- Oct 19, 2007
- Reaction score
Let me tie up some of the Brampton situation and points mentioned above for anyone interested in context on the situation since 2015 LRT rejection:
The City is undergoing an Integrated Development Plan downtown to widen sidewalks on Main St which will remove 2 of the current 4 lanes forcing the new surface route into mixed traffic.
1) The original iteration of this Downtown IDP project was created by the Nimby's on council who voted down the LRT: Elaine Moore, her faction tried to block any future surface LRT after the 2015 vote. It was scaled back by 6 progressive councilors last term to allow an LRT to be constructed in 2 lanes without ripping up millions of dollars in interlocking Brick, the resurfacing of the 2 lanes will be cheaper asphalt. Urgency was forced on pushing this through by Region of Peel demanding to begin long overdue watermain replacement and other utility work and upgrade Main St in parallel.
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2) A solution to the new mixed traffic problem is to get cars off Main St and utilize the ring of bypasses around downtown which the upcoming Queen BRT is likely to make use of. Make Main St open for transit, cycling and pedestrians only, vehicles will plummet through the corridor and used more for local traffic. It makes sense with the current 5,000 daily Algoma University students, 700 TMU/Rogers Cybersecurity students in the area rapidly growing along with countless other projects potentially coming, like a Rogers HQ (from 8200 Dixie, 2,000 workers) relocation plus a dozen condo towers and counting near the Go station.
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3) Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster has priority on extending this LRT north and is averse to the 1 stop tunnel costs below.
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4) Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy made it clear that the business case and costs matter where the tunnel falls short significantly. An extra Billion dollars for 1 stop tunnel over a 4 stop surface route including important stops like Gage Park/City Hall doesn't make business sense.
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5) Mayor Patrick Brown is still pushing his priority of the Tunnel, going as far to publicly attack the surface route and highlight the 2 lane bottleneck, he's obsessed with a compromise plan to pacify the minority voices of Downtown groups and 3 opposing members on council. Since the fall election, 2 have been replaced by progressives. The Brampton Nimbys are outnumbered and have lost their puppets on council. People in the city are upset as they watch the LRT being built to Steeles, once it becomes in operation it will be a physical daily reminder to all.
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5) Despite Brown's strategy to attack the surface route, today 5/6 of the Nimby Councillors who voted against the 2015 surface route are gone and replaced by younger progressives who were angered at that decision. If we are forced to a vote over the surface again, it's a damn good chance for it to pass with a strong majority even if Brown, Palleschi and any other wildcard oppose which would be horrible optics in a future election for them.
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6) All 5 PC MPP's in Brampton signed a commitment for funding the tunnel route before the 2022 Provincial election pushed by Brown at Council. Sure, makes a good photo op, but the folks who actually control the purse strings and design transit are already showing their disproval on the tunnel that was previously rejected by City of Brampton Staff in 2014/2015 by their own recommendation. We know the value of PC MPP's in Brampton who supported canceling Ryerson University, Go Rail bypass on Kitchener line, cut funding to Erin Oaks Kids facility for autism, half assed response to Peel Memorial. They're all just backbenchers falling in line with the party command.
7) With the 30% Design Docs out this spring for BOTH Tunnel and Surface route, hopefully we can get some of these government officials chiming in on funding to direct council on dropping the most unfeasible plan. Brown is likely going to want to put all our eggs in one Tunnel basket and try to kill off the surface route as he's been priming this month. All this would do is kick the can down the road indefinitely. If we can ditch the tunnel and get another funding commitment, City council is in a good position to get this LRT further north especially with 50/50 funded Fed/Provincial agreement as Hamilton received.
Any portion funded by residents as most likely asked with the Tunnel is going to be very unpopular with residents. Nobody is going to want to foot a cent out of tax dollars for any fraction of a Billion dollar tunnel when we had a fully funded surface solution that is still feasible.
Small clarification for 6):
The pledge (or whatever you want to call it) was also signed by the 2021 federal election candidates from all parties. It didn't say "tunnel" specifically on it (see here and here), but the 50% amount matches the 50% figure for a tunnel, which as noted above was based on the only high-level estimate by staff available to date (it was provided in 2019). That's why the 2023 number will be interesting. The "tunnel" word was added for the 2022 provincial election pledge (hard to see but example here; not specifically mentioned here but the broken link below might have it.) It was then mentioned in this 2022 document (see "City Advocates for Provincial Funding at Association of Municipalities of Ontario" - it opens a PDF). The addition of the word might be related to when Council expressed its preference. I can't remember what month/year that was.
Just as an interesting comparison, Toronto Council has expressed its preference (with cost implications to be picked up by others because they didn't pledge any of their own funds within the motions themselves) for many transit projects over the years: Davenport Diamond, fully tunneled Eglinton West LRT, the Ontario Line being fully tunneled, changes to the Scarborough-Durham BRT, and I guess the ultimate example, the Scarborough Subway Extension.