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King-Victoria Transit Hub
King-Victoria Transit Hub
King St West and Victoria St North, Kitchener

A regional transit hub connecting GO Transit, VIA Rail, ION light rail, GRT, Greyhound, and probably more!

Archived News:

Region buys land for transportation hub
Nov 24, 2010 | 570 News | Link

Quote:The region of Waterloo has purchased about 3 acres of land at the corner of King and Victoria in downtown Kitchener to build a hub for transit.

The region paid almost 5.8 million dollars for land along Victoria between King and Duke street West.

That’s where it will build a transit facility where GO and VIA Rail trains, inter-city buses, the GRT system and rapid transit will all connect at one location.

The region’s CAO Mike Murray says the facility will eliminate the need for the VIA Rail station on Weber, but the Charles street bus terminal will likely stay open.

Murray says the location is ideal because all preferred routes for the rapid transit system, whether it be bus or light rail, go right past that site.

The facility will also have room for retail development on the ground floor and office and commercial space upstairs.

After the required plans and studies are completed, Murray says they will seek proposals from the private sector to work with the region to develop the property.

Central transit hub plan hailed
Nov 26, 2010 | Jeff Outhit | The Record | Link

Quote:KITCHENER — Passengers and transit advocates are hailing the plan for a central transit station in downtown Kitchener.

Regional council secretly spent almost $6 million to buy most of two blocks at the railway tracks at Victoria and King streets. The long-proposed plan is to bring Grand River Transit, Via Rail, GO Transit, Greyhound and a proposed rapid transit system under one roof there.

“It would make sense for me,” said George Aube, waiting Thursday to board a Via Rail train to New Brunswick. “It would be all in one place. It would be great.”

He suggests the transit facility should have parking and car rental agencies. When he arrived in downtown Kitchener by train, to visit his children, he took a taxi to Fairway Road to rent a car.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Wilfrid Laurier student Adam Poleski said. “I just think it’s more helpful.”

He took a city bus to King and Victoria streets Thursday, then walked five minutes to reach the Via Rail station to board a passenger train to Kingston. A central facility would streamline his transfer.

“I think it’s actually a really good idea,” said Vlad Pop, waiting for a train to Montreal.

Passengers hope to some day take trains from the transit facility to Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

Also cheering are Tim Mollison of the Tri-Cities Transport Action Group and Ruth Haworth of Taxpayers for Sensible Transit.

“Right now, we have a very patchwork system,” Mollison said. “It’s really very important to consolidate all of these into one place, to sort of give people as few transfers as possible.”

“It sounds like a great idea,” Haworth said. “We’ve always had this weird system where the buses went one place and the trains went to another place, and it was sort of difficult to get to the train station.”

Her advice: “I hope that they provide sufficient parking.”

Regional government intends to launch at least two years of planning.

Regional Chair Ken Seiling, who figures construction is more than two years away, sought to address some questions.

Will there be parking? Yes. Parking is needed for any commercial or residential component and also for some transit passengers, he figures. “My gut would say that there would be some sort of (parking) structure.”

However, Seiling anticipates less downtown parking is needed if GO builds its proposed park-and-ride train station east of Kitchener, with 700 parking spaces. GO also plans an eventual park-and-ride station west of Kitchener in Baden. Rapid transit would further reduce parking needs, Seiling argues.

GO Transit is launching two daily commuter trains next year from Kitchener to Toronto. The proposed park-and-ride station is on hold to save money. Passengers will use the Via Rail station for now.

How much will it cost to build and where will the money come from? Seiling could not estimate costs. “It really depends on the private sector partnerships,” he said. Possible sources could include regional government funds, private investment and contributions from senior governments.

What would it look like? There are no drawings or visualizations, Seiling said.

Mollison envisions a facility that uses all the property and includes floors of private space above buses and trains. Private dollars will help pay for the public terminal, he figures.

