Demand for transit increases

Photo by Heather Davidson
Photo by Heather Davidson

Traffic patterns in Uptown Waterloo have recently been evaluated, indicating that the city is on track with its Regional Transportation Master Plan, which aims to increase the share of transportation demand by transit, cycling and walking in the Uptown core.

The Region of Waterloo, in partnership with Waterloo Public Transportation Initiative (WPTI) at the University of Waterloo, conducted the study in September 2012, measuring the traffic volume on King Street in Uptown Waterloo.

Reid Fulton, supervisor of transit development at the Region of Waterloo, explained that one of the goals of project is to increase the share of transportation of cycling, walking and transit to 27 per cent during the peak travel periods in the core by 2031.

Fulton collaborated with Dr. Jeff Casello from the University of Waterloo on the study.

Their research has indicated that the demand for transit in the Uptown core has increased substantially over the last ten years.

“At the four main transit stop locations in Uptown Waterloo, Bridgeport, Erb, Willis Way and William,” Fulton explained.

“Demand has grown from approximately 1,075 boardings per day in 2002 to approximately 3,170 boardings per day in 2013.”

“This represents a tripling of transit demand on King St. in the past ten years, and supports the Region’s objective of increasing transit mode share.”

Route 7, the main line that travels along King Street, has grown to approximately 12 peak period trips every hour, making the total frequency of buses on King Street 20 per hour during the peak periods of the day.

“In response to this increase in passenger demand, the frequency of service provided on King Street in Uptown Waterloo has grown substantially as well during this time,” Fulton added.

Waterloo city Councilor Melissa Durrell was pleased by the results of the study and the diversity of transportation methods through the core.

“It’s nice to see that the road is being shared by pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles and public transportation,” shared Durrell. “I mean that’s a really healthy mix in the core and it’s nice to see.”

Fulton explained that in order for the City to move towards its goal of 27 per cent of all trips being made by transit, cycling or walking, the Region has pushed for additional transit capacity with the introduction of the LRT Rapid Transit vehicles, as opposed to increased frequency of buses.

Councilor Durrell added that the information from the study was provided at an important time for development in the Uptown core.

“We’re making decisions on going from four lanes of traffic to perhaps two and a half lanes of traffic and we’re really trying to make it a complete street, which means that people are walking, cycling and taking public transportation. Everyone is using the road. Durrell said. “And it’s good urban planning.”

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