10/17/16

PARTS-walk


Come out next Sunday and talk with your neighbours about how you would like to see future development of the Mt. Hope area of our neighbourhood:



10/13/16

MHBPNA-2016AGM

Please come out to your 2016 AGM. Meet your neighbours and learn about what is going on it our area. We would love to chat with you.

Click on image below:


9/22/16

Octoberfest on a budget.....

You are invited to: OKTOBERFESTHAUS 

The Kitchener Oktoberfest Lions Club is offering free tickets to residents of the Olde Towne Neighbourhood or the Mt. Hope - Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood. 

The Kitchener Oktoberfest Lions Club, for 18 years, had our Oktoberfest Haus Festhall in the Tent on Frederick Street (outside Crabby Joe's) in Downtown Kitchener. We now have to leave because ION (the new LRT) will be installed on this section of roadway. But we are pleased to announce we have a new Festhall location – we are going to the Kitchener Market – the Upper Level. We believe this location will provide us with a comfortable and attractive venue with a genuine Festhall "feel". We want to make this the Downtown's Festhall, and more importantly, your local and convenient community Festhall. The capacity of our Hall is 475 people. 

As a new Festhall we recognize that we need to establish ourselves in the community's mind. We've decided to invite the six Neighbourhoods around the Festhall as our Guests (free). In this regard, we would like you to join us for "Meet Your Neighbours Night" on Saturday, October 15th , from 7:00pm to 1:00am. (Regular admission is $15). We will have a number of restaurants open to serve you, including "Every Day Gourmet", "Bolero Pizza and Pasta House", and "The Apple Fritter". We have a great band lined up, lots of beer, German Dancers, and of course, an extensive schnapps bar. 

We plan on having a lot of fun, including a polka and chicken dance contest. To reserve free tickets for yourselves, your family and friends, email me directly at boutiliers@bell.net indicating the number of tickets, and that you are with the Olde Towne or Mt. Hope - Breithaupt Park neighbourhood. Tickets are on a first come-first served basis. I will deliver the tickets at the end of September. 

In closing I want you to know that all money made by the Kitchener Oktoberfest Lions Club at the Festhall is donated to the St. Mary's Hospital Foundation, the Grand River Hospital Foundation, Guide Dogs Canada and a number of local Lions charities. We are all unpaid Volunteers. We hope you can join us. 

Thank you, Terry Boutilier, Kitchener-Oktoberfest Lions Club

9/18/16

AGM and Constitutional Changes



Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) is scheduled for Saturday, October 15th, from 10 am to 12 pm at the Breithaupt Centre


We will have a summary of our activities for the past year and will have a few guest speakers.

We will have coffee, water and some fruit and veggies for you to munch on.

For the kids: virtually unlimited LEGO!

There are SEVERAL positions on our executive that will be open for the coming year. Please consider running for the board and helping out our community.

We will also be voting on our updated constitution. We have added two new "Member at Large" positions. And we have added the provision that we will elect members to the board at the AGM and they can have some time to decide on the specific position they wish to occupy. 

Both these changes are intended to make participating in our Neighbourhood Association easier and more flexible. Not everyone understands all the issues and requirements for "Co-Chair", or "Events Director" etc. so this allows you to get involved and decide later on the specific role. The first page is below and the entire 2016 Draft constitution can be viewed here. The file is called "MHBPNA Constitution draft- 2016.pdf".

For further information please contact us at mhbpna@gmail.com





9/16/16

What's in a Name?

What's in a name
What's in a Name: The Mount Hope, Breithaupt Park, Huron Park, Midtown, North Ward Neighbourhood(s)

Geographic areas are named so they have an identity and community. These can change over time just like language evolves. History and usage combine to identify regions and neighbourhoods. Change can happen suddenly, like the shift from "Berlin" to "Kitchener," or it can take more time, like the evolution of "downtown" Kitchener and "uptown" Waterloo. Part of "Stirling Avenue North" became "Wedgewood Drive" after the Conestoga Parkway was developed and the two parts were separated. "Regina Street" in Waterloo used to be named "Queen" but when the two cities agreed to consolidate naming to avoid confusion many street names were changed.

If you look on some older maps, the current Lippert Park at Weber and Louisa used to be named "Huron Park". It was created after a developer donated 2.5 acres of land in 1936. The land was a series of lots on two unopened streets: Huron Street was planned to run from Weber into the park and Augusta would have run from Wilhelm to the end of Huron Street. Neither street was ever built yet the park was named after a street that never existed.

