BRT major part of Oshawa's transit future

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As long as Metrolinx and the City of Oshawa keep talking, Mayor Dan Carter is confident the two sides will be able to iron out any small problems with the city’s section of the Durham-Scarborough Rapid Bus Line (BRT).

The loss of 14 on-street parking spots downtown is something the City can fix, leaving the centre median on the short stretch from the Whitby border to Waverly Street as the only area of concern as Carter sees it.

“We want there to be full conversations with our businesses and emergency services about the centre medians they’re proposing,” he said. “We want to keep the conversations going with Metrolinx.”

Because of Oshawa’s one-way street system, the rest of the build running into downtown will be curbside service (no centre median) on both King Street (eastbound) and Bond Street (westbound), with three lanes of vehicle traffic on each side.

With the relatively wide roads on King and Bond, Carter doesn’t expect any of the ‘pinch point’ issues facing their Whitby neighbours.

“There’s enough roadway to accommodate what we need,” he said. “If anything, it may even slow things down and that’s good.”

The BRT, a rapid transit project that will carry passengers from the Scarborough Town Centre to downtown Oshawa, is in the final leg of the design and public consultation phase.

Construction on the project, which is expected to top $500 million when it’s all said and done, is scheduled to get underway next year.

Financial commitments have only been made to take the project to Simcoe Street, but Metrolinx staff said a recent virtual meeting of Durham Region’s Committee of the Whole the BRT would likely continue to Ritson Road and then south to the as-yet unconfirmed new Go Station off First Avenue.

That reveal itself could be cause for celebration and Carter said Metrolinx has been negotiating with CP Rail to use their rail corridor to make the crossing of Highway 401 so that project can become a reality.

Oshawa should also expect to see a second rapid bus line in the near future: the Simcoe Street Rapid Transit line, which will bring passengers to Ontario Tech University/Durham College in the City’s north end.

A $5 million Environmental Assessment will get underway this year and should be complete by 2024.

It’s all good news to Carter. “We believe we’re moving in the right direction.”

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