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3.1.1

Develop an implementation plan for light rail transit including corridor and station area planning.

greenstatus

Final update (September 2014)
Planning for the rapid transit project began in the 1970's when it was first identified in the Regional Official Plan as a vehicle to fundamentally shape Waterloo Region for the future, helping to move people, limit sprawl, encourage intensification and protect the environment. Over this term of Council there have been many milestones achieved and the project is now at an exciting point where detailed design, construction and implementation are becoming a reality.

In June 2011 Regional Council made the decision to implement Light Rail Transit as the choice for rapid transit in two stages following six years of technical studies and an extensive, unprecedented public consultation process. Stage 1 includes LRT from Kitchener to Waterloo as well as adapted Bus Rapid Transit (aBRT) from Cambridge to Kitchener. Stage 2 will see the aBRT route converted to LRT, creating a 37 kilometre route of LRT across the three urban centres. In an effort to increase ridership south of the transit terminal at Fairview Park Mall, Regional Council approved the allocation of $1 million per year for 10 years to enhance ridership and encourage development along the aBRT corridor in Cambridge.

The brand name ION was approved on May 8th, 2013 by Regional Council as it emerged as the most preferred option during the first phase of the Region’s public consultation process, registering strong first impressions and positive word associations.  Five months later, an official logo for ION was approved.

In February, 2012, the Region decided to use a pubic-private partnership approach to implement ION Light Rail Transit and undertook a rigorous procurement process to select a partner.  In March 2014 Regional Council approved GrandLinq as the Preferred Proponent to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Stage 1 LRT Project. 

ION construction is currently underway along the ION adapted bus rapid transit (aBRT) corridor, and along the ION light rail transit (LRT) corridor. Currently the ION LRT is on-time and within budget.  Stage 1 of the LRT Project is projected to be completed by 2017.

Progress Update (September 2013)

Revenue service for Stage 1 of Light Rail Transit (LRT) is expected to begin in 2017.

Revenue service for Adapted Bus Rapid Transit (aBRT) is expected to begin in 2015. Construction of the aBRT segment will occur in 2014.

The Stage 1 LRT Request For Proposals (RFP) was issued to three short-listed teams in June, 2013. The RFP open period is underway and will be roughly 5 - 7 months long with submissions anticipated in the fall of 2013. This phase will be completed with the selection of a team/consortium by early 2014. The Region together with the selected team/consortium would then proceed with the financial and commercial close, which is expected to be completed by late spring, 2014. A notice to proceed for construction will be given thereafter.

Construction for Stage 1 LRT is expected to begin in the summer of 2014. Construction for early works (e.g. some utility relocations) in support of this project are already underway. The contract to purchase the initial 14 light rail vehicles has been signed with Bombardier. Pilot testing of this vehicle is anticipated to occur in 2015 with final delivery to the Region in late 2016.

Stage 1 of the LRT Project will be completed by 2017.

Progress Update (January 2013)

Revenue service for Stage 1 of Light Rail Transit (LRT) is expected to begin in 2017.

Revenue service for Adapted Bus Rapid Transit (aBRT) is expected to begin in late 2014/early 2015.

The Request for Qualifications for the project will be issued in fall 2012.  Subsequently, a short-list of bidders will be identified by early 2013.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued to the short-listed teams around March 2013.  The RFP stage will be roughly five to seven months long with submissions anticipated by fall 2013.

This phase will be completed with the selection of a team by late 2013/early 2014.  The Region would then proceed with the financial and commercial close with the selected team, expected to be completed by late spring 2014.  A notice to proceed for construction will be given thereafter. Construction for this project is expected to begin in summer 2014.

Staff is currently negotiating with Metrolinx to purchase Light Rail vehicles along with the opportunity to test pilot vehicles in the Region. 

Subject to successful discussions and subsequent Council approval, the pilot testing could begin in 2015. Stage 1 of the LRT project will be completed by 2017.

aBRT is expected to begin in late 2014/early 2015.

Progress Indicators:

  • Implementation of strategy

Related Links

 

greenindicator   Strong progress achieved   2011-2014 Strategic Plan (PDF)
yellowindicator   Moderate progress achieved   2011-2014 Strategic Plan (RTF)
redindicator   Progress needed   2011-2014 Strategic Plan (Flash)