In 1998 the City of Kitchener and our Neighbourhood Association (MHBPNA) did a safety audit of the park which resulted in the city doing a cleanup of trees, bushes etc. which made it much more welcoming. In 2015-2016 the park underwent a huge upgrade with a dog park, new playground equipment and a much improved tennis court and basketball courts.

In 2004 members of the Lippert Family approached City Hall asking that the name of the park be changed to George Lippert Park to commemorate this well known industrialist and community builder. The Lippert furniture factory had been located very close to the park, so the city agreed to the name change (the renaming also avoided confusion with the Huron Industrial Park and the Huron Natural Area).

Breithaupt Park/Street/Community Centre are all named after Louis Jacob Breithaupt who was an important businessman and politician in "Berlin's" early years (Breithaupt was Mayor of Berlin, manager of the Breithaupt Leather Company, president of the Berlin Gas Company and was also associated with other manufacturing businesses). Many members of the Breithaupt family are buried in the Mt. Hope cemetery.

The Mount Hope neighbourhood is named after the Mount Hope cemetery which occupies a large amount of land in this area. According to the City of Kitchener it is "our oldest active cemetery with records dating back to the late 1700's. Actually, Mount Hope is two cemeteries, the original Mount Hope (known at one time as Greenbush Cemetery) which was Protestant, and Roman Catholic Mount Hope cemetery operated by Sacred Heart Church" until 1958 when the city took over operation of both.

And Mount Hope is actually a "mount", or hill from which one can look down toward the City of Kitchener's core. When I led Jane's Walks in the past I called Mount Hope Kitchener's "industrial Suburb" because it was built out of the downtown area and across the tracks. It seems close now, but it was a very separate neighbourhood. The train tracks facilitated industrial development such as the Tannery, Krug Furniture and many other businesses. Many of the workers lived in the area and walked to work in the factories. There were over a dozen corner stores selling food and other goods. There was a strong Polish influence with Sacred Heart Church at the core. Mount Hope's history with the cemetery, manufacturing and the recent development of technology companies, two ION stops and the Transit Hub makes it an exciting place to live and learn about its past even as it rushes towards the future.

Mount Hope (or part of it) is sometimes called "Midtown" because it is between "downtown" Kitchener and "uptown" Waterloo. Of course these are two different cities but many people feel like KW is really one big town. (In fact, a few years ago several people, including some CEOs of tech companies, lobbied for politicians to investigate amalgamation in order to bring a bigger voice to discussions with other levels of government and although Kitchener agreed to consider the idea the Waterloo population voted against it). Some real estate agents love the phrase "Midtown" because it has a hip urban vibe to it and (they hope) it extends some of the upscale prices of Waterloo into our own small part of Kitchener. I guess for some people "Mount Hope" sounds old and stodgy while "Breithaupt" is hard to pronounce and spell. Why not replace one or both with the easier "Midtown", a name that has no history or real meaning except "between uptown and downtown." The midtownkw twitter account acknowledges this definition problem thusly: "In the neglected expanse between Uptown and Downtown lies the absurdity of our community".

No one knows what area "Midtown" encompasses. One real estate agent sent out his brochure with a map showing more than the entire Mount Hope area (King to Weber, Victoria to Union) branded as "Midtown". Developmental discussions of a few years ago sought to brand the area of King, from Union to William as "Midtown" as a spur to development. The City of Kitchener decided to ignore its organized neighbourhoods and designated much of the Cherry Park Neighbourhood and the Mount Hope Cemetery areas as "Midtown" for the purposes of its PARTS study. The KWMidtown instagram account folks have decided it includes a large amount of the Cherry Park Neighbourhood, all of Mount Hope and a third of Breithaupt Park and some of Waterloo as well!

Perhaps the appeal of "Midtown" is that because no one knows what it is exactly, it can be anything we want. Even if we disagree where it is, or if it even exists, we love that it sounds exciting and "forward thinking".

