Frustration. Gridlock. You’re going to be late, again. Getting around doesn’t feel easy. In fact, it feels unnecessarily difficult. According to Metrolinx (a transportation agency of the Government of Ontario), the average Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) commuter spends 82 minutes trying to get to work every day. And, it’s only going to get worse as the Halton Region continues to grow. In the last 20 years, the Region has expanded by more than 188,000 people or 60 percent – that’s like adding in another Oakville!
By now, you may have heard of The “Big Move”, a 25-year, $50-billion dollar transportation plan designed by Metrolinx (and launched in 2008) to address what are some of the worst commute times in North America.
A slew of projects are underway or proposed for Oakville and the Halton Region. Oakville MPP, Kevin Flynn provided an update on how the Big Move plan is coming along in Oakville.
GO Lakeshore Express Rail Project
The environmental assessement and feasibility study for the electrification of the Lakeshore East & West GO lines is currently underway. This project will provide faster and higher capacity service to the line that carries more riders than any other in the GO rail system. By upgrading the existing trains from diesel to electric propulsion, passengers will see shorter travel times and service that runs more frequently. Who needs a schedule when the GO Train will arrive every 15 minutes?
Dundas Street & Trafalgar Road BRT
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a bus service that runs on a dedicated right-of-way subsequently avoiding most traffic and improving travel times. The Dundas BRT project is currently in the planning stage and will include 40 kilometres of new dedicated bus rapid transit lanes on Dundas Street from Brant Street in Burlington to Kipling Station in Toronto. Halton Region is conducting an environmental assessment to look at a number of improvements in the area between Brant Street and Trafalgar Road, including widening the road, improving intersections and implementing BRT service in mixed traffic.
BRT is also coming to Trafalgar Road. Dedicated bus lanes will be created (including new BRT only lanes extending on a new bridge over the QEW) running parallel on Trafalgar Road to the Oakville GO Station. This will greatly reduce north-south travel times along Trafalgar Road.
Oakville Mobility Hub
Metrolinx has identified the Oakville GO & VIA station as a “Mobility Hub” centre for rapid transit. They developed a long-term vision for the Oakville GO Station and surrounding lands, complementing work the Town of Oakville has already completed. The Hub focuses on the redevelopment of publicly-owned lands around the Oakville GO station, the majority of which is owned by Metrolinx. The plan also includes expansion of the GO station to ensure it can best accommodate significant growth planned for the area.
Some of Metrolinx’s transportation initiatives are already completed in Oakville. In October 2012, the new Oakville GO parking garage opened. The new parking structure is a part of Metrolinx’s Midtown Oakville Mobility Hub, transforming the lands around the station to a commuter friendly area. The Provincial Government contributed over $20.5 million for the expansion, which will encourage local commuters to take GO Transit.
Better public transit means a better quality of life for Oakville families. We look forward to seeing how Oakville residents will continue to enjoy the benefits of The Big Move plan! For more information visit http://www.bigmove.ca/