Last week, Metrolinx announced the construction of not one, but two new 1,200 car parking garage structures for the City of Vaughan to be located at the Rutherford and Maple GO Stations.  This is in addition to plans for a 3rd Vaughan GO Station at Kirby Rd, the $3.2 Billion for the TTC Spadina subway extension that includes two stations in Vaughan (Hwy 407 and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre) and the hundreds of millions for VIVA’s  RapidWay BRT expansion along Highway # 7.

Minister Stephen Del Duca, the Minister of Transportation and the MPP for Vaughan, has represented his constituents well. We would hope that Brampton, a sister community twice the size of Vaughan (610,000 vs. 320,000 residents) will be deserving of similar attention. If ever there was a need for more transit and commuter parking facilities supported by the public purse, it is, without doubt, in Brampton.  Canada’s 9th largest municipality, 3rd largest in the GTHA (Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area) and the fastest growing of Canada’s Top 10 cities.

We look forward to hearing from the Minister very soon with news of plans to create a Downtown Brampton GO Mobility Hub, an increase to parking capacity and the proposed All Day 2 Way GO service for the Kitchener GO line which includes Brampton’s three GO stations, Bramalea, Downtown Brampton and Mount Pleasant.

Chris Bejnar  Co-Chair CFBB

http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/6909070-ontario-adding-2-400-new-parking-spaces-at-2-vaughan-go-stations/

http://www.vivanext.com/

https://www.ttc.ca/Spadina/About_the_Project/index.jsp

OPINION:  Transit Funding For Brampton – proposed ZUM Airport Road Route

CFBB welcomes the Federal government’s recent infrastructure investment announcement of $1.49 Billion for transit improvements and initiatives in Ontario, of which millions could be allocated for Brampton.   City staff tabled a report at last week’s Community & Public Services Committee recommending  $32.5 million dollars be submitted for funding approval.  The staff report recommended projects such as: the expansion of the Sandalwood maintenance garage facility, several new buses and a new ZUM Bus Rapid Transit route along the Airport Road corridor.

Hopefully, we will see these funding requests approved and that there will be more such investments in the near future based on the tremendous growth that has been forecasted for our city in the next 25 years.  We really need to have both Federal and Provincial governments make investments based on our actual population numbers and taxes generated so that Brampton can receive it’s fair share of funding for Transit, Healthcare and Infrastructure.

One question, why is Brampton Transit planning a ZUM Bus Airport Road route that doesn’t allow commuters to actually get to the airport?  Getting to the airport for employment or travel purposes appears to be a weak point in the overall Transit Master Plan that was finalized back in September 2015.

Please refer to Page 68 (Figure 26– Transit Network Needs to 2041) of the Final Transportation Master Plan Update (TMPU).  The proposed ZUM Airport Road route is not planned to extend south of Steeles Ave.  Why not?

http://www.brampton.ca/EN/Business/planning-development/transportation/Documents/Final_TMPU_Sept2015.pdf

Last week’s article in the Toronto Star reminds us that many airport employees rely on transit  to get to their jobs in and around Pearson airport which is open 24/7, 365 days of the year. Shouldn’t public transit be a viable option for these employees?

https://www.thestar.com/business/2016/10/06/transit-stalls-as-airport-region-employment-takes-off.html

This next article highlights a Brampton resident’s miserable experience trying to use transit to get to her airport job on time.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/06/04/study-highlights-link-between-precarious-work-and-miserable-commutes.html

Shouldn’t we be planning to include a connection to Pearson Airport for the proposed ZUM bus Airport Road route?  This will provide all ZUM commuters easier access for work or travel with a direct link to Lester B. Pearson International airport.  A suggestion would be to extend the ZUM route further south along Airport Road and connect it to the Terminal Link Train Station located on Viscount Road.

Chris Bejnar – Co-Chair CFBB

CFBB’s Brief Outline for Terms of Reference- Alternate LRT Route studies – Kennedy and McLaughlin

These two routes have been determined by democratic decision of Council to be the only two routes to be studied by staff, carrying out the Environmental Assessment of each route so as to allow direct comparison clearly and reasonable debate thoroughly by Council. The staff report should be prepared and presented within a 6-8 month period from Council agreement on terms of reference, and regular process reviews are mandated by Council of staff to assess progress being made.

As a note, it is understood that complete accuracy of information is based on reasonable assumptions by reasonable professionals and not an end in itself, thereby allowing recommendations to be forthcoming from staff and the public within the proscribed time period to completion.

Here are some terms of reference that CFBB would like to be included for review.

1) Comparisons are to look at the viability and cost of providing at grade, above grade and below grade installations, and combinations of each as deemed appropriate.

2) Comparisons must take into account existing infrastructure impacts, such as water and sewer lines newly required or existing and in need of replacement, bridging conflicts, and potential use of discontinued rail rights-of-way.

3) Comparisons must have investigated whether the routes are to be contained in existing roads and rights-of-way, or whether road widenings and property acquisitions will be needed and guesstimates on the cost of such purchases or expropriations included, and assumptions used on intensity and preferred densification.

4) Based on 3) above, comparisons should include some projection on ridership potential that will arise from station location, and include assumptions on employment and type of development occupancy.