"Mount Hope - Breithaupt Park" (MHBP) is an area designated by the city as a "neighbourhood" like Central Frederick, Auditorium, Cherry Park etc. It has a neighbourhood association (http://mhbpna.blogspot.ca and www.mhbpna.org) that has existed for over 35 years. Like all organizations the NA has had periods of both intense activity and lethargy. It has funded neighbourhood events, run programs at the Breithaupt Community Centre (vegetarian cooking, self defense for women, Lego for kids etc.) and organized events like Winterfest, Soap Box Derby, Earth Day Cleanup and much more.

MHBP is a large geographic area and the NA exists to help people do whatever they want to encourage community. Obviously the area is full of much smaller groups of people interested in diverse activities like soccer, potluck dinners, songwriting, urban activism, gardening etc.

Finally, the name we hear the least seems to be the "North Ward". This is derived from the fact we are in Ward 10 and are in the furthest "north" part of that area. ("North" can be confusing because because King Street runs north-south in Waterloo but magically changes to west-east when it hits Kitchener, but that is another story). The phrase North Ward is occasionally used by residents who have been here over 30 years and refers to the whole Mount Hope - Breithaupt park area. North Ward is a little vague and the word "ward" means "an administrative division of a city or borough" but also "a person, usually a minor, under the care and control of a guardian". I suspect we don't use North Ward that often because it doesn't have a clear geographical definition and it sounds vaguely paternal.

So welcome to our hood, no matter what you call it!

9/6/16

152 Shanley Update (sort of)




Many Mount Hope residents were happy to read the article in The Record about the city finally offering this building up for sale. That article was published on January 11, 2016 and on September 6th, 2016 the building is still not up for sale. Interesting. 

In the past I have met with our councillor Sarah Marsh to discuss this property and over the summer I've asked for updates several times. Councillor Marsh assures me she has been advocating with staff regularly to move forward on the steps required for the sale.

The latest information is that there are "several interested parties" and that the city is putting together some kind of "package" for potential buyers to understand the issues with the property and the options that exist for Brownfield incentives. 

The property is expected to go on sale "sometime in the fall". 

Even if the property is purchased it will take some time to fulfill the Ministry of the Environment's requirements so cleanup and new construction would be at least a few years away. 

Certainly this property is in a prime location with the Transit Hub, Google, the Tannery and all the other development happening in our area. It is also situated amongst a lot of really nice people! 

On the other hand, its primary redevelopment purpose will be for condos and townhouses and we already have City Centre, One Victoria and the Midtown Condos either completed or in development. There will also be the "100 Victoria" development, a proposed rebuild of the current King's Crossing Plaza and the Transit Hub is also planning on having condos as part of its plan. How many condos will we need in downtown Kitchener before the market is saturated?

We will post any more updates on this Blog and for background information on this property please read the posts here and here

Ted Parkinson
CoChair MHBPNA

8/25/16

Big Breithaupt Campout!

Everyone is welcome to come to our "big campout". We are a "big tent" kind of Neighbourhood, except everyone will have their own smaller tents!

click on image:

 

8/23/16

Updates for Spur Line Trail and Weber Street



Many residents have expressed their concern to MHBPNA about the state the newly planted trees along the Spur Line trail. Many of them are dying.

Also, the sidewalks along Weber St on both sides, south of the Spur Line, are supposed to be "mixed use" so cyclists and pedestrians will share. But there are no signs indicating this and people are confused.

On a related note residents complained about the large gravel area around Lippert Park at the intersection of Louisa and Weber. It is waiting for a large water valve that is on order but there were many weeds and garbage. After having this drawn to their attention (by local residents emailing their elected officials as well as staff) the Region has cleaned it up! 

We asked the Region about the trees and signage issues and this is their reply:


Trees along the Waterloo Spur Line Trail – We are aware of the poor condition of the trees planted as part of the Waterloo Spur Line Trail and understand the concern for their health. The lack of rain this year has not helped in this matter. However, this does not excuse the fact that the Spur Line contractor is required to maintain the trees in a “healthy and viable condition until final acceptance”. Final acceptance will not occur until after a two year warrantee period has expired. The warrantee period has not yet begun as the Trail project is not yet complete. Having said that, many of the trees will require replacement at the contractors cost. The contract requires that replacement trees be installed in the ”next planting season” which would be this fall. It is our intent to do an inspection of the Trail, including all the plant materials, early this fall once all the work is complete. This will result in a listing of trees to be replaced. Trees which die during the warrantee period will also have to be replaced at the contractors expense.


