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MoveOntario 2020: Great ideas, with a couple major omissions. Some further discussion

By shost at 11:21 am on Monday, June 18, 2007

After spending some time analyzing the MoveOntario 2020 plans, and the weekend media coverage of the event, it is clear to me there are two major omissions from MoveOntario 2020. MoveOntario proposes billions in transit improvements, wether Commuter (Go transit), light rail (intra-city transit), Subway, or dedicated busways (York Region’s VIVA for example) and HOV.

The two major omissions:

* Of course, the lack of Waterloo Region/Guelph/Acton (Halton Hills) GO transit expansion. While the Waterloo region LRT will be funded 2/3 by Ontario, and possibly 1/3 by Federal (leaving the Waterloo region taxpayers off the hook in  a sense) there is an incredible disconnect here. How do you expect Waterloo region residents to give up one or two cars in order to switch to what SHOULD be a viable public transit system, when the only way to get in and out of the region is by car or bus? There is an incredible lack of vision on this part that no one seems to have picked up on, at least in Government. Are you listening?

Give people reliable methods to get in and out of the Region and you will see more give up their vehicle, and reduce emissions as is apparently the reason behind these transit investments.

* Number two: Niagara region. the Niagara region is also a fast growing part of Ontario, and is frequently being seen as one of the last unspoiled parts of Ontario that have not been levelled with urban sprawl. Having said that, there are plenty of persons finding their homestead in that region only to join the throngs of commuters on  the QEW into Toronto. Fast becoming a commuter area, with very little public transit to speak of. Adding more VIA Rail service to Niagara, HOV lanes, or GO service to East Hamilton (Stoney Creek) would be a great start.

The largest suprise in my opinion is annoucements of a rapid transit system for Hamilton. I grew up in Hamilton and it is a city that loves their cars. In 1988-1991 Canadian National Railway gave up a railway corridor that snakes through the heart of the city, passing really close to the Hunter Street (Downtown) GO Train station, running up the escarpment to Hamilton Mountain. This is a perfect opportunity to consider redeveloping this corridor into a LRT rapid transit solution for Hamilton, which would connect to the existing GO service, Hamilton Street Railway (bus service) and possibly the above-mentioned future East end Hamilton GO service.  I will be following this closely..

My opinion on MoveOntario 2020 is very positive — it illustrates most of the public transit ‘wishlists’ that surround and include Toronto, many of which have been discussed by the likes of us over the last 20 to 40 years. However, I am still mystified by the lack of inclusion of Waterloo Region/Guelph and Niagara. you’d think after the North Municipal Mainline Alliance has been lobbying goverment for support it would be on their radar..

We’ll see what unfolds in the next few weeks. Any comments? send them to be by e-mail please. Unfortunately, commenting on this site is presently broken. Sorry. =)

 - Steve Host



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