3 weeks left for feedback on LRT route into Cambridge
A vehicle for the Ion light rail transit system is seen in Kitchener on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (Dan Lauckner / CTV Kitchener)
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Friday, January 26, 2018 8:17AM EST
Three potential changes to the recommended LRT route into Cambridge are being put to the public for feedback for a few more weeks.
The Region of Waterloo is running a public survey to gauge opinions on the possible changes.
Planners have been working off of a preliminary preferred route, which was released last February. It would see vehicles use a corridor that includes Fairway Road, a to-be-constructed River Road extension, King Street East, Shantz Hill Road, Eagle Street, an existing rail corridor, Hespeler Road, another rail corridor and Beverly Street before ending up at the Ainslie Street terminal.
Stops have been proposed for Fairview Park Mall, the Sportsworld area, King and Eagle, near Eagle and Hespeler, Cambridge Centre Mall, Hespeler at Can-Amera Parkway, Hespeler at Avenue Road, and the Ainslie Street Terminal.
The proposed route has been met with some opposition, particularly from Eagle Street residents who do not want the line running down their street.
Based on public feedback to the preliminary proposed route, alternative routes are being explored for three sections of the line.
The list includes Preston, where planners looked for alternative ways of getting vehicles between Highway 401 and the Eagle/Hespeler area.
The area is complicated by the necessity of crossing Highway 401 and the Speed River, as well as the already traffic-choked area around King and Fountain streets.
More than a dozen possible alternatives are being considered in that area, including several which would see light rail vehicles bypass some or all of Eagle.
Also being considered are alternative pathways from Hespeler Road to the Galt core. There are two components to these alternatives, with one focused on getting vehicles between Dundas and Main streets (either by running them down the middle of Beverly, turning Beverly one-way and running LRT vehicles on the side, or rebuilding a railway along Mill Creek) and the other in downtown Galt (where options include running vehicles along Wellington Street to the Ainslie Street terminal, running them along Wellington and Bruce streets to a new terminal near Water Street, and running them along Wellington to a new terminal near Concession Road).
The third alternative option would see Highway 8 replace King Street East as the way to get light rail vehicles through the Freeport area, which planners say would decrease travel times without significantly affecting the accessibility of the network.
Building the LRT expansion with the preliminary preferred route is expected to cost $1.25 billion, if it happens between 2025 and 2028. The region is expected to ask the provincial and federal governments to cover some or all of the cost.
The survey is open until Feb. 16. Feedback from it will be taken into account before a final preferred route is presented to the public this spring. That route will then be subjected to another round of public feedback before it is passed to regional councillors for approval.