Multi-use Trail signage on Weber Street – We have requested that the Regions Traffic staff determine what signage would be appropriate for the multi-use trail on Weber Street and what bylaw requirements would have to be implemented . Once this has been determined, we will be able to have the signs made and installed. We expect that the signage could be installed by early fall.
 


8/22/16

Soapbox Derby: 2016 Edition!

SoapBox Derby 2016


The above photo shows two fathers, two racers and our safety supervisor.


Please read the excellent article in the Record about our 2016 Derby. Thanks to all the people who volunteered to make this possible and to the folks on Edwin Street who agreed to close down their street for the Saturday morning. It was a great day and the kids had fun!






Safety first! Hay bales protect errant drivers from colliding with something dangerous. (click for larger images)



Coming down! The Edwin Street hill was much faster than Louisa where we were last year. Take your bike over there and cruise down yourself!


8/1/16

VIctoria Common, Update and FAQ



Many people are wondering how Victoria Common is coming along, how large it will grow and what we can expect in the next couple of years. MHBPNA sent a list of questions to Joey Tsang, Director of Sales and Marketing and he provided the following answers:

We see the Victoria Common project really moving along. Most of the town-homes are done, and the first of the condo buildings. What can we expect to see from now until completion?

As the building gets more and more complete, the first thing you can expect are moving trucks as homeowners are taking possession of their homes. The biggest change you will see, from the exterior of the building, would the landscaping and paving. We are adding street parking spots on the St. Leger side by cutting spaces into the grass area, so we do not take away from the road. Landscaping with armour stones, retaining walls, and nice greenery will be added around the building to create a better streetscape.

When will the full project be complete? Does this depend on sales?

We had planned out 10 years for this project. We are on the 3rd year. Projects are always partially dependent on sales; if you don’t have that many sales, you should not build the buildings. That being said, our first and second buildings had reached the proper sales numbers for us to build, but weather is a huge factor along with workers, city etc.

Are you finding the people purchasing these units are from the Kitchener area, or are you finding some are moving in from the GTA?

We find a bit of both. We have had young couples that have lived in the GTA for years and are now moving into KW to work. We also see older folks, who grew up in this area, moved away to the suburbs, and now are looking to come back.

What do you feel is attracting people to the Victoria Common development?

The architecture and master plan is a big reason people come to Victoria Common. The area amenities and the location that we have to the downtown adds to its allure; residents want to be close to the city for its transportation and amenities, while being far enough to have a sense of neighbourhood and its own character.

Price is also a huge factor as we are one of the most economically priced projects in the area while still providing the finishes that people are looking for and underground parking. Let’s face it, no one wants to shovel snow in the winter, off their driveways, or their cars.



We had heard that the condos are some of the ‘greenest’ being developed in Canada. Can you tell us what features are being included to achieve this?
The biggest qualifier is our geothermal system partnered with the Mitsubishi VRF system. This reduces the greenhouse gases that are created by running an AC unit or the traditional boilers as the heating and cooling is generated from within the ground. The VRF system efficiently moves the air around, balancing all sides of the building to reduce waste in the ventilation system.

We also have solar panels that will be subsidizing the hydro uses for exterior lighting. Again reducing energy consumption. All common areas are motion sensored; areas that are vacant will have dimmed lights and only when a resident walks into the area will the lights come on.

What are some of the features of the piazza? Will there be space for businesses?

The Piazza will be a large public space with a park on one end and shoppes in the center. This will be where neighbours can meet each other and events can be planned by community groups.

Aside from the remediation challenge, have you had to deal with any others through the process?

Remediation was a huge challenge, but getting people to understand re-urbanization has been no easy feat. It is a relatively new concept, but a concept that is picking up speed throughout the Kitchener-Waterloo area. How you combine good living space with convenience and efficiency is always a challenge.






When complete, total number of units townhouses and condos?

Townhomes will be 220 and condos will sit just a little over 600

How many tonnes of soil were remediated?

90,000

Total cost to remediate soil?

Over $9 million

Strangest thing found onsite during construction?

Wooden pipes that were used prior to concrete pipes being introduced. We have them on display in the Museum.

Number of Condo buildings and floors of each?

We have 5 buildings. The first one being 4 storeys, second will be 6 storeys. 3rd and 4th will have 8 and the last building will have 12.

Number of townhomes?

220

Average price of a townhome/condo?

