Grid lock in the Mississauga streets, rush hour traffic on the 400 series highways, smog, lost revenue for business and unreliable transit seems like I’m talking about today’s commuter problems. But this was the state of transportation back in 2006 too. At that time the Ontario government created an agency called Metrolinx whose purpose was to improve the coordination and integration of all modes of transportation in the GTA and Hamilton. The resulting regional plan is aptly called the Big Move.
According to Metrolinx and others in Government, the systems essential problem is the reliance on the car. The transportation system cannot handle efficiently the rise in population and the resulting amount of vehicles, thus resulting in all the head ache causing problems big cities around the world have. The Big Move plan has a 25 year vision and it looks to address these points:
· High quality life
· Thriving, sustainable and protected environment
· Strong, prosperous and competitive economy
To achieve this vision the Regional Transportation Plan consists of 10 strategies.
1) Build a comprehensive Regional Rapid Transit Network – Invest in transit infrastructure to meet the challenge of a growing population, allow commuters to choose transit options vs others when gas prices are trending up, pollution is damaging the environment and congestions is a growing concern.
2) Enhance and Expand active transportation – Encourage walking, cycling, roller blading and movements with mobility devices is healthy and cost effective while being environmentally friendly way to travel.
3) Improve the efficiency of the road and Highway network – Better monitoring and planning of road and highways, promotion of carpooling and the use of tools to such as HOV lanes.
4) Create an ambitious transportation demand management program – Create policies for government to limit time employees are on the road. Encourage the private sector to do likewise.
5) Create a customer first transportation system – The system needs to make transportation a more reliable and enjoyable experience for all users.
6) Implement an integrated transit fare system – allows users to pay a seamless, integrated fare for all transit systems across the region.
7) Build communities that are pedestrian, cycling and transit supportive – Build high density communities with a variety of stores and services for residents to access without a car.
8) Plan for universal access – Removing the barriers that stand in the way of people with disabilities trying to move from place to place.
9) Improve goods movement within the GTHA and with adjacent regions – finding ways to improve the transportation of goods in the GTHA more efficiently to affect positive change in congestions, and environmental impact.
10) Commit to continuous Improvement – the Big Move is a massive plan to address many complex issues surrounding transportation in the GTHA. There are still issues which need to be addressed or discovered. In the future these can become huge problems and will take a persistent effort over time in order not to fall behind.
Mississauga Regional Plan – Major Projects
The Mississauga Transitway: Is currently under construction with segments in use. When finished there will be 12 stops, have length of 18 kilometres and connect to the GO transit bus service, Hurontario LRT and MiWay bus service. The transit way will lead to connections to the TTC subway system and employment hubs in the Square One Area and in the Airport corporate center. New Transit way stations are built or in construction running from Winston Churchill in the west to Ranforth in the east.
All transitway stations will have service for GO Bus and The MiWay bus service. Included in the plan is 1.5 kilometres of bus only lanes that run parallel to the north side of highway 403. GO Transit, expects travel and time savings for people travelling in rush hours up to 15 minutes faster, while offering more choice through more stations and greater reliability while travelling through the dedicated bus corridor.
Who is funding this project? The Mississauga Transit project is funded by The 3 levels of government, the Federal government of Canada, The Province of Ontario and the City of Mississauga.
The Hurontario LRT: Is still in the planning and design stage. The Light Rail Transit will have 22 stops and or stations and be 20 kilometres in length. Along that line there will be major connections to Brampton Transit, Go Train Milton and Lakeshore West Lines, GO Transit bus service, MiWay, bus service. Construction is to start in 2018 and expected to be completed in 2022. The LRT will be fast, reliable transit running through the Hurontario Corridor with a dedicated right of way. The plan calls for a stop as north as Steels Ave (Gateway Terminal) in Brampton and as far south as Port Credit Go Station in Mississauga.
There’s certainly a great amount of effort, time, energy and money being spent that I can’t see this not helping the city of Mississauga move residence around better. A paradigm shift has happened where the car is no longer the corner stone of the system due to congestion, grid lock, environmental issues rising prices in oil and quality of life. From a money perspective, I predict condos and houses along the new transit routes to get a bump in value when they are finally completed.