The pedestrian gates at the Erb and Caroline LRT crossing have been permanently removed less than a month after the ION LRT began regular service.
Regional officials found gates at that location were unnecessary.
Waterloo Region’s Rapid Transit Coordination Manager Paula Sawicki says when the gates were first placed there, it was under the recommendation of the design engineer.
“Where they were located was causing a lot of uncomfortable-ness for the people using the intersection. There was a lot going on and we felt with the bells that are out there, and the lights and all the warnings that there were enough warnings for the pedestrians to know to look for the train and we removed the gates because of that.”
She says removing the gates would be one less obstruction for pedestrians to be able to get around in the area.
“Where they were located was right on the edge of where a pedestrian would naturally wait. The gates themselves had become an uncomfortable hazard for the people waiting there. So with the clearance from the engineer, we felt it was safe to remove them and not have that obstacle any longer.”
She says fencing is one reason why the gates near University Avenue and Waterloo Park are different.
“It’s a little more obvious that there’s a gate coming down. People see the fence and they’re not able to walk around them. They’re much more effective when there’s a fenced area, rather than when you don’t have a fenced area and people can just walk around them.”
Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky says the Erb and Caroline intersection is already complicated and the gates were nor helping.
“Removing the pedestrian gates is the right thing. It’s so that pedestrians can pay attention to the train, traffic, and not have to watch if the gates are coming down on them.”
He says the gates weren't really doing what they were intended to do for the area.
“The most widely used trail in Waterloo Region is right there. It’s an urban environment, pedestrians are already paying attention to all the traffic and the LRT and the buses around there.”
There are no other changes scheduled to take place at the Erb and Caroline intersection for now.