There's still wiggle room in the Region of Waterloo's LRT plans for Cambridge

The Region of Waterloo has unveiled its latest draft of plans for stage two of ION light rail transit, but staff want to hear from residents about several sections of the route.
This overview maps out several different options stage two of Region of Waterloo's Ion LRT could take into Cambridge. See images below for more detail. (Region of Waterloo)

The Region of Waterloo has unveiled its latest plans for stage two of ION light rail transit. 

The second phase of Waterloo region's rapid transit project has been several years in the making. The region decided to tackle the 16 km route from Fairview Park Mall to Conestoga Mall first in stage one, before connecting Cambridge.

When the region began work on stage one, it created a bus rapid transit service between Kitchener and Cambridge, a route that will be replaced by stage two of the ION system.

Possible and 'endorsed' stops, routes

All routes contain eight "endorsed" stops at Fairway, Sportsworld, Preston, Pinebush, Cambridge Centre Mall, Can-Amera, Delta and Ainslie Street Terminal. These were decided by regional council in 2011.

There remain three areas up for debate: 

1. The route between the Fairway and Sportsworld stations, of which there are three possible options (K1-K3).

2. The route between Sportsworld and Pinebush stations, of which there are five possible options (N1-N2, N4-N6)

This map centres on the area between Kitchener and North Cambridge. Red circles represent 'endorsed' LRT stops, white circles indicate potential LRT stops. The solid red line shows the 'endorsed' route, and the dashed red line indicates a possible alternative route. (Region of Waterloo)
3. Between Can-Amera and Ainslie Street Terminal, of which there are three possible options.
This map shows option one for South Cambridge. Red circles represent 'endorsed' LRT stops, white circles indicate potential LRT stops. The solid red line shows the 'endorsed' route, and the dashed red line indicates a possible alternative route. The green sections represent possible future GO stations. (Region of Waterloo)
This map shows option two for South Cambridge. (Region of Waterloo)
This map shows option three for South Cambridge. (Region of Waterloo)

According to the region's own public consultation documents, the three possible routes were devised based on two criteria. 

They would:

  1. Connect potential stops in a relatively direct manner to minimize transit travel times and delays.
  2. Minimize the potential disruption through environmentally sensitive areas and mature, stable neighbourhoods

Strike pushes back public consultations

On Tuesday, the Region of Waterloo announced it was rescheduling public consultations on the draft route, citing ongoing labour negotiations. They were originally planned for mid-February, but now will be at the end of the February and early March. 

The new dates and locations are: 

  • Thursday, Feb. 23 – 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Lions Arena (Hall), 20 Rittenhouse Rd, Kitchener.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 28 – 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Kin Club of Cambridge, 1400 Hamilton St., Cambridge.
  • Wednesday, March 1 – 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Newfoundland Club, 1500 Dunbar Rd., Cambridge.

The region said there would be a second round of public consultations in late 2017, after which a preferred route will be chosen and sent to regional council.

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