How could the Beer Store site become part of the transit hub? Options include purchasing the property, expropriating it or partnering with the owners.
Archived News:

Hub would put trains, buses under same roof
March 4, 2011 | Jeff Outhit | The Record | Link

Quote:KITCHENER — Imagine a place where you can park, shop, and then catch a bus or train out of town. Planners call it a central transit hub and it’s proposed at King and Victoria streets in downtown Kitchener.

Regional council has already spent $6 million to buy most of the land. If built, it means residents will no longer have to transfer between bus and train terminals that are blocks apart.

“Bringing everything into one place is the kind of no-brainer decision being made in many other cities around the world,” said Tim Mollison of the Tri-Cities Transport Action Group, which is lobbying for a local rail transit system costing an estimated $818 million.

“It’s a great idea. It’s long overdue,” said Ruth Haworth of Taxpayers for Sensible Transit, which is lobbying against rail transit and favours better buses. “Of all these many ways to try and revitalize downtown Kitchener, this seems like a good one.”

Improved intercity transit, including a central hub, will help local firms attract and keep employees who commute to jobs here, architect Roger Farwell says. Technology firms currently shuttle Toronto-area residents into jobs here every day due to limited transit options.

“Part of being able to command the kind of talent that we need means that this kind of infrastructure needs to be there,” said Farwell, who’s leading a Prosperity Council initiative to encourage creative enterprise. He believes commuter flows have tilted, with more out-of-towners coming to jobs here than residents commuting to outside jobs.

The transit hub is intended to be more than just a terminal. Politicians plan to invite private partners to help develop it, possibly by incorporating shopping into the public space and adding floors of office space above. Here’s what planners say today about the proposal, still in its early stages.

Where will it be?

Council has purchased two blocks on Victoria Street North between King and Duke streets, across from the Kaufman lofts and the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy.

Assembled land includes a vacant Korean grocery, the vacant Rumpel Felt factory, the End of the Roll flooring products store and the Noble Trade plumbing business. Council also hopes to acquire the Beer store site on King Street. “There are discussions that are occurring,” regional planning commissioner Rob Horne said. The beer site could be acquired through negotiation or expropriation.

The property already acquired by council measures 1.2 hectares, including 240 metres of frontage along the CN Railway tracks.

What transit services would locate there?

The idea is to include Via Rail, GO Transit commuter trains, and intercity buses such as those operated by GO, Greyhound and Coach Canada. Grand River Transit would stop there along with local rapid transit if built.

Via Rail and Greyhound are interested in relocating to the central hub. “We all win in a plan such as this,” Via Rail spokesperson Catherine Kaloutsky said. She figures a shared terminal will help get travellers out of their cars.

“We believe this is an excellent site for a transportation hub,” Greyhound spokesperson Timothy Spokes said, citing “seamless” access to public transportation.

Train and bus terminals are almost one kilometre apart today. Trains use the Via Rail station on Victoria Street North. Buses stop on Charles Street.

What services would the terminal have?

Expect washrooms, ticket booths, platforms, seating, bilingual signs and accessibility for the disabled. There could be a restaurant, shopping and space for travel services such as a car rental agency.

Planners expect some underground parking and possibly more parking nearby. “If they don’t have parking it’s just going to be a mess,” Haworth warns. But the amount of parking is undetermined, as are parking fees. “It needs to be priced at a market rate,” Mollison said.

Planners hope that many passengers will ride transit or walk to the hub, reducing parking needs. GO Transit eventually intends to build a park-and-ride commuter station near Breslau for passengers who don’t want to drive downtown and park.

How would the terminal function?

Due to the grade at the site, expect multiple floors, with escalators, stairs and elevators to move passengers among them. Trains would be on an upper floor where the tracks are. Buses would use a lower floor.

Planners figure intercity buses may drive into the terminal but Grand River Transit buses would stop on the street. It may be too disruptive to Victoria Street traffic to have buses entering and exiting the terminal constantly.

Pedestrians may get tunnels or overhead walkways to cross King and Victoria streets. There would be stands for bicycles. King Street would get an underpass beneath the railway tracks beside the terminal.

