Monday, February 03, 2014

Waterloo needs a west-side expressway

Rush hour traffic in uptown Waterloo is a mess. Some of the busiest intersections - William/Caroline, Erb/Caroline - are going to get even worse when the LRT goes through them.

What we need to relieve the congestion in uptown is an expressway, or at least a rapid road, on the west side of town. Currently the Conestoga Parkway (shown in yellow below) is only two-thirds of a ring road.
In recent years much of our growth has been in the north-west, an area not serviced by the Conestoga Parkway. People in those subdivisions clog up Erb and University getting to the parkway, and a lot of them drive across the uptown getting there.

As more and more condos are built in the uptown, too much of that commuter traffic is heading east, putting pressure on Park, William, Caroline, and other streets that feed onto the Conestoga Parkway. If more of that traffic could be funnelled west, much pressure would be relieved.

A few years ago it was widely believed that Ira Needles Boulevard would be the west side rapid road, but then it was lined with dozens of big box stores and it can barely support local traffic. Our options are more limited now, but there has to be a solution.


gingercat said...

Ira Needles is under current planning to have 2 lanes in both directions. The most troubling part of this is that it should have been done in the first place. Lack of foresight in the first place is taking money away from other road work that needs to be done and added construction kaos in an already overloaded area.

Yappa said...

Hi Gingercat -

I agree totally. I suspect that that bad decision came out of an ideological stance at city hall that cars are bad and must be discouraged. We built this sprawling suburban nightmare that requires cars and then decided to make driving a mess. My main problem with LRT is that it further messes up driving in the core, while not providing a good alternative for the majority of residents. The whole approach is bad planning.