Port Credit residents glimpsed their past and their future at an open house about the Hurontario light rail transit line Tuesday evening.

The City of Mississauga hosted the event in Clark Memorial Hall—until 1974, the home of the municipal government of the former Village of Port Credit. During the event, attendees talked to staff, looked at display boards and reviewed maps, detailing the project that promises to transform their neighbourhood and much of Mississauga over the next five to ten years.

The Hurontario LRT includes 22 stops between south Brampton and Port Credit, image, Metrolinx

The 20-kilometre (12.4-mile) line would stretch from Port Credit to south Brampton, with trains traveling on a dedicated, centre-road right-of-way, stopping at 22 stations, mostly on Hurontario Street. The line would also circle the Mississauga City Centre area, looping both ways along Burnhamthorpe Road West, Duke of York Boulevard and Rathburn Road West to serve MiWay and GO Transit bus terminals and other nearby points of interest, including Sheridan College's Hazel McCallion campus and Square One mall.

Passengers traveling along the LRT could connect with other rapid transit services including GO Transit's Lakeshore and Milton train lines, the Mississauga Transitway and Brampton's Züm bus rapid transit service.

The Province of Ontario has committed $1.4 billion to support the project and Metrolinx will work with the Cities of Mississauga and Brampton to co-ordinate building and operating the line.

Key design components for the LRT, image, Metrolinx

Last week, Metrolinx joined with Infrastructure Ontario to issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a vendor to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Hurontario LRT project. This is the same alternate financing process (or AFP) that Metrolinx followed to choose the consortium that's working on Toronto's Crosstown LRT project. The RFQ pre-qualifies project teams with the appropriate design and construction experience. Metrolinx and IO will then invite teams that qualify to respond to a request for proposals early next year. By mid-2018, the two Ontario agencies will have evaluated the proposals and awarded the project to the successful proponent team. Construction would then start later in 2018, with the a deadline to complete the project by 2022.

LRT looking south at Mineola, image, Metrolinx

According to Infrastructure Ontario, the "AFP model is an innovative way of financing and procuring large public infrastructure projects". AFP uses private-sector resources and expertise, and transfers project risks to those private-sector teams, which are accountable for delivering the project on time and on budget.

For the Hurontario LRT, Metrolinx establishes the scope and performance requirements for the project and retains ownership of the LRT. But, since the vendor will invest some of its own equity in the project, it will have strong incentive and accountability to make sure it performs its tasks cost-effectively and efficiently.

LRT at Cooksville GO Station, image, Metrolinx

However, this RFQ differs significantly from the Crosstown project in that it also invites proponents to procure a fleet of light rail vehicles for the line. With this extra requirement, Metrolinx is signalling that it may be losing confidence in Bombardier to live up to its commitments to manufacture cars for the line. (Metrolinx has a contract with Bombardier to supply 182 cars for its various light rail transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, but the company has failed to meet its deadlines, even simply to yet supply a prototype of the Crosstown car that it will eventually produce.)

LRT looking east along Burnhamthorpe Road West, image, Metrolinx

When the line is operating, passengers can expect very frequent service, typically every five minutes during rush hours and every 10 minutes during most other times of the week. Trains likely operate as much as 20 hours per day all with two-car trains. However, passengers can also expect to change trains at the city centre if they're traveling further north, or southward. In effect, Metrolinx will operate two different lines in the Hurontario corridor – a north line from the Brampton Transit's Gateway Terminal at Steeles and Main and a south line from Port Credit.

The LRT would operate along the north side of Rathburn Road West in the City Centre area, image, Metrolinx

Project staff told UrbanToronto that this service plan is not likely to change in the near term, although the successful proponent team may end up recommending that some trains provide through service by the time the line is ready to open.

The project also includes plans for a storage and maintenance yard on the east side of Hurontario, just south of Highway 407.

A maintenance and storage facility near Highway 407 would serve the LRT, image, Metrolinx

In other news, the City of Mississauga recently approved a station design hierarchy – outlining three different types of stations for the line.

According to a City staff report, "The transit stop represents an important civic symbol and is considered to be an icon for mobility and connectivity between places and destinations in an urban setting . Through design, the transit stop has the ability to communicate something about its location, sense of place, land use setting, community character and history."

Staff developed the design hierarchy to provide "a strong consistency for stop design along the corridor".

The station design hierarchy for the LRT line, image, Metrolinx

Level 1 stations—11 of them in total—represent the base station design and would generally appear in residential areas with low densities. However, the staff report continues, "the ‘base’ stop is not ‘basic’ in design or utilitarian in character. It merely sets the minimum threshold for stop design that also projects a strong civic quality and aesthetically pleasing form, compared to Level 2 or 3 Stops which are augmented in an incremental fashion through added design features."

Seven level 2 stations amplify the base design to visually highlight destinations that have an area-wide significance, such as the four stops in the city centre area and at major cross streets such as Queensway, Dundas Street and Britannia Road.

Finally, the four level 3 stations "characteristically represent important gateways and ‘entrances’ to the City symbolizing points of departure and arrival at significant places in the City such as the downtown or waterfront and places with regional influence." Examples of this category would include the Port Credit and Cooksville GO Station and the City Centre and Brampton Gateway terminals.

The report suggests a number of elements that station designers can use in layers or in combination to express the different categories of stops, including architectural expression and form, volume and scale, passenger amenities such as shelters and seating, materials and surfaces and lighting and specialized detailing.

Brampton Council has not yet approved the station design hierarchy proposal.

LRT at Eglinton Avenue, image, Metrolinx

You can find out more about the Hurontario LRT from our dataBase file, linked below. Want to talk about it? Leave a comment in the space provided on this page, or get in on the conversation in our associated Forum thread.

Related Companies:  Arcadis, entro, Kramer Design Associates Limited, LRI Engineering Inc., MGI Construction Corp., Ontario Panelization, RJC Engineers