The mixture of non-students is a very good thing, and creates a more stable neighborhood. As we relearn every year around this time, creating ghettos of student housing results in all kinds of problems, especially for the few non-students unlucky enough to still be living in the area.
You have to wonder why the Region's rapid transit is bypassing King Street North altogether (the route runs from uptown Waterloo through Waterloo Park, across UW campus and up to Conestoga Mall). The Region seems most concerned about giving UW students a convenient way to get to class in UW's new distributed campus - especially the Pharmacy School in Kitchener and the Balsillie School in Uptown Waterloo. For Waterloo, the RT is more of a campus shuttle than municipal transit.
The University of Waterloo can pay for shuttle buses for its students to get around. When I was an undergraduate at Trent, which has colleges in several locations, we had a free shuttle bus and it worked very well. I'm not anti-UW by any means (I'm an alumna and also practically grew up on campus, and am very fond of the place), but this route is just nuts. We're talking about an incredibly expensive transit initiative - building the thing will cost over half a billion dollars just for Phase 1 - and the costs of running it will also be very high. You don't get self-sustaining transit that is largely used by students who pay less than $10/month for unlimited travel (I believe they currently pay $35 for a 4-month term). In addition, students are almost all young; they can walk a bit further to a bus stop or take a slightly slower bus: surely the priority for fast convenient transit should not be students.
If the city of Waterloo were designing a rapid transit route to best suit the needs of Waterlooians, you have to think that it would take a very different route. Instead of being hijacked by decisions made at the Region, we should all take a step back and rethink rapid transit from a Waterloo perspective. After all, Waterloo tax dollars are going to help pay for it, and Waterloo residents are going to suffer reductions in other transit routes if this thing loses money.
We used to have a trolley in K-W that went straight down King Street, turning around just north of University. At the other end it turned at Rockway Gardens. I'm no expert on routes, but I'd like to hear a justification for why the bulk of the RT route in Waterloo should be park and campus. It's also time that we saw revenue projections for the RT.