Here's a snippet of the Region of Waterloo's LRT map showing what the intersection will look like after the LRT is built (you can see the complete map here):
"Full movement intersection" means that cars can turn in all directions. These are special intersections on the LRT plan: cars are not allowed to cross over the tracks anywhere but at full movement intersections (there will be a curb running alongside the tracks to prevent cars from crossing them, or possibly the tracks will be raised six inches to prevent it). At all other intersections and all driveways, cars cannot turn left, but must go past their destination, make a U-turn, and head back.
"Railway control" means that there are going to be railway crossing signals, including gates and flashing lights, something like this:
Here's a drawing I've prepared of what the Region's map means. If you see any differences, let me know and I'll modify it. I have tried very hard to make it perfectly accurate, based on the Region's map:
The heavy dotted lines are the LRT, with one line coming from King Street and heading into Waterloo Park, and the other line coming out of the park and heading back to Kitchener. The map also shows the current train tracks; these are infrequently used and a train employee walks across the road ringing a bell when the train crosses.
As you can see, there will be three railway signals (marked in red), on Bridgeport, Erb and Caroline. The LRT is scheduled to run every 7 minutes, but there are tracks running in two directions so a train will go by every 3.5 minutes. That means that every 3.5 minutes the gates will come down, lights will flash, bells may ring, and everyone will have to wait until the LRT goes by. That is in addition to the normal red lights that regulate traffic.
These changes to this very busy intersection are obviously going to cause mayhem for cars, bikes, and pedestrians. I myself drive, bike or walk through that intersection every day: it's very busy. Besides long backlogs of idling cars, this is going to cause motorists to flood onto side streets to avoid the mess, and to cut through the Waterloo Square parking lot. That means that the disruption is going to spread far beyond this one area.
This is just one of the unacceptable effects of LRT on uptown Waterloo. If the LRT happens, this must be fixed.
As with all my LRT posts, if you see any errors leave a comment and if I agree I'm in error I'll modify the post.