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ION Phase 2 - Cambridge's Light Rail Transit
02-21-2017, 03:47 PM
There isn't really much left that *can* be intensified in Preston near the LRT route. A couple infill projects near Eagle, the Preston Springs redevelopment, but not much else. Most of the prospects for redevelopment are farther south near Bishop, not close to the river.
02-21-2017, 09:33 PM
It certainly *can* be intensified, as long as we are open to removing some single-family dwellings and replacing them with some higher density. But if that's taboo, then I do agree that it will pretty much stay what it is today, and there isn't much point putting a stop there.
02-22-2017, 08:58 AM
Except to serve all the people who are living in them. Why should they be discriminated against?
It's not like this is a suburban neighbourhood filled with large blocks and car friendly streets. Preston is a mature neighbourhood of generally well-maintained Victorian houses. Why demolish them? Shall we demolish the houses near Victoria Park while we're at it?
02-22-2017, 09:44 AM
We make transit stops based on current and future intended density, and you'll usually see this expressed as jobs and residents per hectare (UpTown Waterloo is ~200). There is no "discrimination" taking place against the people of Preston or Hespeler or Galt or Cambridge, it's all about a business case. LRT was first built from Conestoga to Fairview and not Fairview to Ainslie (roughly equal length, equal price segments) because more than 4 times as many transit trips were taken in the former compared to the latter, making it the obvious wise investment.
Similarly, stop locations are chosen based (very clearly repeated in councillors' words) on potential land use changes, specifically intensification and densification. The four evaluation metrics considered for stop selection were the transportation effects (e.g. ability to work with an active transportation network, potential ridership, engineering challenges and costs), the Social/Cultural environment (e.g. non-personal residence locations served, heritage impacts, help to active transportation), Natural Environment (and the impacts on it), and Economic Environment (ability to intensify, create jobs). Based on these metrics, the only "You need transportation here" victory for the Preston route was intensification potential. If we remove that potential, then there is zero reason to develop LRT through Preston. It's hilarious, too, in that "knocks" against the alternative routes were that they would not intensify Preston, so not only does a no-development attitude hurt the Preston route's justification, but it helps the alternatives.
Well-maintained Victorian houses are nice, but when I hear that, it says to me that this area is one which should not be touched or changed, and hence it should not be touched or changed by LRT. There are indeed many old houses in Kitchener and UpTown, and I'm absolutely one who thinks it's a bit insane that fully one third of Downtown is untouchable heritage, but I'm also glad to see that we're getting 1Vic, the One Hundred, proposals for high density at King and Victoria, new density on the to-be-obsoleted Charles St Terminal. I'm glad that in neighbourhoods like those to the east of downtown, where residents surely appreciate the beautiful library or CITS, we also have very tall, dense apartment buildings which provide a massive affordability boost to hundreds of families. This is the kind of question we need to see Preston answer as we go through this process.
02-22-2017, 03:23 PM
I just find it a bit ridiculous that this is meant to get people living in downtown areas, but unless people are willing to let their heritage homes be demolished some people here see no reason to have it run here in the first place.
Looking at a map of King and Eagle, you've got four potential redevelopment sites at the intersection itself. The southeastern site where Tim's is could potentially be extended part or all the way down Eagle to the just finished building and all the way down to Dover (though I'd rather see the church stick around). Similar with the northwestern site, which could potentially be extended to the Argyle Arms/vet clinic.
The southwest corner would be a challenge because there's already an apartment farther down; whatever goes up would have to have a small footprint unless it has to come down to make room for the tracks. Taking out the Dairy Queen would likely be seen as an act of vandalism, so leaving it alone would be wise; that thing is super popular in the summer. The northeast corner is the biggest challenge but also the biggest opportunity. Take out the parking lot and build something with underground parking that also replaces the structure for the apartment tower. It has to come down for them to fit the LRT tracks through anyway; might as well reconfigure and use that last bit of land at the corner. Sparing the former Clare Brothers office would be a plus.
At King and Chopin you have the City Cafe/Keleher's/Beer store properties; across the road is the remaining undeveloped portion of the old toy factory that burned down. They're supposed to be making something park-like with it, but that's been planned for well over a decade and nothing's happened yet. In the other direction, the gas station and Bell Canada dispatcher building at King and Dover. You could also theoretically incorporate the parking lot, salon, and even the library building on the other side of King if you wanted to make something good, but you'd have to have a new library site first; demolishing that without an improved replacement will make people very unhappy.
