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Lafarge-Howitt deal an improvement, but still hampers transit future

Howitt Park Neighbourhood Residents Association, the city, and the developer of the Lafarge lands have come to an agreement on use for the lands that sees the retail space nearly halved and the addition of high density residential. This is an improvement from my point of view, because it allows the potential for my future dream of having the land used for walk-to-work out-of-town commuters as GO service progresses toward Guelph.

As I face the prospect of commuting to Kitchener myself, a new development in my life, the idea of having a station there that allows me to take the train westward to work is ever-more important to me.

The city has asked for only the downtown station to be used, but necessity will eventually require the Lafarge site to host a parking area for a station, even though the city government has acknowledged that westward commuting is as important as eastward commuting and a downtown-only station does nothing to help that. Having 340 residential units on the property should reduce the number of spaces needed. With trains, transit, and residential, the number of cars needed by such commuters should also be reduced.

It isn't an ideal situation, but it is a vast improvement over a nothing-but-commercial development as had been proposed. Armel's continued objection to the project and continuation of the OMB process is a plus, allowing GO Transit's environmental assessment to get out ahead of the development on the property and assert whether or not GO intends to use a portion of the land for a station, something I have long believed is essential to the future intercity transit system that Guelph is currently making no realistic plans for.

With the worst recession in three generations upon us, the province is in a hurry to shovel money at ready-to-go transit and infrastructure projects. With that in mind, GO's next Environmental Assessment Public Information Centre for Guelph service is coming up:

Kitchener:
Thursday, Feb 5, 2009
18:00-21:00
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
54 Queen St N

Guelph:
Thursday, Feb 12, 2009
18:00-21:00
Evergreen Seniors Centre, Room 4
683 Woolwich St N

Georgetown:
Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009
18:00-21:00
Halton Hills Cultural Centre
9 Church St

Interestingly, the Kitchener meeting directly conflicts with the next GTA West Community Advisory Group meeting (which is open to the public). It will be Thursday, Feb 5, 2009 at:

Four Points by Sheraton
2501 Argentia Rd
Mississauga

Anyone interested in the future of transportation in southwestern Ontario should go to this meeting. Visitors can observe the proceedings and do have time at the start and end (if I recall correctly) to comment. GTA West is, in my estimation, a project to build a highway between Guelph and Brampton connecting new highway 7 to the 407, but is disguised as a holistic analysis of transportation problems in the region. If there is enough community interest in solving our transportation problems with something other than steamrollers and asphalt, then it may actually become that holistic analysis that really is needed.

Posted at 09:07 on February 01, 2009

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Auto bailout lacks vision, imagination | guelph transit | GO PIC #2 results


Sean writes at Fri Feb 13 03:05:47 EST 2009...

http://steve.hostovsky.com/14877_PIC_2_kitchener.pdf

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