The Future of our Downtown is at a Crossroads.
- This is not a LRT/ NO LRT debate like our Mayor, certain Councillors, senior staff and a few special interest groups have made it out to be.
- This debate is about what final alignment is best for Brampton’s future and prosperity.
- CFBB fully supports the proposed Metrolinx HM LRT route up to Steeles Ave. It’s the final alignment that we strongly oppose.
Before I begin my delegation, I would like to acknowledge that if it wasn’t for just a FEW concerned residents and Councillors, there would have been NO meeting tonight, NO further debate and NO exchange of ideas and opinions. On just one weeks notice from staff releasing their recommendation report, a quick and irresponsible decision would have likely succeeded on June 22 @ 1:00 pm in the afternoon when most are at work and can’t voice their opinions. For such an important and transformational project, a once in a lifetime opportunity , it was hastily included and buried within an already jam packed Planning and Infrastructure meeting agenda. It was a page taken right out of the playbook of our former Mayor, something that most of you campaigned passionately against with promises of a more inclusive and open administration. Many voters were very disappointed , and continue to be , by these actions.
Don’t we deserve the “BEST” LRT route into the Downtown GO for our City, not just the most “COST EFFECTIVE” ? Why have we been presented with an unacceptable “TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT” option from this provincial government? Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton and Kitchener/Waterloo all had their say as to how their LRT/Rapid Transit systems were planned. Why isn’t Brampton being treated the same way?
A Tale of Two Cities
Mississauga’s population of 725,000 is ranked 6th in Canada, 2nd in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
Brampton’s population of 550,000- 600,000 is ranked 9th in Canada, 3rd in GTHA. We are the fastest growing Top 10 city in Canada! This City will grow by 200,000 + residents in the next 25 years.
Transit Investment in Mississauga over the last decade
- For the $1.6 billion HM LRT, most of it $1.27 billion is for Mississauga’s portion, 19 stops, over 17.5 km of LRT
- Mississauga Transit way a “true” BRT $260 million project consisting of an independent BRT system with 13 stations, $173 million was contributed by both provincial and federal governments.
- GO Parking Garages have been built at Clarkson and Erindale stations in the last 3 years $110 million investment (almost 3,000 spaces added).
- Meadowvale station almost doubled the size of their parking lot 6 years ago.
- Lakeshore line in Mississauga is already an ALL DAY service running every 30 minutes to Downtown Toronto.
- There has been a promise to electrify Lakeshore line, but NO FIRM date
- Investment of GO Bus Maintenance facility was in Mississauga (Streetsville) $45 million and 400 jobs.
- Mississauga has NINE GO stations across 3 lines (Port Credit, Clarkson, Lisgar, Meadowvale, Streetsville, Erindale, Cooksville, Dixie, and Malton.
Transit Investment in Brampton over the last decade
- Hurontario /Main LRT- 5.6 km of LRT with 7 stops investment of approximately $334 million.
- Only THREE GO stations , Bramalea, Downton Brampton and Mount Pleasant (all on Kitchener Line)
- Bramalea station will see extended platforms for 12 car trains by 2017 and All Day GO service in the future with NO firm date announced.
- Downtown Brampton station has very limited parking. If commuters don’t arrive before 7:00 am, there are NO parking spaces left. Desperately requires GO parking garage structure, ALL Day GO service has been promised for 10 years but NO firm date has been announced. (still likely 5-10 years away)
- Mount Pleasant (new station opened in 2006).
- ZUM Bus (not true BRT) continues expansion on Steeles Ave and Bovaird Dr. Total investment to date from Provincial and Federal governments has been $95 million each.
- Promise of looking into Queen Street corridor Rapid Transit, most certainly BRT with proposed Metrolinx route, not LRT , NO firm date (could be 7-10 years away).
Let ’s look at some examples of Elevated LRT / RT systems in North America
- Vancouver’s Sky train through ravine & parkland area
- Elevated LRT line in Honolulu
- Crossing complex intersections
How about some examples of Transit / Rail crossing parkland in Toronto
- TTC Old Mill Subway elevated section across Humber River and King’s Mill Park in Toronto (some of the most expensive real estate in the City within close proximity.
- TRCA managed watershed.
- Freight rail overpass at the Weston Golf and Country Club adjacent to the Humber River Valley, another TRCA managed watershed.
CFBB ’s Preferred Alternate Alignment (north of Nanwood Drive)
We (CFBB) fully support the proposed Metrolinx LRT route up to Nanwood Drive as an independent double track surface route. LRT double line becomes elevated north of Nanwood Dr. near the Etobicoke Creek and crosses northbound lanes of Main St. S. (Option 3b in staff report). Continues in a N/E trajectory into Meadowland Park along the edge of the Brampton Mall parking lot. Great opportunity to re-develop this area into a mixed-use residential and commercial “gateway”.
Great view of Parkland and Etobicoke Creek from LRT train!
LRT route continues through Meadowland Park. Recreational activities and parkland can co-exist with quiet and pollution free elevated LRT line.