What else would be at the site?

A tower could be built above the terminal if private partners come on board. Office, retail and commercial space is the likely target. Residential development has not been ruled out.

“It really is important that in this case, we tap the private sector for their expertise in running malls,” Mollison said. “The more private investment that can be attracted to this location the better.”

Private investment would help pay for the transit hub. Horne anticipates council will issue a broad call for development proposals. “We don’t want to stifle the creativity and the interest that might be out there,” he said.

“There will be interest from the private sector for development opportunities on that site,” said Craig Beattie, of the Perimeter Development Corp. He’s developing offices in the former Collins & Aikman factory on the opposite side of the railway tracks.

Beattie expects his tenants will want to be next door to a useful transit hub that’s also designed to be attractive. It’s possible his office complex could link to the transit hub over the railway tracks, he said.

What would the building look like?

It’s undetermined. Transit advocates are pressing for an appealing, inviting structure. Planners say they want a strong urban design. “This isn’t going to be the ugly monster that’s our current downtown terminal,” Mollison said, referring to Charles Street.

What happens to the Charles Street bus terminal?

It may be partly or completely redeveloped after Grand River Transit shifts some buses to the central hub. Other local buses would shift to Frederick and Benton streets. Charles Street is seen as a prime site for redevelopment if local rapid transit is built.

What happens to existing buildings?

Most or all face demolition eventually. Planners are reviewing part of the vacant Rumpel Felt factory to assess if it’s worth saving.

Some existing buildings, for example the vacant Korean grocery, may soon be torn down. Once cleared, the site may be used for parking for GO Transit passengers when commuter trains launch this year out of the Via Rail station.

What happens to the Via Rail station and the Greyhound station on Sportsworld Drive?

Too soon to know, spokespeople said.

What happens next?

Council intends to study costs, revenues, users and commercial opportunities. Expect a conceptual plan and business case. Further council direction will be sought before developers are invited to join the project. Planners hope to open the transit hub before 2017, the potential launch date for rapid transit.

Paying for the transit hub

Future costs are undetermined and regional council has no construction budget. The concept is to share project costs between taxpayers and developers.

Land has cost $6 million to date. Politicians contend this is a good deal at just under $2 million per acre. By comparison, the consolidated courthouse under construction at Weber and Frederick streets cost taxpayers just over $3 million per acre.

Central transit hub in Kitchener set to become ‘signature landmark’
March 1, 2014 | Terry Pender | Waterloo Region Record | Link

Quote:KITCHENER — A grand entrance to the downtown and a public plaza at King and Victoria streets will be the high-profile face of a new central transit station scheduled to open in 2017, says an official plan amendment city councillors are scheduled to approve Monday.

The changes clear the way for a massive redevelopment of the 1.6-hectare site that includes the lands from King to Duke streets and from Victoria Street North to the railway tracks.

A public plaza running along the entire King Street frontage of the central station is now in the city’s official plan — a massive document that regulates all land-use in the city.

“We do want that presence and we do want to ensure this is an iconic gateway property as well,” said Rob Horne, the region’s planning commissioner. “And over and above all that, we have a tremendous opportunity to put a signature landmark in place.”

Both the city and the region expect the construction of the new central transit station will spur redevelopment of the many litter-strewn and windswept parking lots that now dominate the landscape in that area.

City councillors already endorsed the changes to the official plan during a committee meeting earlier this week, assuring final approval on Monday.

The region wanted the changes to allow higher buildings, reduce the amount of parking normally required, and to close Waterloo Street to cars between Breithaupt and Victoria streets.

The central transit station is for light rail trains, Grand River Transit buses, VIA/GO trains, Greyhound/GO buses and pedestrians and cyclists. This hub will also include commercial-retail outlets and possibly residential units, public art and the plaza along King.

“A lot of development interests see this as a catalytic opportunity for this region,” Horne said.

The movement of pedestrians and cyclists into and around the central station is being carefully reviewed.