Townhomes are sold out, so I can’t even give you a number. Condos are sitting at $250,000 average, with an underground parking spot.

All information current as of August 1, 2016


7/28/16

Crime and Safety (again)




Each year we have reports from residents about crime in our area. Bikes are stolen (either from in front of the house where they were 'just left for a minute' or even from the back yard or a shed). Cars are rummaged through, or broken into overnight. Purses may be stolen and possessions "disappear" off our porches.

There is no simple answer to crime prevention. Police have a limited number of officers available throughout the day and night and generally respond to calls and watch over traffic rather than "patrol" all the time.

My wife and I have lived in MHBP for over 18 years and have had our car stolen and house broken into in that time (both events occurred many years ago but still leave their mark). It always seems "personal" when crime happens, but it happens everywhere in the city and you can even follow "incidents" online.

I urge everyone to read through this article I posted a few years back because all the advice is still good and the links work (I just tested and updated them). Making our homes secure, watching the street, talking in a friendly way with visitors and engaging with neighbours are all ways to prevent crime.

Ted Parkinson
CoChair MHBPNA

7/24/16

Traffic and MHBPNA Advocacy

On July 8th of last year (2015), three Mt. Hope residents came out to a Neighbourhood Association meeting and voiced their concerns about the speed of vehicles driving along Waterloo St.  The increase in traffic flow because of the closure of King (and what seems like any other street that gets you anywhere) was spurring a noticeable increase in the through traffic.  



As a response to this concern the MHBPNA, contacted the Waterloo Regional Police Services, and worked with our Community Resource Officer to bring attention to this issue.  

On August 20th, we were assured that Waterloo St would be added to the STEP program (Selective Traffic Enforcement Program).  This program helps designate time for enforcement in our hood.  This is the right path to slowing traffic by increasing the police presence and ticketing careless drivers.

This summer (2016) we heard of some enforcement happening in the Waterloo St area, and inquired to see if this was part of STEP.  It actually was not.  We learned that our STEP was run in the last quarter of 2015, October 1st to December 31st.  Most of the bad drivers had already found better routes around the construction.  Nonetheless, 1 hour total was spent specifically performing, STEP, and yielded no charges.

In February of 2016, after another meeting with our Community Resource Officer, an internal request for more enforcement along Waterloo St was made by our CRO.



As for Highway Traffic Act charges on Waterloo St that were a result of regular patrols, vehicle stop, etc: 12 charges have been laid.  These range from driving under suspension, equipment infractions and administrative charges.

Recently we spoke again with our Community Resource Officer about traffic.  It happened to be outdoors, and we could hear cars on other roads squealing tires, and revving engines.  He wasn’t surprised and stated that it happens in every neighbourhood, including his own.  The only way to truly enforce speed in neighbourhoods is to use photo radar.  The reality is there are 15 officers on duty at any given time, and between mental health issues, car accidents, etc, our officers are taxed.

It’s not that officers don’t care about our neighbourhood, or the bad drivers, it’s that there are many other issues happening all shift long.  As demonstrated above, 1 hour in 4 months won’t solve the problems we all see exist regarding traffic in our hood.  

This story is an example of how advocacy works. There are no simple answers to issues like traffic calming but it helps to understand the problem and the resources that are available. Some residents along Waterloo St. have erected hand-made signs asking drivers to slow down and the Region has posted many black and orange “Drive Slow” signs in Mt. Hope so these might help as well.
The MHBPNA has spent several hours meeting with police and other officials over this one issue and we will continue to monitor traffic across our ‘hood (getting the 50K signs installed on Weber St is another example of our work with politicians and staff).

We welcome residents to continue attending our meetings and talk to us about their concerns.

Finally, please be a good driver!  Call out bad drivers! Make it a habit to travel in your hood under 40km/h.  Bet you won’t even notice how much longer it will take you to get home.

mhbpna@gmail.com

7/19/16

The Urban Orchard



Two years ago, I read an article about the Urban Orchards being set up in Seattle.  There have been many built around North America, but I was intrigued by the version described in the article.  I wondered if our NA could support something like this, and how it would all come together.  

Over the past two years, I have done a great deal of research, met many people doing agriculture work on City property, and talked to anyone I could about an Urban Orchard in our ‘hood.  For the most part, I found everyone, including the City, to be very supportive of this idea.  One of the most supportive was Adam Spencer, a local trained Horticulture Technician, who has agreed to help spearhead the project.