LRT crosses Clarence Rd. bridge. Can be elevated or possibly integrated with bridge using traffic signals
LRT line then enters Centennial Park on north side of Etobicoke Creek
Continues through Centennial Park in a N/E trajectory.
Crosses Etobicoke Creek to the east side of the Royal Canadian Legion lodge
LRT line crosses the Etobicoke creek and enters Centennial Park
LRT line begins to turn in an easterly direction before the tennis court area of Centennial Park
LRT line crosses Centre St. S, and makes turn to the north as it exits Centennial Park
Aerial view of Peel Memorial Centre and new Life Sciences District. Connecting this site with the LRT line is crucial to Brampton’s prosperity. It will help expand Downtown towards the east. (200,000 annual patient visits and 5,000 employees)
Location of LRT Station at Peel Memorial Centre Site (West side)
Existing ZUM Queen and Brampton Transit buses arrive at grade level into an elevated Peel Memorial Centre LRT station. Station would be designed with option to add transfer for future LRT (at grade) for Queen St. Corridor Rapid Transit to Bramalea City Centre. This is crucial to Brampton’s Queen Street Corridor vision.
LRT leaves station elevated and continues north parallel to Centre St. S.
Starts to turn west down the middle of Queen St. E, crossing onto Maple Ave. and runs parallel with the rail corridor on the north side
LRT line crosses abandoned City parking lot
Elevated track now enters the YMCA Brampton parking lot with minimal impact
The LRT line now crosses Main St. N elevated into an integrated LRT station / GO Parking Garage structure for 1000 -1200 cars on the third level. The garage can be designed to have the LRT leave the structure from the west side and merge with the Orangeville/Brampton rail corridor for future northerly expansion to Williams Pkwy or Bovaird Dr. W. It can also be designed to merge with the same rail corridor in a S/W trajectory linking to a possible University or research campus at the city owned Flower City lands.
Metrolinx proposed Downtown GO LRT Station – Entry/Exit will cross Main St. N
By eliminating the proposed curbside stations at Queen & Main (Northbound) and Wellington & Main (Southbound) we can save approx. $5-7 million. Eliminating the proposed Downtown GO LRT station (at grade) and integrating it as an elevated station within a new GO Parking Garage structure, a further savings of $10 -15 million can be realized. These funds can be put towards the cost of the desperately needed GO Parking Garage structure w/integrated LRT Station. This will also assist to secure All-Day GO service to the station with increased parking capacity. (estimated cost of $45 -$50 million before savings )
Advantages of CFBB Elevated Route – Etobicoke Creek , PMC to Downtown GO
Existing Flood Plain – How can Metrolinx , TRCA and the Planning staff approve a surface alignment for the LRT right in the middle of the existing Flood plain without any plans to remedy the situation? In the event of a major flood everything north from Woodbrook Dr. to the proposed LRT Downtown GO station would be under water. How will this be approved under the current flood plain restrictions?
We believe that an elevated LRT will have little or NO impact to any flood control measures that are planned by TRCA and LRT route will not be constrained by the flood plain restrictions that exist today. (SPA3)
Proposed Metrolinx surface alignment route and 3 stations are right in the heart of the existing flood plain.
How was this approved by TRCA?
GO Rail surface line adjacent to Don River at Pottery Rd. – Toronto July 2013 , a TRCA managed waterway. Without any approved flood mitigation measures in place , will Brampton’s Downtown LRT route look like this?
Development Charge and increased assessment – The numbers show that the population growth and development potential will be along the Queen Street corridor. What then is the economic justification to focus on Main Street and its low density, heritage designated properties north of Charolais, a stretch which represents over half of the total length (51%) of the LRT route in Brampton?
An Elevated route connecting the Peel Memorial Centre and Queen Street corridor is taking the LRT to where the numbers show Brampton will see the most intensification and population growth. It will accelerate our Queen Street corridor vision by at least 10 years.
Difficult expansion for future LRT – We oppose the proposed location of the Terminus station on the west side of Main St. just north of the CN rail overpass with trains required to cross Main St.
N. for entry/exit privileges. How has Metrolinx planned to expand the LRT to reach the Peel Memorial Centre campus and the Queen Street corridor? We believe it will be impossible for any future expansion from this site. It will require a complete re-design of the system, an unlikely financial reality. What is most likely to be approved is a BRT route that will still share the entry into the Downtown (like the existing Queen Zum, then become independent of vehicular traffic further along Queen St. E.
Elevated station at both the Peel Memorial Centre site and Downtown GO Parking Garage will allow for a seamless expansion of the LRT to the Queen Street corridor and future northern expansion.
Heritage – St. Paul’s United Church, a superb heritage structure which dates from 1886, is an active and growing congregation. How will it be able to handle weddings and funerals with appropriate vehicles standing by at the foot of their entrance stairs and sidewalk, obstructing curb side trains from passing by?
With an elevated route away from the Heritage district, we eliminate any impact to properties like St. Paul’s Church
Ambiance – We take great and understandable pride in the Main Street entrance to our City and its downtown. How easily will that largely residential route be despoiled by adding overhead wiring, poles and transformer substations along the route north of Nanwood Dr.
