ION to make commutes harder before they get easier

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GrandLinq presented their spring and summer construction plan to Regional Council, Feb. 24.&nbsp;</p>

Construction, which began last year, will be focused on King Street. A majority of the construction will take place along the stretches of King Street from Erb Street in Waterloo to Francis Street in Kitchener. This plan places construction at the doorstep of UW’s Kitchener campus as well as through most of uptown Waterloo.

One of the impacts of this construction will be detours for GRT routes that typically run down King Street. 

Speaking about detour routes, Kim Moser, manager of ION community relations, said, “In general terms, GRT will  be detoured typically using Weber Street or Park. They are working on the details and they are looking at ways to make sure that we get as close to those stops as possible during the construction.”

Students who commute to campus may also be impacted by increased traffic. Moser believes that the detour plans are adequate. 

“We are using Weber a lot, so there will be some increases in traffic, but we think the roads and the detour plan are very manageable.”  

Businesses in uptown Waterloo may also face some challenges as the construction cuts through the middle of uptown Waterloo. 

Patty Brooks, executive director for Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Association (BIA), said, “[Construction] will impact businesses generally across the board, in an unusual way and by that I mean our message is that uptown Waterloo is open for business during the entire construction. However … perception is that where there is construction, there is difficulty. So we are doing a multitude of things to overcome that perception and the challenge that people might perceive in getting to uptown Waterloo.” 

The Uptown Waterloo BIA will be using social media and advertising to promote that they are still open for business and events will be going on through the year as usual. They have also encouraged businesses to talk to their customers about the construction.

Despite the challenges that may be faced during construction, Brooks and the Uptown Waterloo BIA are supportive of the project. 

“I think this project is a game-changer for not only uptown Waterloo but for Waterloo Region and it is going to change the way this entire community engages in transportation and I think it is going to be ­­— I am not only I, I speak on behalf of our board of directors, because they are all very supportive of this project — that it is going to be a wonderful thing. It might be a little ahead of its time but had we waited, had the region waited, it would have been a much more difficult situation to get into,” said Brooks.

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