Good news! City takes steps to help Traynor-Vanier residents
At its meeting last night, City Council voted in principle to acquire the land required for a pedestrian crossing of the LRT tracks for Traynor-Vanier residents. Staff have been asked to investigate funding options and to report back at a council committee meeting on Sept. 10. This decision is another result of the rally in July that I helped to organize and publicize.
See media coverage:
- James Howe interviewed about crossing, 570 News (at 2:12:01)
- Kitchener moves to make LRT crossing in Traynor-Vanier neighbourhood a reality, The Record
- Pedestrian crossing could be built at Traynor-Vanier LRT tracks, CTV News
- City of Kitchener looks to buy land for crossing over LRT at Fairview Mall, CBC News
My presentation to City Council
Here are my remarks to Council to encourage them to act:
I strongly support the motion by Councillor Gazzola that directs staff to move forward on acquiring land needed for a crossing of the LRT tracks for Traynor-Vanier residents and to identify a source to fund the purchase.
Why? Quite simply, this crossing should already be in place. Or at the very least, project planning should be at a much more advanced stage.
This crossing is a vital piece of infrastructure in a neighbourhood where many people get around by foot, on bikes or by using public transit. They can see a grocery store, restaurants and a bank that were all easily accessible. But since the first fence went up along the LRT tracks in July 2016, they have been expected to walk a considerable distance to these destinations, or use a taxi, or take a long bus ride. Instead they have been using makeshift crossings. Soon though, the trains will start running. Indeed they should be already.
Yet more than 2 years later, there is no firm plan, timeline or funding in place for this crossing.
So residents organized a rally for July 14 because the best case scenario was for a crossing to be built in July 2019 to make their case once again. It attracted plenty of media attention and got results.
Even before the rally happened, the Mayor arranged for the CAOs of the City and the Region of Waterloo to move this project forward with an anticipated construction date of early spring 2019.
And now you have before you a motion to move ahead on critical steps that should already have been accomplished.
So please do your part to expedite this project.
Move the crossing forward for Paul Metzger, Brenda Dreesen and Sam Kaminga who have seen their neighbours struggling and have been advocating for a proper crossing since well before the first fence went up.
Move it forward for the three teenage girls I saw crossing the tracks Friday afternoon.
Move it forward for the mother and her young son who happened to cross the tracks during the rally carrying bags of groceries.
Move it forward for the woman who told me she was concerned about her safety if there was no crossing and she needed to use an unlit path after dark especially in the winter.
Move the crossing forward for these people and their neighbours who cross the tracks hundreds of times a day despite the lack of a proper, safe crossing.