Creating great places in the Central Transit Corridor


Central Transit Corridor storefront on King W. in Kitchener

On Saturday night, I went on a Jane’s Walk with about 60 other people that examined four spaces in downtown Kitchener to determine if they were successful public spaces. Only Victoria Park was considered a success. The Centre in the Square area was considered a success but that was later reconsidered due to lack of good access to transit and trails and the lack of bike racks. The nearby food was also not considered to be a draw to the area.

On my Jane’s Walk on Sunday, my ideas for turning the Kitchener Market into a successful public space was met with spontaneous applause. I also mentioned the Central Transit Corridor Community building process and encouraged people to participate.

All five of these places were considered through the lens of the Power of 10 which is a way to evaluate public spaces to see how they can be successful places where people want to gather. It is a concept used by the Project for Public Spaces.

At the core of the Power of 10 is the idea that any great place itself needs to offer at least 10 things to do or 10 reasons to be there. These could include a place to sit, playgrounds to enjoy, art to touch, music to hear, food to eat, history to experience, and people to meet. Ideally, some of these activities are unique to that particular spot and are interesting enough to keep people coming back.  The local folks who use the space most regularly are the best source of ideas for what uses will work best.

This introduction is my way of trying to get you interested in the next part of the Central Transit Corridor Community Building process.

Central Transit Corridor Forum to focus on public spaces

The next forum of the Central Transit Corridor planning process is focusing on creating great places. There are several opportunities for you to be involved.

Walking Tour: The Uptown in Transition, Waterloo

May 15, 2012 – 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Meet at the Bell in Waterloo Town Square (corner of King Street and Willis Way) Please register for the tour here.

Led by City of Waterloo staff, the tour will introduce participants to recent developments and speak to current development proposals in the Uptown area. The focus will be on how new policy framework has assisted with the start of the Uptown’s transition to a more compact, urban environment that will support the use of rapid transit and still retain Uptown’s sense of community and identity.

Speaker: GB Arrington

Vice President and Principal Practice Leader at PB Placemaking

May 15, 2012 – Knox Presbyterian Church, 50 Erb St. W., Waterloo

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. Please register for this event here.

GB is internationally recognized as a leader in transit-oriented development (TOD). Australia’s Urban Development Institute says GB “is considered to be the world’s foremost authority on TOD policy, design and implementation.” His work has taken him across the United States, to China, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and the Caribbean. His innovative planning and community involvement strategies changed the face of transit and land use in the Portland region and received awards from the White House and the Federal Transit Administration.

Community Open Houses:

Cambridge – May 16, 2012 4 to 7 p.m. British Club – 35 International Village Dr., Cambridge

Kitchener – May 17, 2012 4 to 7 p.m. Project Storefront – 220 King St. W., Kitchener

I hope you will take advantage of one or more of these opportunities.

CTC Storefront

The project’s storefront is now open at 220 King St. W. in Kitchener and is open:

  • Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Thursday from noon to 5 p.m.
  • Fridays from noon to 4 p.m.

Drop by and learn more about the project and give your feedback.

P.S. Wouldn’t this location be great to permanently be a consultation centre for City of Kitchener and Region of Waterloo initiatives?

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