With an elevated route away from the Main St. S Heritage homes and Historic Downtown, again we eliminate all impact to the ambience of the area. There will be no overhead wires, extensive signage, extra poles and transformer substations.
Parking – Routing along Main Street both sides with tracks at curbside adjacent to the sidewalks will remove all street parking throughout the day and early evening. Many Downtown merchants rely on their customers being able to park in close proximity to their business. Will there be enough businesses that survive to keep Downtown Brampton a destination point?
All Street parking is left intact. Additional Parking Garage w/Integrated LRT Station at the Downtown GO will add 1000+ parking spaces
Construction – What makes matters worse for them (and for us) will be a two year construction period, with that construction impeding traffic flow through downtown. This could quite easily be the death knell of our downtown!
All the headaches and pain of ripping apart Main St. for 2 years are gone. All construction of the elevated route north of Nanwood will have minimal impact to street traffic and any business. There should be a considerable cost savings to the project as a result.
Congestion – The inner core through the Four Corners, and especially at Nelson and Main, is already unacceptably congested. And into this bottleneck of competing traffic, the three car LRT will be crammed, along with cars, trucks, Zum buses, cyclists and pedestrians. With two lighted intersections on Main less than 100 m apart, the potential for train delays and grid lock is a certainty.
All 4 lanes are kept open for automobile and bicycle traffic.
Only One Downtown stop is required – The walking distance from the Downtown GO station to anywhere in the inner core is approximately 5 minutes – from City Hall to the GO station is about 250 m. That distance is well short of the distance travelled in downtown Toronto to access either the Yonge or University subway lines (about 300-350 m.). Intermediate and additional stops within the inner core will simply add time delays.
Will save approximately $5-10 million eliminating the Main/Wellington
(southbound) and Main/Queen (northbound).
Traffic Conflict – For the LRT to access the GO station just beyond the rail overpass, the trains will have to block north and southbound traffic to negotiate access and egress. The potential for vehicular/tram collisions is a real possibility there and throughout the core. For example, in just one small stretch from Clarence St. to Woodbrook Dr. on Main, there have been 113 police reported collisions in the last 5 years, and two pedestrian injuries!
With an elevated route away from the narrow stretch of Main St. through the Heritage and Downtown districts, we ELIMINATE any possibility of collisions between cars, bicycles and pedestrians that would cause commuter and traffic chaos
Safety – The safety of pedestrians along sidewalks beside the curbs within a few feet of the trams, and cyclists manoeuvring through the car/bus/tram traffic, accidents are sure to occur, and the potential for travel delays and driver frustration can be a serious concern. Or does that matter?
Pedestrians will be able to stroll freely without having to look over their shoulders. It will keep the Downtown core child, pet and bicycle friendly.
Proposed Metrolinx curb side LRT lines running parallel with the sidewalks through the Downtown core
Brampton Traditions – Brampton has many established festivals, parades and the very popular Farmer’s Market during summer Saturdays. Are these events sacrificed so that the trains can keep to their pre-set schedules, or will the trams be told to turn around at Wellington and not travel to the GO station, a real inconvenience to the ridership. How Mickey Mouse is that?
Plans are to create a larger event space to include the 4 corners of Main and Queen. (Phase 1- LED Screen) With and elevated route away from the Downtown core we avoid any disruption to festival and events. These events can now be expanded without causing inconvenience to transit commuters trying to connect with the Downtown GO and Bus station.
To close, staff indicated at the June 22nd Planning and Infrastructure meeting that Brampton had until the Fall of 2015 to finalize a preferred route alignment for the HM LRT.
So why are we deciding tonight? Why is July 8th so important? With construction scheduled to begin in 2018, that’s still 2 ½ years away!
CFBB are suggesting that only 3 proposals move forward with a comprehensive analysis of each proposal that will include accurate costing , development charge potential, intensification potential and financing options. We need Mayor Jeffrey and this Council to actually negotiate for additional funding from both the Provincial and Federal governments, not just take the left overs from a Mississauga focussed project.
With so much information presented tonight, wouldn’t it be prudent to take a step back and defer the vote until early Fall? The citizens of our City are entitled to the same process as recently witnessed in Toronto with the Gardiner Expressway East decision. Toronto Council had 3 complete options and over 2 months to study them. Two full days were then allocated at Council to debate the options until a final vote was conducted.
Well everyone , this is our Gardiner Expressway moment. Don’t we deserve the same process?
Top 3 Proposals that should be considered by Council for a Fall 2015 Decision
Elevated route from Nanwood Drive – Etobicoke Creek / PMC site / Downtown GO Parking Garage w/integrated LRT Station
Surface route turning left onto Steeles Ave. W to Sheridan College, North onto McLaughlin Rd. to the Flower City campus, then N/E along existing rail corridor to Downtown GO Parking Garage w/integrated LRT Station, then elevated LRT section into PMC site (as with Option 1)
Surface route stopping at Steeles Avenue FOR NOW. The $200 million savings is allocated to ensure that the Brampton Downtown GO station gets All-Day GO service within 3 years.