The Ion LRT Construction is getting close to being complete, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that completion day will be very welcome not only because the trains will be running, but because the actual construction and seemingly endless detours throughout KW will finally be over.
With the new LRT tracks, however, come some changes that we’ll all have to be aware of. They are accompanied by some new traffic rules. The changes have been well covered in the media, but I’ll do a run down of them here as well:
· Roads that are divided by the LRT tracks and they can’t be crossed anymore. This applied to stretches of King Street and Charles Street, as well as some others.
· In some intersections that have LRT tracks such as Northfield drive, left or right turns by vehicles have been restricted
· Beginning January 1, 2017 cars are not allowed to stop or park on LRT tracks.
· Driving on LRT tracks is prohibited.
· Drivers may cross over tracks at intersections but may not stop on them at any time.
· The Caroline and Erb Street Intersection will be more complicated. There are no longer left turns allowed from Caroline onto Erb. Left turns will e restricted to busses.
Regional Councillor Tom Galloway has indicated to the public that there will be more changes to road rules once the trains start running next year. He notes that the trains will have the ability to trigger traffic signal changes to move through intersections at ease, and to allow the transit system to operate rapidly and on time.
Some have criticized the LRT planners for trying to discourage auto use anywhere near the tracks, and at this point taxi drivers are trying to make a compromise that would allow them direct access to the downtown bus terminal. The new LRT design has forced the taxi stand to be moved out of line of site and a considerable distance from the front doors of the terminal. Several local businesses seem to have had access to them restricted as well, forcing clientele to travel much further than before in order to get to the shops.
As with all new things, there will be a learning curve with the new LRT system. I hope it isn’t a long one, like the round-a-bout curve has been.