By Ryan Flanagan
Kitchener Post staff
North Kitchener residents are concerned plans to widen Weber Street may result in a less walkable neighbourhood.
Members of the Mount Hope-Breithaupt Park Neighbourhood Association appeared before regional councillors Wednesday to ask for a crosswalk at the corner of Weber and Wilhelm streets.
“We recognize that we’re late into this process, but we’re here now and we’re asking for a small change to an otherwise very large project,” said neighbourhood association president Lane Burman.
Wilhelm crosses Weber Street between College and Union streets. That’s the portion of Weber which will be widened to four lanes in 2014.
Burman said crossing Weber in that neighbourhood is difficult enough with two busy lanes of traffic — especially for children and seniors — and two more lanes will only make it worse.
The widening plan currently calls for a concrete median at Wilhelm, but no crosswalk. Neighbourhood association member Chris Dewar said medians can be ‘intimidating’ and questioned whether the plans took into account additional pedestrian traffic to be brought into the neighbourhood with the 900-unit Victoria Commons residential subdivision planned for the end of Adam Street.
“It’s important to look at what the future is going to hold for this neighbourhood,” he said, also pointing to a proposed multi-use trail.
Councillors agreed to take another look at the proposal, with several speaking in favour of further study.
“I agree with the residents. I don’t think pedestrians have been given the full thought,” said Kitchener Coun. Jean Haalboom.
Councillors also heard from Ron McCarthy, a Weber Street homeowner concerned about how much of his property will be lost to the widening. He questioned whether it was necessary for the reconstructed road to include both a 1.8-metre sidewalk and a one-metre boulevard.