Former transit terminal in Kitchener to become parking for summer

Arrows and lines to create parking spaces have been painted in the former bus lanes at the closed transit terminal in downtown Kitchener. The area will be used for parking this summer, the region says. (Kate Bueckert/CBC - image credit)
Arrows and lines to create parking spaces have been painted in the former bus lanes at the closed transit terminal in downtown Kitchener. The area will be used for parking this summer, the region says. (Kate Bueckert/CBC - image credit)

White arrows and parking spots have been painted in the former bus lanes at the region's transit terminal in downtown Kitchener.

Fencing along Ontario Street S. has also come down and regional staff tell CBC News it's because the area will be used for parking in the coming months.

"We were requested to open up the Charles Street lanes for additional summer parking in the downtown core, supporting more residents attending festivals, events and patios in [downtown Kitchener]," the region's manager of corporate communications Lynsey Slupeiks said in an email.

The parking lot will soon be open and listed on the region's HONK parking app. The HONK parking rates will match the City of Kitchener rates for paid lots.

The Charles Street Terminal closed in June 2019 and buses were rerouted. It was turned into a drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre in 2020 during the pandemic but has sat empty since April 2022.

The region owns 88 per cent of the property and Kitchener owns 12 per cent of the approximately 10,500 square metre terminal.

Arrows and lines to create parking spaces have been painted in the former bus lanes at the closed transit terminal in downtown Kitchener. The area will be used for parkin this summer, the region says.
Arrows and lines to create parking spaces have been painted in the former bus lanes at the closed transit terminal in downtown Kitchener. The area will be used for parkin this summer, the region says.

The Charles Street Terminal closed in June 2019 and buses were rerouted. It was turned into a drive-thru COVID-19 testing centre in 2020 during the pandemic but has sat empty since April 2022. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

In July 2023, regional staff said the former terminal would be redeveloped for multiple uses, which could include bringing more affordable housing to the downtown core. Some local groups have also suggested the location of the terminal would be good for a community centre.

Contaminants found in soil and groundwater will need to be removed before the land, where the former Charles Street Terminal is located, can be redeveloped. Assessments completed last year found contaminants like lead and hydrocarbons in the site's soil at depths of less than 1.5 metres. Deeper soil was found to have waste contaminants from past demolition projects.

Slupeiks says planning for the Charles Street Terminal Redevelopment project is ongoing, "with the next phase of the community engagement beginning this fall."