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(01-11-2016, 08:34 PM)tomh009 Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-10-2016, 09:42 PM)Smore Wrote: [ -> ]Re VicPark Stn....Am I the only one that could see Gaukel as a pedestrian street, thus negating all concerns about platform extension pinches?

Mmmm ... it could be nice, but there is the issue of the Manulife parking garage entrance.

where on Gaukel is a Manulife parking garage entrance?
(01-11-2016, 08:44 PM)Smore Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-11-2016, 08:34 PM)tomh009 Wrote: [ -> ]Mmmm ... it could be nice, but there is the issue of the Manulife parking garage entrance.

where on Gaukel is a Manulife parking garage entrance?

Duh!  You said "Gaukel", I read "Charles".

Indeed, Gaukel could easily be made pedestrian once the bus depot is gone.  And it would work very nicely as a park entrance, too.
They should just close King and run the tracks in both directions through downtown Kitchener...
(01-11-2016, 09:58 PM)Canard Wrote: [ -> ]They should just close King and run the tracks in both directions through downtown Kitchener...

I think a little bit late for that now!
(01-11-2016, 09:58 PM)Canard Wrote: [ -> ]They should just close King and run the tracks in both directions through downtown Kitchener...

I think the idea is more like: eventually King Street is completely pedestrianized downtown. They're working up to it with more and more events that use the street as a public space.
It was only recently that I've ever seen the City of Kitchener have official ideation around Gaukel as a woonerf, so it's definitely a step in a good direction. But having now lived in Downtown, UpTown, and around various other commercial enterprises, we'll need a lot more people in the cores to make this work. Downtown definitely feels empty more often than I'd like, and while having more people living downtown (e.g. City Center, 1Vic, etc.), filling the streets is more dependent on good transit connections and the ability to get people to them.

One of the things that's stuck with me was an argument made about Yorkdale mall. The argument was that some of the parking lots should be removed to allow for residential towers to go up on the site. But the response was that even getting into dozens of stories of height, it was a net loss to see howevermany public parking spaces become tower+private parking spaces (or just tower, if you assumed you could sell a no-car development at that location). The 500-1,000 sqft apartment/condo buys groceries once a week, but the 3-6 parking spaces you can fit in that space turn over many times every day, generating far more sales. Now, depending on your beliefs, transit users can have a similar sales effect, depending on how far they're willing to struggle with their goods to get home, but the point sticks, that you really do need not just the eyes on the street and comfort of knowing you aren't in a dead, uninhabited zone, but you also need the ability for far more than just a localized population to be able to fill and support that area.

All that said, to turn even more of Downtown into a car-hostile area without not just good walk/bike/transit options, but well-used ones, is to risk getting things so far out of sync that both fail.
(01-12-2016, 08:31 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: [ -> ]...The 500-1,000 sqft apartment/condo buys groceries once a week, but the 3-6 parking spaces you can fit in that space turn over many times every day, generating far more sales. Now, depending on your beliefs, transit users can have a similar sales effect, depending on how far they're willing to struggle with their goods to get home...
I've seen a lot of evidence that suggests that people on foot and bike actually spend more than motorists. Here's a link to one article I remember.
I agree with most of your points, though. For those of us who are interested in seeing more of the cores set aside for people who don't happen to be in cars, we should be careful about the municipalities moving too fast. These types of things are likely to be introduced as pilots first: if there are not enough potential users, those pilots will fail and the experience might ultimately delay the implementation of pedestrianized streets. Dundas Street East in London was once pedestrianized at the urging of the local BIA and others; the problem was that it had already declined to the point that few people were going to be walking down it, on the sidewalk or down the middle. That experiment failed, and the failure is pointed to by many Londoners every time someone suggests closing Dundas in the core to car traffic (which really might be warranted) or even car-free events on other streets.
I've seen the same research showing that car users can spend less than transit/bike/feet users, but when the modal split is still ~85-95% car, depending on area, increasing the 5-15% of non-car users' trips/spending by, say, 10%, is easily outweighed by an equivalent reduction in the money generated by the 85-95% of drivers. I say this as someone who has never owned a car, who takes GRT/bike/carshare/feet to my destinations. Making sure that things still work for all users is important, and if we've seen anything with roundabouts, it's that many drivers can't be bothered to understand even the simplest changes to what they expect. I still think we're smart enough to solve this. I'd love it if we got to a point where, say, everyone downtown expected to pay a small reasonable rate for parking, but when they went to buy their coffee/groceries/movie ticket, they could have a phone app generated QR code scanned by the business, wherein they'd either say they're heading back to their car <30 minutes from now, or that they'd be back in ~2.5h (if, say, buying tickets to an Apollo movie). Eliminate the separate transaction, or the hunt for a place to perform it. Besides the point, of course.
For malls, the equation is different. Malls are destinations, and the oft-quoted numbers are for street-level merchants.

The going narrative for those studies is that a cyclist or pedestrian is more likely to see someplace they might want to stop (because they're going slower) and are more likely to then stop (because parking is a small/non-issue, respectively) than a motorist.

For malls, you've already made the decision to go to that mall. How you get there is a matter of value propositions from then on (how hard is it to carry your purchases, how bad is the parking/traffic, how good is the transit, and so forth).