 5) Comparisons must include accessing the Downtown GO station efficiently, taking into account the potential of mobility hub development, clearly show how alignment will interface with a potential Queen Street LRT line, and future LRT expansions to the Caledon border.

6) Comparisons must include the impact of changes in bus transit routing which will act as feeders to the LRT at chosen station nodes.

7) Comparisons on time for the trains to go from Steeles and the presently committed terminus of the LRT line, to the Downtown Brampton GO Station.

8) Comparisons on costs required for each line, including station design and signalization.

9) Comparisons that reflect potential traffic congestion and conflict on each route, and an outline of potential safety challenges and ridership convenience requirements.

10 Comparisons must include potential and optimal assessment increases which would improve the tax base.

11) Comparisons must include inventory of potential development sites that would be considered for intensification. (Office, institutional, residential)

12) The TPAP for the Main Street alignment was completed in a 6 month time frame following the format below. The TPAP was endorsed by Metrolinx and was sufficient to receive full funding from the Province. It is our recommendation that we follow the same TPAP timeline for both the McLaughlin and Kennedy routes.

 

Main Street TPAP Process:

TPAP will take six months and will examine impacts to transportation and utilities, socio-economic, natural and cultural environments.

The information gathered will be publicly released in June as an Environmental Project Report (EPR).

The timeline for the TPAP includes:

  • 120 days for consultation on positive and negative environmental impacts and preparation of the EPR;
  • 30 days for public/government agency review and comment on the EPR;
  • 35 days for the minister of the environment to decide if the project can proceed, or if more work is needed.

During the TPAP, work will continue on the design of the project. Brampton and Mississauga councils will be updated after the 120 days of consultation.

http://CFBB’s Brief Outline for Terms of Reference- Alternate LRT Route studies – Kennedy and McLaughlin

Doug Bryden & Chris Bejnar Co-Chairs CFBB

DELEGATION – To Planning and Infrastructure Committee – City of Brampton – June 20, 2016

Chair Councillor Moore and Members of the Planning Committee

Thank you for the opportunity to address you today.

This meeting today is one that we at CFBB have been awaiting for some time. For it is the meeting to have staff respond to the Motion from Council that instructed them to study and analyse three potential LRT routes through Brampton to the Downtown GO Station, and to report their findings and recommendations. This report was then to be debated by Council with the potential of arriving at a decision on a preferred route which, presumably would then be the subject of an Environmental Study, including public participation and comment.

This reflects, of course the democratic process, for it is the responsibility of the elected Councillors to make an informed decision based on facts and analysis presented by staff. It is not, nor should it be, appropriate to have staff take it upon themselves to make decisions which they are not authorized to do and which rightly belong in the purview of the Council.

In our view, that simple, straight forward delineation of responsibility between the elected and staff often seems to get muddied here in Brampton. It was altogether prevalent in the last Council with respect to the City Hall expansion. And it seems to be happening now on the LRT file, with staff having worked with Metrolinx unbeknownst to Council to support a Main Street LRT route which blindsided Council when the announcement was made last year. That route had been overwhelmingly turned down by the last Council in a 10-1 vote, and, of course, it was turned down again by this Council. Then upon instruction by Council to analyse alternative routes, staff again decided to recommend the Main Street Downtown route, this time as a hugely expensive tunnel, not taking into account the reasons why the surface route had been rejected. Once again, Councillors were blindsided – once again the route was rejected, and once again time, energy and funds were wastefully expended.

Council then issued a directive to staff to look at three routes only – McLaughlin, Kennedy, and the Etobicoke Creek route, and report back in April. As part of the overall study and analysis, Council asked for an opinion from the TRCA on the Etobicoke Creek route. That opinion very recently communicated was to not support the Valley route.

From a reading of the Report, it is clearly evident that staff decided to exorcise any analysis of the Creek route from their report back to Council, directly in contravention of their obligation to report on the viability of the route, and denying Council their right to debate the route.

In our opinion, what should have happened in this report was for staff to prepare a detailed analysis of all three routes as they had been instructed to do, noting the benefits, advantages and disadvantages of each, and as well, noting that the TRCA were opposed to the Valley route. Instead, staff simply made an unauthorized decision which was not theirs to make. In fact, there is no detailed analysis on either of the two remaining routes.

Had the three routes been properly debated by Council, Council may have reached a conclusion that the Valley route was a non-starter. But, they had every right to prefer that route, and decide by majority vote to approach the TRCA with a creative solution and emergency mitigation plan, potentially funded, which might have allowed a different answer from the TRCA.

The report, now made public in advance of the June 20th meeting, has simply not made any detailed analysis, but simply recommended that the remaining two routes both be subjected to an Environmental Assessment at considerable cost. Time again will be lost, and the community will be short changed. What were staff doing with their time in response to Council’s directive?

In our opinion, staff did not do the job expected of them by both Council and the public interested in the LRT route selection. Further, we are of the opinion that Council should have had greater oversight of this most important piece of Brampton infrastructure. But blindsided they have been once again, not knowing what direction staff was taking, and how they were organized to accomplish the task at hand.

It is time to remind staff of their responsibilities, and either change their attitude or find new people who will be creative, sensitive to the community and taxpayer, and treat time with a sense of urgency. We simply cannot continue to condone complacency and an undeserved sinecure of position.

Doug Bryden – Co-Chair – CFBB