The Region of Waterloo decides to run rapid transit alongside the existing rail line from King to Caroline, cutting across the Waterloo Square parking lot. This creates a new two-lane road beside the railway tracks. The last convenient parking for the Waterloo Square grocery store is thus destroyed; the remaining spaces are across a wide divide from the mall, with only one pedestrian crossing. People stop using the grocery store and it goes bankrupt. The grocery store anchors the mall so other shops in the mall fail, including the drug store that houses the Uptown postal outlet. Residents in Uptown can no longer walk to get their groceries so now drive to grocery stores on the outskirts of town. They drive to the Westmount Place postal outlet to get their packages. Increasingly, Uptown residents drive to retail outlets rather than walk and shop close by. (Note: While there is currently parking on the south side of Waterloo Square, the land nearest Willis Way is owned by First Gulf and is the planned location of development, possibly a Westin Hotel, leaving the north lot the only parking. That's why it would be so devastating if rapid transit cut a wide swath through it.)
Greatly reduced parking on King Street spells the death knell for Waterloo's two Uptown cinemas, the Princess and Princess II. Restaurants that rely on cinema traffic are shuttered. The north end of Uptown (between Erb and Central) starts to spiral downward. Cheque-cashing stores and pawn shops pop up.
The retail jewel of Uptown, the Ontario Seed store which has been in business for decades, is the only business on its block with parking (because of its parking lot in the rear). Increasingly, drivers going to other stores fill up the Ontario Seed lot, blocking its customers, who need close parking to carry out the heavy hardware and garden supplies sold there. Ontario Seed closes shop and opens a big box store on the outskirts of town.
Traffic in Waterloo is constantly backed up because the lanes are reduced from four to two, with gates and signals where the rapid transit turns left from King to head towards Waterloo Park. Increasingly, local drivers learn to avoid the area.
Isolated in an increasingly non-viable block, and with no parking within a 10 minute walk, Words Worth bookstore goes under, just as the resplendent Provident Bookstore gave up the ghost in downtown Kitchener when that downtown core failed.
Rapid transit on King Street makes it impossible to close King for Uptown festivals like the Busker and Icedog festivals. This means that people from the suburbs have no reason to ever go to Uptown; increasingly, they rely the big box stores and the mall in north Waterloo for all their shopping. The downward spiral increases.
As local residents increase their shopping in the north end of town, more and more shop at the new Wal-Mart. While there they increasingly buy groceries, and Zehrs stores all over the area start to close down.
King Street becomes a sad strip of newspaper-lined empty storefront windows. Commercial rents drop, making it profitable to open bars and discos aimed at university and college students. Drunken revellers make the Uptown increasingly unsafe, and garbage blows through the streets.
As the empty trains rattle past without stopping, the residents of Waterloo are incresingly burdened by ever-rising property taxes to pay for the expensive transit system. There are fewer and fewer regular buses to help them live without cars because rapid transit is draining the Grand River Transit budget. As Uptown becomes a shell, residents with money move to the subdivisions surrounding the town, causing Uptown's remaining schools to close.