My unresearched-but-verifiable-by-data hypothesis is that the effect is more pronounced for small businesses at street level than it would be for complexes. I'm not sure that it's terribly big of an effect, though, as the amount a household spends a month is somewhat fixed. What could be changed by this sort of thing is _where_ that spend happens, not _whether_ it happens or not.
(01-12-2016, 08:31 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: [ -> ]One of the things that's stuck with me was an argument made about Yorkdale mall. The argument was that some of the parking lots should be removed to allow for residential towers to go up on the site. But the response was that even getting into dozens of stories of height, it was a net loss to see howevermany public parking spaces become tower+private parking spaces (or just tower, if you assumed you could sell a no-car development at that location). The 500-1,000 sqft apartment/condo buys groceries once a week, but the 3-6 parking spaces you can fit in that space turn over many times every day, generating far more sales. Now, depending on your beliefs, transit users can have a similar sales effect, depending on how far they're willing to struggle with their goods to get home, but the point sticks, that you really do need not just the eyes on the street and comfort of knowing you aren't in a dead, uninhabited zone, but you also need the ability for far more than just a localized population to be able to fill and support that area.

But are those Yorkdale parking spaces currently used in non-peak times?

chutten Wrote:For malls, the equation is different. Malls are destinations, and the oft-quoted numbers are for street-level merchants.

Yeah, street traffic isn't helpful for non-malls. May be more helpful for malls. Except the ones that don't manage to actually act to attract people, like downtown malls around KW for some reason.

chutten Wrote:My unresearched-but-verifiable-by-data hypothesis is that the effect is more pronounced for small businesses at street level than it would be for complexes. I'm not sure that it's terribly big of an effect, though, as the amount a household spends a month is somewhat fixed. What could be changed by this sort of thing is _where_ that spend happens, not _whether_ it happens or not.

I would also like to have data. Speculating, I could imagine that lower gas spending could increase spending on other things. But then there's the third-order effect of less spending on cars in the economy in general.
I'm concerned about something I found while browsing the Project Agreement documents on the Region's Rapid Transit website.

It's no secret that collisions resulting in injuries or fatalities are the norm for Light Rail, since it operates on the same plane as other modes of urban transport, like walking, biking, or driving.  When you have to share that same plane - the heaviest thing always wins.  History shows this that every city that Light Rail rolls out in, shortly after, people start getting hurt or killed.

But I'm particularly alarmed by this statement, which repeats over and over and over in Schedule 15-2, Appendix Y, Traffic Control:

[attachment=710]

I read this as "let's do nothing and wait and see how many crashes happen, and then add signaling if it's over a certain threshold."

Surely, this cannot be?

I really think the Project Team should get going now on being proactive about coming up with a social media and video/TV campaign about rail safety and what's coming, what to watch out for, changes in behaviour around trains, etc. Here's an example, from Gold Coast's G:link project in Australia:

(01-12-2016, 08:31 AM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: [ -> ]It was only recently that I've ever seen the City of Kitchener have official ideation around Gaukel as a woonerf,

A woonerf (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋoːnɛrf]) is a living street, as originally implemented in the Netherlands and in Flanders. Techniques include shared space, traffic calming, and low speed limits. Under Article 44 of the Dutch traffic code, motorised traffic in a woonerf or "recreation area" is restricted to walking pace.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woonerf


I had to look it up, so I figure I can't be the only one...
A low speed limit really wouldn't make THAT much difference on Gaukel. The street is only three blocks long, with two traffic lights and a stop sign. I think only full pedestrian or status quo makes sense. And all-pedestrian probably only after the Gaukel terminal is redeveloped.
(01-12-2016, 09:56 PM)Canard Wrote: [ -> ]I read this as "let's do nothing and wait and see how many crashes happen, and then add signaling if it's over a certain threshold."

I read it as "What do those things even mean?"

For a while I thought the rounded rects on the thoroughfare were trains, but then it appears as though the track is to one side (so, Uptown Waterloo, Downtown Kitchener, or Ottawa/Borden). So maybe the rects are concrete islands?

But anyway, now I read it as "We're not sure how drivers at this intersection will react, or what the sight lines will be for giving them adequate information on how to make decisions... so we'll just shrug, construct it, turn it on, and see what happens."

They could guess, I guess. Post a student on the corner to count how much S-bound traffic cheats into the intersection as it is currently designed, how much W-bound traffic shoulder-checks (or, as I call it, "cyclist checks") on their right turns... then apply a model (a wild-ass guess) to hypothesize how much of that traffic will continue to do so after construction is complete and the system is on.

From there, assign a threshold ("at most N drivers may take dangerous action before we install a signal" Yes, another guess) and see if the model's results exceed it.

Or, since these guesses are probably going to be wrong, do nothing and wait for the fallout. Make sure to put in the design docs that you're considering banning left turns for E-bound traffic as needed so it underlines your considered opinion that you shouldn't need any of these measures and call it a day. (since I can't see how E-bound traffic could run afoul of the train any more often than running afoul of W-bound traffic)

But, yes, under this all lies the infernal calculus: Signals cost money, but save lives (citation needed). Stop signs and road paint are cheaper. How many deaths or dollars of damage will we tolerate before upgrading an intersection?

Taken to one extreme, don't spend any money and let Darwin sort it out.

Taken to the other, the government should hire professional drivers piloting Teslas to ferry us around and forbid us from driving since the public aren't very good at it, on balance.

I think the phrasing is probably Traditional Engineer-ese for "we shouldn't need this, but I reserve the right to change my mind" and we should rely on their expertise to have identified the most likely problem intersections and dealt with them.
I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm kind of shocked that in this day an age the thinking could possibly be "Let's just see how many people die before we fix it" for the cost of an illuminated sign.

...Houston's average of 6 crashes per month comes to mind as a bit scary and thinking maybe we should be a little more proactive here.
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