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A little retrospective .. and over in Waterloo, LRT wins.

By shost at 4:03 pm on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I remember back in 2006 when we started this site – we polled the municipal candidates in Waterloo, Guelph and Acton on the future potential of GO transit in this area  - posted the results here – and helped educate the public on the potential of GO transit in our region – at the time no one spoke of it or was aware it was even on the table. LRT was still in the early stages – and look how far we’ve come. I’m glad TRITAG has taken the cause for pro-transit in Waterloo region – and I’ll try not to duplicate what they advocate for – (check them out – a great effort!)

Speaking of how far some have come – I’ll also mention that my friend and former co-hort that helped drive GOKW.ORG in 2006 – David Graham – has won his name on the next Federal Election ballot in St. Agathe, QC by winning the Liberal Party nomination. Way to go David! David moved back out there years ago (and divides his time in Ottawa) to continue his political career with obviously great success. Good luck David!

So back to Waterloo – It’s full steam ahead for the Waterloo region LRT project – Ken Seiling wins by a comparable margin against the anti-LRT Aissa.  In an election that stood as a form of referendum on LRT versus no LRT – Waterloo region residents clearly chose the former – and I’m quite happy they did. LRT will funnel traffic to/from GO Trains in the city and provide a level of transit integration only equaled in Toronto (Until other LRT projects come on board).. Good job, Waterloo — now for the 4 years of construction pain and related road closures.

Most importantly – with Waterloo LRT proceeding with no political opposition – other LRT projects that are being considered – namely Hamilton, Missussauga (Brampton) can continue to look at Waterloo as the positive bellweather for what may be in store should they also choose the LRT path.

By the time LRT construction is completed there will be four trains/day in and out of Waterloo – what are the chances we’ll have reverse commuting trains to connect to the LRT from Toronto? Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

At the end of the day – we still have major highway projects on the books, as well as major transit expansions. My goal is to see more balanced forms of transportation, including options for inter-city commuting and travel. We’re a far ways from achieveing our goal provincially, but in this region, we’re almost there!

- Steve

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New Highway 7 finally announced — wait for it — $300M and..

By shost at 9:33 am on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The province is surprisingly moving ahead with a new highway 7 – connecting the bustling Metropolis of Guelph with the growing (up, not out) metropolis of Waterloo Region. Soon you’ll have a four lane, divided and fully grade separated journey through farmlands of Guelph and Woolwich Townships (Ripe for development once the OMB gets their paws on it  - More Wal-Marts, Boston Pizza’s, Canadian Tires and Hotels).

YAY! I’m so happy! I can’t wait for Waterloo region residents looking to take a short-cut to the 401 through Guelph – wait for it – only to be stopped by the red lights at Guelph’s NON GRADE SEPERATED intersections. That’s right – your new, 100 KM/H highway will basically ‘end’ in Guelph where you’ll be subject to the same stop and go intersections, 70 KM/H speed limits (80 elsewhere). Hence, for $300 million, TEN TIMES the price of GO service to Guelph, Acton and Kitchener, you’ll have essentially a highway to a non-highway. It’ll cost another $200 million to finish grade separations in Guelph – when? 2030? Will it ever happen? Or is the province dreaming that they’ll finish Highway 407 west through the escarpment down to milton bypassing Guelph?

The new highway is to be completed to Guelph and Kitchener by 2020. Mayor (re-elect) Craig: $300 million would have brought GO service to Cambridge, with $200 million left over to fund the LRT project from Fairway Mall to Cambridge.

The only sane reason I see this project going ahead is to avoid the widening of HWY 401 from HWY 24 to HWY 8 in Cambridge/Kitchener – which itself is about a $100-200M job (due to river and railway rights of way that require a sort of land-bridge, expensive to re-create and widen in an environmentally sensitive area)

Then again – is anything sane with the province’s decisions? Comment below.

Link to Guelph Mercury article: http://www.guelphmercury.com/news-story/4943888-work-on-new-guelph-kitchener-highway-7-to-begin-this-spring/

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