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Group pushing for change to proposed light rail transit route

File image. Photo: Mark Pare -570 NEWS.

Rapid transit has hit Stage Two of detailed planning from Kitchener to Cambridge.

But there’s a movement to change up a route that is said to be putting people’s homes in jeopardy in Preston Heights.

Terry Mycyk of the group “Stop the LRT Through Preston” tells 570 NEWS he has nothing against LRT development, but the route via Highway 8, King and Eagle Streets isn’t the greatest anyway.

“We’ve been looking at various routes, and we proposed a number of routes,” he said, “We think that some of our routes are very innovative and would suit the growth of the Region of Waterloo very well.”

One of those routes would see a shift away from the subdivision altogether.

“(From Sportsworld), we’d like to continue along the Expressway portion of Highway 8, continue down to the 401 and continue on the north side of the 401,” he said, “With visibility for the train on the 401…to Speedsville and cross over the 401 at that point.”

By doing so, Mycyk says they can do something nobody else along the 401 has done, and that’s create that visibility for the region for anyone coming through.

“There’s a huge benefit to being able to say ‘I’m from the Region of Waterloo’ when you can see the train going along the 401,” he said, “And I think that’s a major plus to the route we have chosen.”

“And going into the SmartCentre is something that is not proposed by the region. But the Smart Centre, for us, is a jump off point for the GO buses, for Grand River Transit…it’s also close enough to the 401 that people stopping in could jump on the LRT.”

This would take away the proposed stop at King and Eagle. Mycyk says that would eliminate some of the big problems they’re having.

“Highway 8 in Kitchener, coming down Shantz Hill,” he says, “Can you imagine? Going down Shantz Hill is like taking the LRT over Niagara Falls.”

Mycyk adds it’s a huge elevation change in a “very short” distance, which he sees as a safety issue for students who would use the bridge as an alternative walking route.

Gord Nicholls of the Deer Ridge Group notes the Preston area could still be serviced by bringing the train down Speedsville Road and putting a stop at Eagle and Concession Road.

Officials in the region are expected to release more route plans later in the spring.

You can learn more about Stage Two of LRT development here.