And then there's the former Dover Flour Mills. I love having them there, but I can't see them lasting forever; too much of a traffic nightmare when their trucks are leaving, arriving, and lining up to the loading docks. Might make a good conversion once all the sheet metal extensions are taken down.
So there you go; eight potential sites right at King and Eagle and potentially only six houses demolished (possibly more of them facing Eagle to get the tracks in though). And most of the neighbourhood left alone. Sound like a good start?
02-22-2017, 03:29 PM
It sounds like a great start, if it gets that kind of reception from the people in the area. That's what I want to see. I'm not saying it's not there, but I definitely feel that reception tends to go the opposite way, something I'll gladly be wrong about, if necessary. I just fear a realistic scenario where the entire reason for a Preston stop is to intensify that area, and the entirety of local feedback is that no intensification should happen there.
Intensification is going to have be done very carefully here; the roads are at capacity (anyone driving through Preston after 3 in the afternoon can tell you that) and room for resident parking is pretty much nil. Between Waterloo Street Lowther you've got maybe half a dozen sites for redevelopment that won't touch something people want to hang onto, most of them parking lots. The effect light rail will have on spurring them will be limited, moreso south of Lowther.
The biggest redevelopment potential will be along Eagle heading towards Hespeler Road to fill in the holes made by whatever they demolish to fit the tracks in. I can't see anything going in the building overlooking the river, but there's a couple industrial buildings between the CP tracks and the hill that will likely be casualties of the grade separation. There's a specialty wood and veneer shop southwest of the tracks, but I kind of hope they get to stick around. Another church at the top of the hill that might have to come down, but otherwise only maybe one or two buildings of even the most remote architectural merit. The easiest way would probably be taking out the end houses on the south side of Eagle like they did with the Weber widening. Let market demand take care of the rest and potentially justify a station at Eagle and Concession in the future.
02-22-2017, 11:00 PM
(02-21-2017, 03:47 PM)DHLawrence Wrote: There isn't really much left that *can* be intensified in Preston near the LRT route. A couple infill projects near Eagle, the Preston Springs redevelopment, but not much else.
... and then later ...
(02-22-2017, 03:23 PM)DHLawrence Wrote: (...)
It seems that there is indeed intensification potential, if the city will accept it.
And I will note that there are a number of projects in Kitchener where homeowners have sold their single-family homes to a developer who is building medium-or high-density housing on a site built up of multiple lots. No one forced anyone to sell anything, though, each homeowner sold completely voluntarily.
02-23-2017, 06:43 AM
I don't think that "the roads are at capacity" is a very good argument against intensification, especially when we're talking about intensification driven by higher-order transit.
02-23-2017, 09:51 AM
(02-23-2017, 06:43 AM)MidTowner Wrote: I don't think that "the roads are at capacity" is a very good argument against intensification, especially when we're talking about intensification driven by higher-order transit.
It's the argument all the UpTown neighbourhoods make against development in their areas, a belief that despite all the empty parking lots (business and residential) in the area, the brownstones at Park and Allen, or 155, or the proposal for Alexandra, etc., will cause there to be a huge upswing of street parking users.
02-23-2017, 03:37 PM
We're talking about neighbourhoods implicated in Ion PhaseII. Just because some residents in some other neighbourhoods make that argument, doesn't mean it's a good one in Preston.
02-23-2017, 04:12 PM
It's a similar enough argument in a similar enough location that I'll consider it as foreshadowing. Mind you, it would be more likely to pop up in Preston, which is far less densified and intensified, than UpTown or other more urbanized LRT stop areas.
02-23-2017, 04:18 PM
02-23-2017, 10:42 PM
All roads in Preston are two-lane residential roads aside from the wider King and Eagle; not much room to allow for extra traffic. Not to mention that even with a grid pattern they all leads to King or Eagle at some point. Even before the construction King was at a standstill during the rush hour. Without finding a way to get through traffic from other parts of town elsewhere, there's not much room to add capacity.
02-27-2017, 10:12 AM
(02-23-2017, 10:42 PM)DHLawrence Wrote: All roads in Preston are two-lane residential roads aside from the wider King and Eagle; not much room to allow for extra traffic. Not to mention that even with a grid pattern they all leads to King or Eagle at some point. Even before the construction King was at a standstill during the rush hour. Without finding a way to get through traffic from other parts of town elsewhere, there's not much room to add capacity.
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