CFBB Delegation (Chris Bejnar) Nov. 21st , 2016 – Metrolinx Report Item 6.3
Good afternoon Madam Mayor, Council, and Senior staff,
My name is Chris Bejnar and I’m Co-Chair of CFBB.
My delegation today will consist of a few comments and questions about Item 6.3 on today’s agenda that discusses the Metrolinx Downtown Land acquisition and the future Downtown Brampton GO Mobility Hub.
I will begin by echoing Doug Bryden’s comments.
- Why didn’t Metrolinx purchase the entire block of available properties, opting instead for an odd L-shaped block? This will only complicate the future plans for this site and will cost taxpayers dearly by handcuffing future property negotiations, not to mention, having to deal with the rapidly increasing property values of the GTA’s real estate market. Metrolinx should immediately consider purchasing the remaining available properties to create a city block that is ripe for intensification potential before the opportunity is lost.
- How does Metrolinx actually determine the amount of transit investment dollars that are approved for GTHA’s municipalities? It doesn’t appear that population numbers and growth factor into the decision making process?
Let’s compare transit infrastructure investment in Vaughan to Brampton shall we? Metrolinx has committed to invest over $2 billion dollars into the City of Vaughan, a city with about HALF of Brampton’s population? Recent Vaughan projects include approximately $1 billion for its portion of the TTC subway extension that includes two stations, about $750 million to add new VIVA Next BRT and Light BRT lines, a third GO station at Kirby Road as well as last month’s announcement to build not one, but two, brand new 1,200 car parking garages to relieve the overcrowding at the Maple and Rutherford GO stations?
In comparison Metrolinx has committed to funding approximately $200 million of Brampton’s portion for the Hurontario LRT and would have committed another $200 million for the Main Street LRT surface alignment north of Steeles to the Downtown GO. With Brampton commuters scrambling daily to get to the Downtown GO station before 7:00 am for a chance of finding parking and the Bramalea GO station bursting at the seams , why haven’t we seen the same urgency and capital funds allocated to Brampton’s needs?
Can staff confirm if funding for the Downtown GO Mobility Hub study will be funded 100% by Metrolinx as was promised with the HMLRT. A future LRT will eventually arrive at the station via an alternate route, we will eventually have electrified 2 WAY ALL DAY GO service on the Kitchener line (the innovation corridor), so why not proactively begin exploring the full potential of the Downtown Brampton GO Mobility Hub site? Metrolinx has already outlined some bold and innovative Mobility Hub plans for other sites, as with the Port Credit GO station. Metrolinx is even willing to play the developer role for a mixed use real estate development at the Port Credit site, yet the Downtown Brampton GO Mobility Hub, with its huge potential to revitalize the Downtown of Canada’s 9th largest city will see a surface parking lot for a few hundred vehicles.
When we compare the data from Metrolinx’s own Mobility Hub profiles, we see that the Downtown Brampton GO has more than double the amount of commuters ending their morning commute when compared with Port Credit (5,880 vs. 2,790 commuters respectively) and more than a third of commuters beginning their morning trip at the Downtown Brampton GO vs Port Credit, (4,410 vs. 3,250 commuters respectively). Your own numbers show a busier hub at the Downtown Brampton GO than Port Credit? Why then scale back or delay Mobility Hub plans for Downtown Brampton?
I would also like to make a few comments about what I observed at last month’s Hurontario LRT open house held at Mississauga City Hall.
- There was some debate by city staff and Metrolinx representatives as to the location of the crossover and future LRT station at Steeles & Hurontario. Since we don’t know the preferred alternate LRT route alignment as of yet, why would Metrolinx consider the crossover north of Steeles? How will this work if plans for the alternate route go west or east along Steeles? Crossing through one of the busiest intersections in all of Peel Region, only to reverse and re-enter the intersection a second time to travel east or west would really complicate matters and cause traffic congestion.
- The current plans for Brampton’s portion of the LRT show that 3 car lanes of traffic will be reduced down to two lanes north of the Hurontario/407 interchange in order to accommodate the LRT. Our opinion is that this will cause traffic gridlock along this busy stretch of roadway for motorists exiting or entering this very busy highway interchange. Why not make Hurontario wide enough to accommodate the current 3 lanes of car traffic, active bike lanes and the LRT right from the start? If the Hurontario/407 Bridge needs to be widened, then widen it. If additional land needs to be acquired to widen this stretch, then acquire it. We believe that the space is there, so let’s design and build it properly right from the beginning.