July 21st 7:00-8:30pm
Room 109 Breithaupt Centre

As I talked to people around the City, it was hard to distinguish what an Urban Orchard is, and how it differs from a Community Garden.  An Urban Orchard is a planting of trees, fruit bearing shrubs, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and other native fruit bearing plants.  This type of Urban Orchard is relatively self sufficient.  Once a year, volunteers would need to prune back the previous years growth to encourage new growth, and weeds need to be kept at bay.  That is about it. Community Gardens have much more administration and mainly benefit the people who manage their plots.  An Urban Orchard benefits all who walk through it, is open for all to enjoy and anyone is welcome to "harvest". 



In May of 2016, the MHBPNA, agreed to support this initiative, and our first meeting is set for July 21st 2016 from 7:00-8:30pm in Room 109 at the Breithaupt Centre.  While we have lots of ideas of what we would like; ultimately, it will come down to the Urban Garden that the community wants to build, in the location the community wants.

If you cannot attend this meeting, please email us and we will keep you updated. 

Lane Burman
CoChair MHBPNA



6/25/16

Graffiti Busters

When the Region originally shared the plans for the Weber St. widening the MHBPNA discussed with them the problem of graffiti. They did not adjust their design and graffiti has been a problem for the area around Weber and Victoria. It has been cleaned up but only after we have brought it to their attention.  As of June 2016, this area is still the responsibility of the contractor.

In the past few weeks we have heard complaints about graffiti along the Spur Line trail. We walked the trail three weeks ago and were startled by the amount we discovered. We contacted several City of Kitchener and Regional politicians as well as Regional staff because we were unsure who was currently responsible for the trail. We sent them several photos we had taken so they could understand the severity of the problem. It took staff more than two weeks to respond so while we were waiting we arranged an appointment with Gloria McNeil  who is the Interim Director of By-Law for the City of Kitchener. She was happy to meet on the trail and walk along it for an inspection.

[A side note is warranted here because, Gloria has been a great help to our community for many years. The Neighbourhood Mobilization Alliance met for over 10 years to discuss with By-Law, Police and Fire issues in our MHBP area and Gloria attended some of those meetings and was always helpful. She has also responded to many of our complaints about 152 Shanley].



Gloria was startled by the state of the trail and it took her several emails and communications to find out who was responsible. We also received a detailed response from Peter Linn, the project manager for the Spur Line and Weber Widening from the Region around the same time.

It seems that the work is still not finished on the trail and the contractor has several issues to resolve. Ultimately the trail will be the responsibility of the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo (though most of it is in Kitchener). But for now the Region is still responsible and that is who ultimately cleaned it up. We were very happy with the speed at which the issue was resolved after the city of Kitchener became involved. 



The Mt. Hope - Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association has also advocated for vines and other foliage to be planted along the walls of the trail as this is one of the best ways to discourage graffiti (the other way to discourage it is to report it and clean it quickly). The Region has already agreed to plant along the noise barrier walls along Weber St.

6/14/16

Margaret Ave Resurfacing Update

On Wednesday June 1st, the MHBPNA had a unique opportunity to provide input to the City of Kitchener regarding the Margaret Ave Bike Lanes from a neighbourhood perspective.  We invited some members of our neighbourhood on a “ride along” Margaret Ave. and Union St. 




You may remember back in 2012, the City announced that Margaret Avenue was going on a ‘diet’.  Their plan was to narrow the lanes, define the parking spots and bike lanes.  The first attempt at this was not well implemented.  There were a lot of jogs, and the lines were not painted smoothly.  When we complained the City agreed and we heard of a ‘shave and pave’* of Margaret Ave with new painted bike lanes.  Then the Margaret Ave Bridge crisis occurred and the construction was put on hold.  The City then painted the lanes to a new configuration that took into account some of the concerns of riders and residents. Unfortunately, again the lines were not painted well, the paint truck broke down and this led to a mess in some places that confused a lot of people.

One point we should make about road painting is that the lines degrade much more quickly than in the past.  The Government of Ontario no longer allows epoxy to be applied to roads so only water based paints can be used.  Water based paint wears much more quickly so no matter how you paint, it will wear off.  The option of thermoplast, where a plastic is melted to the road surface is available, but is very costly. This process is generally restricted to things like the bike icons on the streets.

