10/27/13

Ahrens Street Proposal

One of our residents sent this thoughtful email to a few Regional Councillors and we felt it was worthwhile posting on our Blog.

Today, the Margaret Ave Bridge is coming down after months of sitting closed to motor vehicle and (officially) pedestrian access.

Currently, the closest alternate crossings of the rail corridor for pedestrians only exist at Weber and St. Leger, necessitating a 800m-1000m (15 minute walking) detour for those looking to get to the other side.

When GO trait service began in Kitchener in 2011, the level crossing at Ahrens Street was closed in order to extend the Kitchener train platform. To quote the sign posted on the fence, the crossing has been "closed forever" for all uses.

Understanding that the Margaret Ave crossing will be closed until at least 2014, and given the current construction of Weber, I believe it would be pragmatic to for the City, Region, Metrolinx, and CN/Goderich Exeter to explore the possibility of re-opening pedestrian access across the rail corridor at Ahrens/Gzowski St. Such a crossing would continue to be used to access the Kitchener train station and the businesses on Victoria St from the Breithaupt/Mt. Hope neighbourhood.

The crossing would approach the rail corridor at a right angle to encourage cyclists to slow down while making the rail crossing. A precedent for this type of pedestrian crossing already exists north of Agincourt GO station in Scarborough at Marilyn Ave: http://goo.gl/maps/pe9Tr  Although nice, crossing gates may not be required; static signage would probably be enough given current rail volumes.

Please feel free to circulate this email and take this idea under consideration with your staff to what is possible in the short-term given the circumstances.

Thank-You,
Duncan Clemens

10/22/13

Breithaupt Park Rehabilitation Update

Last week, several members of our community attended the information session the city ran to update everyone on the Breithaupt Park rehabilitation effort. 

We were told several months ago that approximately $30,000 was being allocated for this park and our neighbourhood association was asked to present ideas for the city's efforts. 



We held a few meetings with city staff and posted a Blog entry about the process. Several interesting ideas were presented but around mid-summer we were informed that approximately $8,000 of the "park rehabilitation" money was being spent on a concrete walkway through the "accessible" garden on the side of the Breithaupt Centre. This limited the funds available for the rest of the park and so far we have received no final cost for the walkway. 

Our neighbourhood association is investigating how city money is allocated because it is not clear to us that the walkway, which sounds like 'infrastructure', should come from a 'rehabilitation' fund.

Throughout the summer the NA has worked to try and improve communication with the city and one result has been the city's information session where they presented a series of detailed display panels showing both implemented and proposed park updates. 

The Breithaupt Park Rehabilitation is detailed on the city's website here. At the bottom of the page are the "Open House Display Materials" and we urge everyone to look at these so you can understand the process and goals. Some good things have already happened with the park trails and more is planned for next spring.



The City of Kitchener is asking for input on some of the rehabilitation ideas. There is a link at the bottom of this page for a comment sheet you can print out and send to them, or you can use the other link to send an email message to Yvonne Cardoso with your comments.

For example, on the General Park Map there is a question on the bottom left: "Is this a valuable trail link and Access to Breithaupt Centre and park from Margaret Ave/Union Street"? Our NA would say "YES!" because this suggestion came out of our meetings.

It is great that the city is planting trees for shade around the splash pad, but they will not provide much protection for the families that use this facility for several years. We would like to see some kind of a ramada structure for shade built so we don't have to wait.

The Natural Trail Map shows two distinct groups of trails with the splash pad area in the middle. We would like to see a pedestrian/bike path go through this middle area to join the two trail systems. This way, you could easily walk or ride your bike from Margaret Ave, through the park and all the way to Lancaster. 

Please look through the material's on the city's website and send them your comments. Email us at mhbpna@gmail.com if you have any questions about our perspective.

10/17/13

MHBPNA 2013 Annual General Meeting

On Saturday, Oct 19, from 1 - 3 pm, in room 109 of the Breithaupt Centre, we are holding our Annual General Meeting. 

Much has happened over the past year and changes in our neighbourhood are ongoing. Weber Street widening, Transit Centre, Condo developments, gardens and new programs at the Breithaupt Centre have all created change and renewal. 

Please come out, meet your neighbours, have a coffee with us, find out about what your association has been doing and understand the issues we will face in the next year.

Dan Glenn-Graham (our city councillor) will speak and be able to answer your questions and Tim Ingold (from Victoria Common) will give us a presentation as well.

Take a couple of hours out of your busy weekend to help us engage on your behalf with the city and the region.

You can come just to see what is happening and if you are even more motivated, there are positions open on the executive. 

Click on image below for larger agenda:



Please email us at mhbpna@gmail.com if you would like to view the proposed amendments to the Constitution.

10/11/13

Read to a Dog Program


This program is run by people who live in our neighbourhood. You bring your child, 

they bring the dog! Click on image for larger size.




10/10/13

Margaret Avenue bridge update (from City of Kitchener)


KITCHENER – Staff awarded the contract for the Margaret Avenue bridge demolition on Wednesday to Bel-Air Excavating and Grading Ltd. out of Cambridge. On Sept. 9, council authorized staff to award the contract to have the bridge removed to keep this project moving forward in a timely manner.
The work is expected to start the week of Oct. 21, 2013 and be completed by early December. Access will be provided to businesses in the area and rail service will not be impacted. The total price before HST is $347K for the demolition and $95K for the temporary gas main support. The main is the primary feed to the Bridgeport area and needs to be in place to avoid natural gas outages in Bridgeport over the winter.
Staff has begun to develop the request for proposals (RFP) to get a new bridge design and will be providing a report to council on Oct. 21, 2013 with the proposed schedule. Staff is working hard to find ways to get the new bridge in place as quickly as possible.
We are also looking for ways to improve pedestrian, bicycle and traffic flow in the area. We recognize it’s a challenge for residents and businesses and will attempt to find the best interim solutions. 

10/3/13

Breithaupt Park Rehabilitation information session

Click on image for large poster. Please come out to the session.