The City of Waterloo wants a complete picture of traffic on the west side and plans to spend at least $100,000 to get it.
Politicians voted last week to include the Beaver Creek Meadows subdivision and district plan areas as well as key intersections along Fischer-Hallman Road in the study, a larger area than staff proposed.
“I think what we’re looking for is a real wholesome look,” Mayor Dave Jaworsky said.
Coun. Brian Bourke said he had several emails from residents who wanted the city to look at a larger area.
“I get a lot of emails about traffic … most of these emails on this issue have been about expanding the study area,” he said.
The approved study area includes land west of and including Erbsville Road and Ira Needles Boulevard in Waterloo, along with the additional areas approved by council. Beaver Creek Meadows includes parts of Conservation Drive and touches Wilmot Line.
The study may expand into Kitchener and the Township of Wilmot in terms of traffic patterns and connections.
Resident Deb Swidrovich appealed to politicians to expand the study.
“All of the studies that are being done really don’t take a good look at Wilmot Line … that’s my concern,” she said.
The city will also bring the results of other traffic studies and projects into account, including city work on Columbia Street and regional work on Erb Street.
Coun. Jeff Henry said he doesn’t want the public to be misled into thinking one study will fix everything.
“I don’t want people to get the impression that by expanding the scope today, sure we’re not missing anything important, but this study will resolve all the other studies we’re looking for in all parts of the city and will solve all of our problems,” Henry said. “I don’t want to give that impression.”
The study was prompted by a proposed Costco store at 924 and 930 Erb St. W. Politicians were concerned about traffic and requested the study be completed before construction went ahead.
That landed the city and Rice Group, representing the developer, at the Ontario Municipal Board.
They ultimately reached a settlement in April that doesn’t put the project off because of the study, but does prevent its opening until the Region of Waterloo completes some roadwork.
Work on the study gets underway in the fall, following the selection of a consultant. The study may exceed the $100,000 budget approved by council because of the new scope.
The study will help guide planning for the development of the city’s west side employment lands, a proposed west side collector from Erb Street to Columbia Street and other improvements to the transportation network.
Developers in the area will also be required to take the results of the study into account.
“We would require all developers to utilize this as another piece of their information collection for them to proceed with their traffic impact study or whatever the study might be,” said Cameron Rapp, commissioner of integrated planning and public works.
Source: Waterloo Region Record