Every now and then we touch base with the transportation department.  One of the questions asked was about the ‘shave and pave’*.  We were thrilled to learn that it would be happening this summer (2016).

The City of Kitchener was willing to meet with us on bikes to ride the lanes and talk about some of the issues we saw prior to any work being done.  This was a great opportunity to learn about their planning process and to get answers to questions about some of the other designs we see around the world.

Some points we made included the poor quality of the painting, the poor quality of the actual bike lane, the jogs that still exist at Blucher St, and Guelph St, the varying widths of the lanes, and the inconsistency of the signage both on the road and on a post.



The city was aware of many of these issues and we were pleased with their  responses to our questions. They had been over this route frequently on their bikes and wanted to make it better.

We learned that there will be some challenges around the pedestrian island at the Giant Tiger.  The city is planning to widen the road slightly (and cut into the existing boulevard) to allow the bike lanes to be wider through this area, one of the tightest areas on the route.  We also learned that the painting will be done by the contractor and that there will indeed be a redesign to ensure it is more comfortable to ride for all ages.

It was very interesting discussing the importance of cycling in our community with people that are on our side.  The City of Kitchener has many people who are committed to biking and the Cycling Master Plan is alive and well and being looked at constantly.  My suggestion?  Buy a bike.

* A ‘shave and pave’, refers to a process where a series of machines work inline to first shave the top layer of asphalt, crush it, heat it and repave the road.  The road will be a lot smoother for both bikes and cars.

Lane Burman
CoChair MHBPNA

5/20/16

Transit Hub: Your Opinion Matters


 


The Region of Waterloo put on a great display about the Transit Hub yesterday. They are seeking input on the Waterloo Street entrance and there are three options. 

If you could not make it to their presentation the display panels are on this page and you can still provide input into the design by clicking on the "Engage Region of Waterloo" link. Please contribute to the discussion!

Waterloo St. will have an entrance for local residents to access the hub via walking or biking. Duke St. will be the main "bike path" access and there are plans for a bike and walking path from Duke to King and past (eventually connecting with the Iron Horse Trail).

To clarify: staff are seeking input into the Waterloo St. entrance to the hub. The size and configuration of the actual hub is still to be determined and will depend on the private partner(s), market forces, other downtown development and the timing of the eventual heat death of the universe (this last point is more for long term planning).

5/16/16

Transit Hub Public Information Session

The following is from the Region of Waterloo's website:

 

The King & Victoria Transit Hub

The Region of Waterloo has purchased land at the north-east corner of King and Victoria streets for a transit hub. The lands extend north to the rail line and east to Duke Street. The future transit hub will connect many different types of transportation including ION light rail transit, Grand River Transit, expanded GO train and bus, VIA Rail, Greyhound, Coach Canada, CarShare, pedestrians and cyclists. Travellers will be able to make smooth, accessible and convenient connections at the new transit hub.

The transit hub vision is to be more than a place to connect to transit. It will bring people and businesses to Waterloo Region and connect them to the Toronto-Waterloo Region technology corridor.

Come explore the plans for the future transit hub

The Region of Waterloo and the City of Kitchener invite you to explore the plans for the future transit hub at an open house.

Date: May 19, 2016
Time: 4 to 8 p.m.
Location: Regional Administrative Headquarters, 150 Frederick St., Kitchener


At the open house, you can find out about the transit hub plan and site options. You'll also be able to provide your thoughts on the Waterloo Street design concepts and pedestrian overpass/underpass options. Staff will be present to answer your questions.

5/13/16

We had a meeting!

Every month the MHBPNA has an "executive" meeting which is open to the public. These occur on the first Wednesday (7 pm) or Saturday (10 am) of the month and are upstairs in the Breithaupt Centre.

We always have a basic agenda though "new business" is welcomed. The first hour is a general discussion of our neighbourhood, events, ideas, etc. The second hour is "executive discussion." The public can still attend and talk but only executive members can vote on motions.

The next meeting will always be shown on our website here on the top right under "Calendar". 

