: Transit Hub