Where Should Brampton’s Main Transit Station Be?

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When it comes to transit in Brampton, you can always count on the news to be, at the very least, exciting.

As anyone following transit news likely knows, Brampton is getting a new mobility hub (think major transit station) to connect local, regional and rapid transit.

As to where that hub will go, well, that remains something of a mystery.

According to a recent 680 News article, the general area will be somewhere within 800 metres of the Steeles and Hurontario intersection (the Shopper's World site is an option).

"What's very important when we look at establishing a mobility hub is the connections of the different modes of transit, but more critical to that is the land that is used to support transit," said Brampton's Interim Commissioner of Planning and Development Heather MacDonald, as reported by 680 News.

The Shopper's World area is, at this point, the last stop on the controversial Hurontario LRT project. As of now, the grand-scale Metrolinx initiative is slated to run from the Port Credit Go Station to Hurontario and Steeles. Initially, Metrolinx proposed a route that would extend from Mississauga to Brampton's downtown core—a provincially funded route that Brampton council famously voted down.

Recently, Brampton council voted to spend $4.4 million examining alternate routes by a margin of 7 to 4. Council voted to conduct environmental assessments on proposed LRT routes along either Kennedy or McLaughlin Road. In case you were wondering what those alternative routes look like, here are the alternative route alignments:

While it may look like Kennedy and McLaughlin have the capacity to support an LRT route and spur development along these corridors, Brampton City Council voted just to study which route to take, so this is going to be a long-term project. Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon surmised that it would take up to 10 years if they start construction in 2022, so Brampton could be looking into the 2030s before an LRT goes anywhere near the Brampton GO station and the new hospital.

On the subject of the hub, Councillor Gael Miles said she doesn't care what route gets approved just as long as there is a regional transit network that links up GO station to GO station. For the record, Miles voted to keep the original provincially funded LRT plan along Main Street.

As for the Kennedy and McLaughlin options, Mayor Jeffrey indicated those routes were previously studied and that looking at them again is reminiscent of the movie Groundhog Day. She also added how difficult it would be to extract money from any provincial government.

Since environmental assessments do indeed take time—perhaps not 10 years, but certainly three or more—the forthcoming Hurontario LRT will be complete before alternative routes are selected (perhaps long before, as the project is slated to break ground this year). Because of the lopsided completion targets, the Steeles and Hurontario hub will be some distance from the downtown GO station.

That truth begs the question: Is the proposed hub location the best option? Or will locating the hub in that area end up being more a hardship than a benefit for Brampton commuters?

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