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The Big Move: Metrolinx launches the Regional Transportation Plan



Metrolinx today launched its draft regional transportation plan, providing a blueprint for transit services in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton over the next 25 years — and longer.

The plan, which Metrolinx calls “The Big Move”, describes a variety of measures that Metrolinx will recommend for funding to improve transporation and better move people and goods around the area.

First, the plan describes 15 strategic directions to improve transportation in the area:

  1. build a comprehensive regional transportation network;
  2. promote active transportation;
  3. improve the efficiency of the road and highway network;
  4. create an ambitious transportation demand management program;
  5. create a customer-first transportation system;
  6. implement an integrated fare system;
  7. build communities that are pedestrian-, cycling- and transit-supportive;
  8. build a system of mobility hubs;
  9. focus growth and development along transportation corridors;
  10. improve transportation understanding through research and development;
  11. plan for universal access;
  12. improve goods movement through the region and adjacent regions;
  13. develop a national strategy for transportation in urban areas; and
  14. develop an investment strategy to ensure sustainable funding for transportation infrastructure and supporting programs.

Next the plan outlines eight big moves:

  1. A fast, frequent and expanded regional rapid transit network;
  2. A complete walking and cycling network with bike-sharing programs;
  3. An information system for travellers, where and when they need it;
  4. A region-wide integrated transit fare system;
  5. A system of connected mobility hubs;
  6. High-order transit connectivity to the Pearson Airport district from all directions;
  7. A comprehensive strategy for goods movement; and
  8. An investment strategy to provide stable and predictable funding.

The plan recommends 15 priority projects for the next 15 years:

  1. Increasing Viva service along Highway 7 and Yonge Street through York Region;
  2. Building Brampton’s Queen Street Acceleride line;
  3. Extending the Spadina subway to Vaughan Corporate Centre
  4. Extending the Yonge subway to Richmond Hill and improving the line’s capacity;
  5. Building an Eglinton rapid transit line between Pearson Airport and Scarborough Centre;
  6. Upgrading and extending the Scarborough Rapid Transit line
  7. Building Finch / Sheppard rapid transit from Meadowvale to Pearson Airport to Scarborough Centre;
  8. Developing express rail on the Lakeshore line between Hamilton and Oshawa;
  9. Building rapid transit in downtown Hamilton between McMaster University and Centennial Parkway;
  10. Building Hurontario rapid transit between Port Credit and downtown Brampton;
  11. Building the 403 Transitway between Mississauga City Centre and the Renforth Gateway;
  12. Building a rail link between Union Station and Pearson Airport;
  13. Building rapid transit service along Highway 2 in Durham;
  14. Improving current GO rail services and extending GO rail service to Bowmanville;
  15. Building early phases of bus rapid transit service on Dundas Street in Halton and Peel.

From 15 to 25 years, the plan recommends more projects, including:

  • Extending express rail service to Cooksville on the Milton Line and Richmond Hill.
  • Adding more rapid transit services on the mountain in Hamilton, connecting Burlington to the rapid transit service on Dundas Street and connecting Toronto and Durham with a new rapid transit service along the Taunton Road and Steeles Avenue corridor;
  • Adding new east-west bus rapid transit service for regional travellers from the Pearson Airport district through York Region to Scarborough Centre and Pickering along Highways 407 and 401;
  • Building a new subway in the King / Queen corridor in downtown Toronto to relieve the Bloor - Danforth subway line and greatly improve service in the downtown core;

After 25 years, the plan recommends even more projects, including

  • developing more rapid transit service in Hamilton along the Centennial Parkway / Rymal Road corridors;
  • connecting Milton to the Dundas Street rapid transit corridor along Bronte Road or Trafalgar Road;
  • providing a direct express rail link between Mississauga City Centre and Union Station;
  • developing new rapid transit service in York Region along Major Mackenzie Drive, with more north-south connections to the Highway 7 corridor;
  • building more rapid transit along Highway 407;
  • buildinging east-west express rail connecting Oakville, Mississauga, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham and Pickering;
  • building more capacity along the Yonge subway line or in the Richmond Hill express rail corridor to relieve the Yonge subway; and
  • extending all-day two-way regional rail service to additional communities.

The plan suggests the cost of the 15-year plan would be $30 billion and the 25-year plan it would be $25 billion, but doesn’t precisely specify the source of funding. The funds that the Ontario Government has allocated for the MoveOntario 2020 program of transit projects would support much of the 15-year plan.

The plan also reviews other transportation issues, including cycling, highways and moving goods through the region. It recommends eventually extending GO rail service beyond the region to Peterborough, Kitchener, Guelph, Cambridge, Saint Catharines and Niagara Falls.

You can read the detailed plan here.

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