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Highway 404 corridor extension, Ontario Line expansion among potential long-term transport projects


Billed as a roadmap to creating Ontario a “world leader in the safe, efficient and sustainable transportation of people and goods,” the Ford authorities has launched a dialogue paper outlining potential megaprojects that would stretch throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe as a part of a 30-year transportation plan.

However, the lofty 34-page document, which accommodates proposals geared toward bettering commutes for residents and the motion of products corresponding to huge freeway corridor expansions and an enormous extension of the Ontario Line subway line in Toronto by 2051, fell quick on specifics and prices.


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“Two-thirds of Ontario’s gross domestic product (GDP) is generated [in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH)]. A well-functioning transportation system is critical to economic prosperity. Time waiting for a bus, time stuck in traffic on the way to meet a client or to make a delivery – all of these are costs to our economy,” the paper printed by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) late Tuesday mentioned.

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“Mobility in the GGH is provided by a complex system of provincial, municipal and private sector infrastructure, services and programs. There is a need for a common vision for the region, so that all the investments we are making work together.”

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The authorities defines the GGH as being roughly made up of Toronto, Niagara Region, Hamilton, Waterloo, Halton Region, Peel Region, Barrie, Orillia, Peterborough, York Region, Durham Region, and Northumberland County.

Officials mentioned in September and October, the federal government obtained submissions from greater than 2,200 folks concerning the plan and that these submissions helped “inform” the proposals within the dialogue paper.

Highways and freeway corridors may very well be widened, see massive extensions

In an effort to create what officers described as a “resilient road network” that addresses congestion and has “more efficient freight routes,” there are a number of proposals that would see new and improved highways throughout highways.

When it involves “new planned and conceptual corridors,” the federal government highlighted its push to construct the controversial Highway 413, dubbed the GTA West corridor, in addition to the Bradford Bypass connecting Highways 400 and 404.

However, a notable a part of the plan within the northern a part of the GGH seems to be an extension of the Highway 404 corridor from Woodbine Avenue in East Gwillimbury to Highway 48 in Sutton. An MTO spokesperson informed Global News it comes after an environmental evaluation was permitted within the 2000s and mentioned the extension of the corridor — which might run by way of a big swath of rural land — is necessary for making a items motion hyperlink between southern and northern Ontario in addition to serving as a potential detour route. It’s unclear if there could be street upgrades on Highway 48 between Sutton and Highway 12 in Beaverton, which was additionally recognized as a part of the corridor.

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Read extra:
Citing potential atmosphere dangers, feds take over evaluation of Ontario’s proposed Highway 413

Other new corridors proven on the map embrace ones between Guelph and Waterloo, Cambridge and Brantford, and a brand new bypass off Highway 401 connecting to Highway 6 in Puslinch.

The dialogue paper contemplates a sequence of freeway lane expansions together with “managed lanes” (toll lanes, bus-only lanes, HOV and HOT lanes or truck-only lanes). The QEW between Burlington and Niagara Falls, Highway 400 between Kettleby and Barrie, Highway 9 between Kettleby and Orangeville, Highway 403 in decrease Hamilton in addition to between Brantford and the Lincoln Alexander Parkway in Hamilton, Highway 401 between Kitchener and Milton, between Highways 427 and 404 in Toronto and between jap Pickering and Newcastle, may all see further lane capability underneath the plan.

A map included within the doc didn’t differentiate between new and current managed lanes, however all 400-series highways within the GTA together with the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway had been highlighted underneath this classification.

Expansion of Ontario Line, creation of devoted Burlington-Oshawa corridor among public transit proposals

As a part of the dialogue paper, public transit expansion is highlighted within the transportation plan.

In Toronto and the encompassing municipalities, officers suggest “exploring” an extension of the Ontario Line (a 15-stop subway line at the moment underneath design that’s slated to attach the Ontario Science Centre in North York and Ontario Place on Toronto’s waterfront) to Toronto Pearson International Airport and Richmond Hill Centre.

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A map launched within the dialogue paper additionally seems to point out new “higher-order transit connections” alongside Steeles Avenue, Sheppard Avenue East, Jane Street, Ellesmere Avenue, McCowan Avenue, Kingston Road and Highway 7. However, there have been no particular particulars about what’s being contemplated and the related corridors weren’t labelled.

