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Mayor Craig? What are you smoking? – Waterloo considering cancelling LRT?

By shost at 9:27 am on Friday, September 20, 2013

Places to Grow – MoveOntario2020 – these are the studies and buzzthiungs that pushed Ontario and Metrolinx to move quickly to add many transit options in GTHA and KW. An updated study by the Province paints a picture, that ignoring mass transit needs for ALL Ontario urban centres would be tantamount to a disaster in the making.

People – this report is a “wake up and smell the coffee” kind of moment – how are we going to transport, house, feed, entertain and employ all these people? We have a choice: Sprawl cities to twice current size and build hundreds of billions of $ in roads to match (sprawl approach) – or build up and build billions in transit systems and billions in road improvements to match (Balanced approach)

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/economy/demographics/projections/

From the “Ontario Population Projections Update” published in 2013:

“Ontario’s population is projected to grow by 28.6 per cent, or almost 3.9 million, over the next 24 years, from an estimated 13.5 million on July 1, 2012 to almost 17.4 million by July 1, 2036.”

“The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is projected to be the fastest growing region of the province, with its population increasing by 2.5 million, or 39.1 per cent, to reach over 8.9 million by 2036. The GTA’s share of provincial population is projected to rise from 47.6 per cent in 2012 to 51.5 per cent in 2036.”

“Net migration is projected to account for 71 per cent of all population growth in the province over the 2012–2036 period, with natural increase accounting for the remaining 29 per cent. ”

The population of (Kitchener-)Waterloo is expected to grow by 36.4 percent by 2036.

Mayor Craig, forever upset that he didn’t get GO Trains in Cambridge (which will still happen, eventually) or Light Rail Trains (Just bus, but again,trains will happen, eventually) is now pushing hard for Waterloo Regional Councillors to come up with the numbers to cancel the LRT system.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/cambridge-mayor-wants-formal-report-on-cost-of-cancelling-lrt-1.1703714

Mayor Craig – what are you smoking here, buddy? An extra 200,000 people are going to live in Waterloo Region (including Cambridge) by 2036 and 30, 40 years from now those numbers will only be substantially higher. One must invest in the future if population growth is to grow in a sustained, and orderly manner.

I shutter to think if the Waterloo LRT ‘Ion’ is cancelled, 20 years from now some politicians get together and admit the mistakes of the 2013 council and re-build a mass transit system at a substantial increase in costs all because ‘Places to Grow’ was right. Without the LRT Waterloo Region sprawl would quickly reach St. Jacobs and Elmira – can you imagine? You’d be like Mississauga is today (never-ending sprawl! ha ha ha!)

Cambridge – Now is not the time to get cold feet!

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Comment by Scott Ramsay

September 25, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

Thanks for adding a voice of reason to the topic. Waterloo Mayor, Brenda Haloran is owed some criticism as well for adding her voice to Mayor Craig’s on this crazy cancellation costing study.

I think we need to look to Calgary as a model for lrt development here in Waterloo Region. The city had a population comparable to that of Waterloo Region now when the C-Train was developped in the 1980s. With a number of tranit friendly policies the city was able to get people out of their cars and onto the train. We can have that kind of transit-friendly development now, or we can spend millions to scrap a process that is well underway and spend considerably more in 20 years time to start the whole process again.

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Comment by Al

December 17, 2013 @ 7:18 am

As a Cambridge taxpayer, Mayor Craig isn’t the only one upset. We are fed up with the preferential treatment given to KW at our expense. The priority now should be to get a guaranteed build date for phase two of LRT to Cambridge instead of trying to cancel it as I do support LRT. Priority should also be made to give Cambridge our GO train before the government commits to expansion of the Kitchener line.

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Comment by shost

December 19, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

Al – the problem lies in GO Train expansion from Milton to Cambridge – it only supports Cambridge – there are no other towns en-route that would substantially use a GO train since it’s almost entirely within the Greenbelt. Furthermore, it’s a Canadian Pacific mainline, a very busy one, and you would require double tracking and CTC between Guelph Junction and Cambridge – at about 15 miles – the cost of the project, with layover station, track upgrades, and station construction would be well into $100 million. Not to mention the addition of two trains from Cambridge and how it increases traffic on a busy line, CP can and may demand additional capacity increases before it would be approved.

Compare that to the Acton/Guelph/Kitchener – little to no track work, three stations, one layover facility, total cost $18 million.

It doesn’t take rocket science to see that ‘priority’ is being given where it’s less expensive to do so, on a ‘incremental’ basis, and where there is more population to serve.

As much as it makes sense to extend service to Cambridge, it will be very expensive and ultimately, you the taxpayers of Cambridge will have to pay for it. Will you?

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