Traffic Issues

June, 2021 Update on Traffic Patterns and Development
Over the past year or so we have heard lots of comments about the traffic situation in Mt. Hope/Breithaupt/Midtown, particularly due to the fact there has been a lot of development in our neighbourhood and residents are not sure about the impact this is having on the neighbourhood currently, and what impact it will have in the future.

We are seeing developments on the Google Site (potentially 1,000 employees), Station Park (anywhere up to 5,000 residents), the Bright Building on King Street, and the Spur Line development on Roger Street/Moore Avenue.  In addition, the Region is building the Transit Hub (a joint effort with the Region and Metrolinx) which will create a major transit hub on the corner of VictoriaStreet/King Street.  The Transit Hub brings together GO and VIA rail service, GRT buses/ION LRT, intercity buses, and kiss and ride capabilities.  In order to facilitate two-way, all day GO Train service, Metrolinx is planning on closing the Duke Street level crossing (between Breithaupt Street/Victoria Street) and building an underground pedestrian passage on Waterloo Street, which is already closed.  

At the recent public meeting on 134-152 Shanley Street (the former Electrohome site) hosted by the City of Kitchener and included representatives from Shannondale et al., there was much concern around the impact of the development on traffic within the neighbourhood.  With 172 new units from this development, along with the closure of Duke Street and the creation of the transit hub, this will undoubtedly bring more traffic into the neighbourhood and onto secondary streets.

Over the last few months, the MHBPNA Development Committee (your neighbours who are looking out for your development interests in the neighbourhood) took up the challenge and started an investigation into the traffic concerns around the neighbourhood.  Just recently the group had a meeting with the City of Kitchener to open a dialog about the concerns that residents have been having, as well as to learn more about the City’s current view.  On Friday, June 2, 2021, Gordon Hatt, Scott Morris, Catherine Owens, and Councillor Sarah Marsh met with the Director of Traffic.

This initial meeting was to get an introduction of our concerns to the city, and get a sense of how we can work together to try and improve things over the coming years for the residents as construction and new people move into the area.

We learned that although each individual development is required to conduct traffic studies (Google, Station Park, Shannondale), they do feed up into the City’s major traffic analysis, meaning the City actually has a pretty comprehensive overview of what is happening traffic-wise with each new development.  Each individual analysis per building site feeds into the master traffic plan.

Due to this, the City is very much aware of the traffic in our neighbourhood particularly along Wellington and the secondary streets such as Wilhelm Street, Duke Street, Waterloo Street, and Moore Avenue.  Wellington Street is classified as a major collector/secondary arterial road, and is a City of Kitchener owned road.  It has been designated to be a cut through to the new Highway 7 bypass, as well as it connects to the current alignment of Highway 7/Highway 85.  However, even though it is enabled to handle large automobile traffic volumes, it still passes through our neighbourhood and is lined with homes, so there might be things the city might be able to do to help improve the presence of the road.

Now that we’ve had our initial meeting we’re going to continue to work with the city on these concerns.  Our upcoming plans:
  1. The Development Committee is planning on getting together with Councillor Marsh and the City of Kitchener Traffic Department in September.  This allows the team at the City to put together some of the information we have requested – looking at Wellington Street, street crossings and all-way stops, the stop signs on Wellington, traffic studies on the secondary roads such as Duke, Wilhelm, Moore, Waterloo and to get final traffic studies from the Region and Metrolinx on the Transit Hub.
  2. The City is receptive to looking at traffic patterns, truck routes, the closures of Duke Street/Waterloo Street (Metrolinx), better traffic/pedestrian access on Wellington over the next couple of months.  The City has asked us to be patient – traffic volumes are down due to COVID-19 and the peak analysis usually takes place in September when everyone is back to work and in school so we won’t hear much before the Fall.  Fun fact: apparently the traffic volumes in the summer months drop around 25% of that in the rest of the year.
We will have more to report after the City has a chance to pull together some of the info on our requests and we will keep everyone informed on our traffic issues.