Looking on the GTA extra broadly, there’s a reference to “exploring a new east-west, cross-regional connection” between Burlington and Oshawa, probably connecting by way of potential hubs at or close to Toronto Pearson International Airport and Richmond Hill Centre. On a conceptual foundation, officers mentioned sure elements of the mission may run alongside the Highway 407 corridor however added a selected alignment has but to be decided.

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Potential new “higher-order transit connections” additionally gave the impression to be proven alongside Hamilton’s A-Line bus corridor, a corridor connecting Kitchener and Cambridge and a north-south corridor in Guelph. In Durham area, there have been east-west corridors that gave the impression to be highlighted alongside Kingston Road and Bayly/Victoria streets in addition to on Simcoe Street in Oshawa. Like different corridors, there have been no particular particulars about what particularly is envisioned and the recognized streets weren’t labelled.

In a lot of the GGH city areas, the federal government is making certain there’s “frequent local transit service” with a minimal 10-minute headway in addition to making certain there’s 24-hour public transportation entry. When requested for extra details about rising native transit, the MTO spokesperson mentioned the general imaginative and prescient appears to be like forward three a long time and that “this proposed element of the 2051 vision recognizes that the effectiveness of the overall transportation network in 2051 will require widespread frequent local transit services.”

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Read extra:
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Officials, as a part of the plan, raised the concept of integrating fares among the varied transit businesses as a way to present “seamless” connections throughout the GGH. When requested how this proposal may influence fares (e.g. if it will likely be primarily based on distance) and commuters, the spokesperson mentioned coordinated fares would make interregional journey and transfers “more affordable and convenient” for riders. There weren’t specifics shared but on how it could be applied or how such a call would influence municipal budgets and companies.

When analyzing the broader GGH, there are a number of references to “existing and new regional connections” which are public, personal and/or on-demand companies. Many of the corridors look like at the moment serviced by GO Transit, however there additionally look like new such connections servicing communities corresponding to Orangeville, Brantford, Scugog, Lindsay, Orillia, Midland in addition to a number of First Nations communities (Six Nations of the Grand River, Hiawatha, Alderville had been among the communities highlighted). The plan didn’t break down particularly what’s in place at the moment and what’s new nor the precise proposed routes.

Opposition events say elements of plan from ‘bygone era,’ serves as election doc

When it involves response from the opposition to the proposals, the response was largely detrimental. However, there was some reward for the give attention to public transit.

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“The Ford government’s proposed highway expansion plans are from a bygone era that will lead to greater congestion and pollution and won’t even shorten commutes. Ontarians deserve an efficient green transportation plan for the future,” Ontario NDP Oshawa MPP and transportation critic Jennifer French informed Global News in an announcement late Wednesday, including there ought to be a precedence on transit.

“Ontario must move people and goods efficiently and take meaningful action against climate change. These two goals are tied together.”

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Green Party of Ontario chief and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner described the general public transit measures as a “positive step,” however mentioned the federal government’s “obsession with new highways through the Greenbelt” hinders the GGH plan.

“Ford needs to stop pushing through ill-advised highways like Highway 413 and the Holland Marsh Highway,” he mentioned in an announcement, whereas additionally calling for lowering sprawl and creating “smart” density.

“We don’t want extra four-lane highways and automobiles on the street that may pump extra air pollution into the air. And we particularly don’t want highways that may reduce by way of the Greenbelt, farmlands and wetlands.

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Ontario Liberal Party chief Steven Del Duca dismissed the dialogue paper, calling it extra of a “campaign document” versus a “serious look” at what’s wanted for transportation throughout the GGH.

“It doesn’t include any of the details on how to make it happen. Ontarians deserve a government that takes their transportation needs seriously,” he mentioned in an announcement.

“Maybe if Doug Ford was less focused on pushing ahead with Highway 413, we could see real action on important projects in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and across Ontario.”

What’s subsequent?

As for a way all of those proposals is likely to be paid for if in the end adopted, the doc and officers didn’t have numerous particular particulars when requested by Global News. However, ministry employees mentioned the ultimate price will come right down to the design of every mission, how these projects may very well be constructed and financed and “complementary policies.”

“MTO and its partners spend billions of dollars annually on transportation infrastructure and services in the region, and a coordinated integrated long-term plan can help ensure these investments are aligned towards a shared vision,” a spokesperson wrote.

Meanwhile, the federal government opened public consultation and an online survey for residents on Wednesday that shall be obtainable till Aug. 28.

According to the paperwork, the GGH transportation plan shall be launched later in 2021 after public feedback are obtained.

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© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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