A multi-use pathway running from Willis Way in downtown Waterloo along the railway spur will be important for moving people in and out of the station area. Another multi-use pathway running between the station and the Iron Horse Trail along the railway tracks is part of the city’s plan for trails, and could be important for linking the central station to new developments to the south and west.

While Waterloo Street will be closed to vehicles between Breithaupt and Victoria streets, it will provide access to the transit hub for pedestrians and cyclists. The big question is how that access will be provided — on the surface or with a tunnel going below the tracks.

A study is underway of possible cycling and pedestrian connections running from the central transit hub to the areas around it — the health sciences campus across King Street, and the city-owned Bramm Street parking lot, among others.

“The Bramm Yards, in 10 to 20 years time, will be a very large area of employment and potentially new housing as well,” Horne said.

The future of Waterloo Street is a big concern for many nearby residents, said Lane Berman, the president of the Mount Hope-Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association.

“We want to have more input,” Berman said. “We need access to the hub through Waterloo Street.”

Ideally, a tunnel for pedestrians and cyclists should be built under Waterloo Street, he said, for easy access to the central transit station and the downtown.

The coming of light rail is going to have a huge impact on cyclists and pedestrians in neighbourhoods around the central station.

Weber Street is being widened to four lanes between Victoria and Guelph streets and an underpass will be built to take traffic below the railway tracks. The same thing will happen on King Street.

“We are really getting blocked as we try to walk into the downtown,” Berman said.

Duke Street will be the main route for people driving to the transit hub out of the Mount Hope and Breithaupt Park neighbourhood.

“These people see their connection to downtown through multiple gateways, not just one,” said Coun. Dan Glenn-Graham, who represents the area on city council.

“It is important to these folks to give them more than one access point to the downtown, and I fully support that.”

There will be no significant development on the site for at least a couple of years. The first major step is building an underpass on King Street that will take vehicles, light rail trains and pedestrians below the railway tracks.

“We are already into the detailed design, so I think in 2015 or 2016 construction is to begin,” Horne said.
In June 2012 three proposed concepts were put forth:

[Image: June2012Concepts.jpg~original]

[Image: 2012.png]
By May 2014 the concepts had been altered and only two put forth:

[Image: 2014concepttable.png]

Concept 1

[Image: 2014concept1.png]

[Image: concept1.png]

Concept 2

[Image: 2014concept2.png]

[Image: concept2.png]
This is really exciting! Does anyone know of any details regarding when construction could possibly start?
(10-11-2014, 10:10 PM)Waterlooer Wrote: This is really exciting!

I totally agree! 

Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't King St W supposed to go over the train tracks and Weber St under? These conceptual drawings all show another rail bridge over the road.
I used to be the mayor of sim city. I know what I am talking about.
Nope, the plan's always been an underpass, just like Weber.
Which of the two concepts above does everyone like better?
(10-13-2014, 10:37 AM)Spokes Wrote: Which of the two concepts above does everyone like better?

I like Concept 1 - and I have to be honest - it's the oval shaped building that won me over - so nice to see something different from a square tower.

I know the square footage is lower and the parking is less, but sometimes less is more ! Smile
(10-13-2014, 12:27 PM)Shawn Wrote: I like Concept 1 - and I have to be honest - it's the oval shaped building that won me over - so nice to see something different from a square tower.

I know the square footage is lower and the parking is less, but sometimes less is more ! Smile

I think an entire neighbourhood of non-square buildings would be a bit weird but one should be fine.

Definitely not square: the Stata Center at MIT.
 [Image: 1_large.jpg]

My officemate at the time complained about it not being square but I thought it was good to have different architecture. It is now hemmed in with other (squarish) buildings though.
Is Waterloo Region grown up enough for Friedensreich Hundertwasser?


There's a "temporary beer store" trailer on the property.
I really like both proposals but would prefer option 2. I wonder how much private interest there has been in the project.

Beyond Ion in my opinion is the most important project in Waterloo Region.
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