In 2023, Downtown Brampton is seeing an unprecedented development boom. This year, construction wrapped up on 45 Railroad, a two-tower rental apartment complex just west of the Brampton GO Station. Other projects, including Solmar’s Bristol Place and Grenwin’s 31-33 George Street North are in the pipeline, while Rogers Communications is looking to relocate its Brampton offices from a converted factory on Dixie Road to a new downtown Brampton location. At the same time, the City of Brampton is looking to build a new Centre for Innovation – bringing together a new central library and educational institution to the southeast corner of George and Nelson Streets. 

Downtown Brampton and Downtown Transit Hub study area, image courtesy of the City of Brampton

As Downtown Brampton – along with the city as a whole – continues to grow, transit must keep up. Brampton Transit’s ridership has grown in 2022 and 2023, surpassing previous monthly and annual records set before the COVID-19 pandemic, Over the next few years, Brampton Transit will introduce two new 'Züm' express bus routes (Chinguacousy Road and Bramalea Road), increase service on other major corridors, and introduce an overnight service. The City of Brampton is also planning an extension of the Hurontario LRT from Steeles Avenue to Downtown Brampton, fixing a mistake made six years ago, while the City and Metrolinx are planning a new Queen Street BRT route to connect with the existing Viva Rapidway in Vaughan. Though Downtown Brampton now has seven day/week GO train service, more work will be required to provide daily hourly service to Guelph and Kitchener and allow trains to pass in the weekday peak periods. 

With all the transit expansion underway, Downtown Brampton sorely needs a new downtown transit hub to replace the existing bus terminal that opened in 1989, and it needs to be built soon. Metrolinx requires part of the property to build a third track through Downtown Brampton for rail service expansion, along with a new platform. 

To accommodate future growth, the Hurontario LRT extension, the proposed Queen Street BRT and expanded GO Transit service, the downtown area requires a new bus terminal, with the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) now underway. 

Downtown Brampton and Downtown Transit Hub Candidate Sites, image courtesy of the City of Brampton

Right now, the City is studying eight long list options. These range from on-street platforms on Nelson Street West and a re-aligned Railroad Street, off-street exchanges on the current bus terminal site, the main GO Station parking lot, or Metrolinx parking lot on the south side of the GO station, or a combination of the above. As the City of Brampton and Metrolinx own many parcels in the downtown core near the existing terminal and GO station including two vacant office buildings on the northwest corner of Nelson and George, there will be no need for expropriation. 

The various options have their own advantages and disadvantages, and are evaluated based on cost, compatibility with current and future development potential, impact on transit operations, ease of transfers between buses, LRT, and GO trains, traffic impact, and environmental impact. The City is looking for public input, which can be submitted until 4:30 PM, Wednesday December 20, 2023. A second round of public information centres will take place in Spring, 2024. 

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Sean Marshall is an UrbanToronto member and a moderator, along with being a geographer, an urban issues advocate, and blogger with a particular speciality in transportation. You can read him at www.seanmarshall.ca

UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.

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