At our last meeting (May 7th) we discussed:

--Our meetings with Regional planners over the Transit Hub and Waterloo Street options
--A Victoria Common newsletter that is getting started and how we can reach out to the folks who are living there now.
--The timing and content for our next physical newsletter
--A review of our very successful Earth Day Cleanup (a co-project with the Mary Allen neighbourhood of Waterloo). We had over 40 people come to our section of the Spur Line trail and collected several bags of garbage and wound up some thick cable left behind by the company building the trail. And we almost won the "most interesting item" contest!
--Update on Lippert Park. Apparently it should be done by July and they are resurfacing the tennis/basketball courts.
--We have MANY exciting programs in the fall which include: Creative Lego (ages 4-6), Mechanical Lego (ages 7-8), Daytime Lego (ages 9-12), Introduction to Aromatherapy and some Vegetarian Cooking classes. We will announce these in more detail when registration is open for them and we have definite time slots.

Everyone in Mt Hope - Breithaupt Park is welcome to attend our meetings. Find out what is going on in our area. If you are planning an event we can help with ideas and perhaps provide some funding.

5/10/16

2016 Jane's Walk Weekend a Success!



Jane's Walk 2016 had a great turnout in Waterloo region and especially in our MHBP neighbourhood. There were several walks that included MHBP including Wayne's Mt. Hope Cemetery Walk (the theme this year was the 1916 name change from Berlin to Kitchener....we came close to living in Brock!), a walk on the Spur Line starting at Smile Tiger Coffee, a "children's initiated" walk in Duke Street Playground and our own MHBPNA sponsored walk starting at the historic Greb shoe factory and progressing along Breithaupt Street while discussing both history and urban renewal.

We all had a great chance to learn a few things about Kitchener, Waterloo and other areas. And, perhaps most important, we met our neighbours and talked about places and people. 

MHBPNA will have more events in the summer and fall. Please stay tuned!

4/17/16

Spur Line Trail is "officially" open

On Friday April 15th, politicians, Municipal and Regional Staff and a few residents gathered to block the Waterloo Spur Line Trail for the official ribbon cutting ceremony.  This irony was not lost on Mayor Vrbanovic, who commented on it.




It was great to see so much support for the trail from the politicians.  Catherine Fife’s representative specifically mentioned the support the Mary Allen Neighbourhood Association and the Mt Hope Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association have given to the project.

Tom Galloway, one of our Regional Councillors, also took the opportunity to announce that there has been a resolution regarding the ‘jog’ in the trail between Roger and Moore.  This is good news for everyone.

Eventually, the multi use trail will run parallel to the rail corridor and into the Transit Hub at King and Victoria.  Through some new funding the Spur Line trail will be continued through Uptown to Waterloo Park in the coming year.

There is still some tweaking of the lights to be done.  By the end of April, the software that controls the lights should be able to dim them in the late evening hours.  The LED lights installed have a very intense light that is tightly focused on the ground.  This helps to minimize overall light pollution. 

Join us next Saturday (April 23) to celebrate Earth Day as we join forces with the Mary Allen Neighbourhood Association to clean up the trail.  We will be meeting at Wilhelm and Weber St at 9:30am and the cleanup will end with a BBQ hosted by the MANA at Mary Allen Park at 11:00am.  Bring gloves if you can, we will supply bags.

Lane Burman
CoChair MHBPNA 
photo by "Joan"

4/14/16

Do you like to write? We can help.....



As you may recall in 2015 MHBPNA worked with residents on the "Pen Pal" project which was a great success. It ended in a final picnic.

Guess what? We still have paper, envelopes and stamps left over! Do you like to write? Please email us at mhbpna@gmail.com if you would like any of these very cool packages. You do not need to have participated in the Pen Pal project, you just need to be a MHBP resident who enjoys writing.

4/10/16

Sometimes Ice is Nice

As we wind our way towards the promised land of summer we should remember the terrible beauty of our 'mini-icestorm' of a couple of weeks ago. Certainly it was not as brutal as a few years ago but some trees did lose branches. One thing that always occurs after the worst subsides is that our neighbourhood fills up with photographers hitting the streets. 

Ice storms offer unusual  and exciting photography opportunities. Nature covers itself in a potentially deadly sheath of ice, threatening the existence of trees and shrubs. Yet, eventually it melts and the majority of the landscape survives.

Here are some photos that MHBP neighbours shared (we put a callout on our Facebook page). Enjoy these photos (from Sharon, Lane, Joan, Ted and others) and think ahead to the end of this week when the forecast is promising to be +10c and sunny!

As always, "click to enlarge".