Mississauga's LRT Back in the Spotlight

 

Last week, City Hall's main corridor was an organized maze of oversized charts, blurbs and graphics depicting what the city's Hurontario-Main corridor might look like once light rail transit (more colloquially known as LRT) comes to town. 

The first poster showed a sleek green train gliding along Burnhamthorpe past Square One, and others described how the project will progress should the moving parts of the initiative  -- the sponsorship, funding, approval, et al. -- operate smoothly over the next few months and years.

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The project, which was first officially introduced in 2008, is currently in its preliminary design stage, a phase which includes the somewhat lengthy Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP). Once the preliminary design and TPAP phases work out such major need-to-knows as initial design and technical analysis, corridor alignment, LRT system design, traffic and environmental impact, and cost estimates (to name a few), it'll be up to the provincial government, sponsors, stakeholders and the public to decide what kind of LRT the city will see.

While the project is not yet in the TPAP stages (it's expected to be in spring of 2013), the TPAP components it'll have to work out are transportation and utilities (traffic circulation, access to properties, parking and loading, interface with local and regional buses, pedestrian and cycling connections, etc.), socio-economic environment (pedestrian comfort and safety, access to attractions, etc.), natural environment (will it impact the ecosystem), and cultural environment (will it respect heritage, archaeological and Aboriginal landmarks).

According to literature distributed at the info session, the time for citizens to weigh in on proposed routes is now. In August, the project coordinators hope to move on to the concept design stage. In December, they hope to be prepping for TPAP, and once April of 2013 arrives, the community will be invited to share their thoughts on a more finalized vision.

So, while it's been established that the project is in a very preliminary stage and no solid answers regarding routes and costs is available just yet, some facts are out there:

  1. The project aims to have the LRT run from downtown Brampton to the Lakeshore in Port Credit

  2. The railway will take over existing lanes on Sauga and Brampton roads (i.e. a driving lane on Hurontario may be lost to drivers)

  3. The trains are expected to move up to 14,000 people in both directions per hour

  4. The plan, oddly enough, has not been designed to ease congestion, but rather to move more people as the city's population continues to grow

  5. Who will ultimately fund the project is not known, but Metrolinx (an organization that supports the project) has identified it as a priority. All levels of government may be involved in future funding

  6. 2014 is the absolute earliest people can expect to see the project begin to take shape

  7. The LRT will link with some Go Transit bus and train terminals and highway 407

  8. It'll likely operate from 5:00 am to 2:00 am


So, in a city where residents often complain about congestion, how do they feel about a major project that will fundamentally alter the city's landscape while not necessarily easing road traffic significantly?

"We get a lot of, 'I like it, but...'", says project leader Matthew Williams. "Most people like it because they hope other people will take it, but they worry about how it'll impact their drive."

That said, Williams is hopeful more people will come to embrace the initiative, and says he's careful to explain that the plan is to move more people and prevent further congestion -- not decrease traffic today.

"If we don't do anything, traffic will increase," he says. "It's about moving more people. It [traffic] is still gong to be busy; I don't want to mislead people. But the project makes a good case for itself. We're hopeful. Some people also ask if we can build it faster!"

For more information, visit http://lrt-mississauga.brampton.ca/EN/Pages/Welcome.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

UPDATES:

  • City of Mississauga, November 30, 2012: 
    “The City of Mississauga is preparing for Light Rail Transit on the Hurontario corridor,” said Mayor Hazel McCallion. “We are pleased with the announcement by Metrolinx yesterday that the LRT is part of its next wave of projects in the Big Move and we look forward to working with Metrolinx on the implementation of the LRT. We have done our homework. Our residents have told us this is what they need and want.  We have a completed feasibility study and resulting Master Plan. We are working towards bringing it to Mississauga. We will face funding challenges and we are preparing for that.  We are working with our funding partners including Metrolinx that has strongly supported us along the way. Light Rail Transit continues to be a priority and we know it represents the future for our City. Light Rail Transit on Hurontario can be found in all aspects of our future planning. It will not be easy.  Anything worth doing takes time, money and effort and we respect that and are thankful for the support we have received."
     
  • The Toronto Star, November 29, 2012
     - Is Mississauga bailing on its LRT plan?

  • The Toronto Star, January 23, 2013 
    LRT envy: Mayor Hazel McCallion says Mississauga deserves the same deal as Toronto

 

What do you think of the LRT (light rail transit) idea from Lakeshore that goes up HWY 10 all the way up to Brampton at an estimated cost $1.5 billion?

Why do I need to get to Brampton? - 24% Good old Mississauga Transit works for me - 22% This will make Mississauga a world class city - 18% This will help alleviate traffic - 14% I can think of something better to spend $1.5 billion on - 8% This will cause a traffic nightmare during construction - 8% Do we really need this? - 4% The businesses on HWY 10 will suffer during construction - 2%

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