5.0
LOOKING FORWARD

5.2
THE FIRST 15 YEARS

In the first 15 years of the RTP’s implementation, there will be significant improvements to the GTHA’s transportation system. A priority has been placed on key regional projects that will result in substantial capacity increases in key corridors, bring new rapid transit services to underserved areas throughout the region, and improve regional connectivity. These are illustrated in Schedule 1 and are highlighted below. Details such as routing, technology, station locations and level of service are subject to further analysis, such as the Benefits Case Analysis that Metrolinx will carry out in partnership with municipalities and transit agencies. These projects will also be supported by significant new policies and programs.

Top Transit Priorities Within the First 15 Years
Within the first 15 years of the RTP’s implementation, the top 15 transit priorities for early implementation are (from west to east):
  • Express Rail on the Lakeshore Line from Hamilton to Oshawa
  • Rapid transit in Downtown Hamilton from McMaster University to Eastgate Mall
  • Rapid transit on Dundas Street in Halton and Peel
  • 403 Transitway from Mississauga City Centre to the Renforth Gateway
  • Hurontario rapid transit from Port Credit to Downtown Brampton
  • Brampton’s Queen Street AcceleRide
  • Rail link between Union Station and Pearson Airport
  • VIVA Highway 7 and Yonge Street through York Region
  • Spadina Subway extension to Vaughan Corporate Centre
  • Yonge Subway capacity improvements and extension to Richmond Hill
  • Eglinton rapid transit from Pearson Airport to Scarborough Centre
  • Finch/Sheppard rapid transit from Pearson Airport to Scarborough Centre and Meadowvale Road
  • Upgrade and extension of the Scarborough Rapid Transit line
  • Rapid transit service along Highway 2 in Durham
  • Improvements to existing GO Rail services and extension of GO Rail service to Bowmanville

CONNECTING URBAN GROWTH CENTRES

The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe identifies 17 urban growth centres in the GTHA — typically the downtowns of large- and mid-sized cities — and directs municipalities to plan these areas as focal points for growth and development.

The GTHA’s first Express Rail service will provide significantly faster and higher capacity service to commuters travelling along the GO Lakeshore Line, connecting several of the Growth Plan urban growth centres: the downtowns of Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Toronto, Pickering and Oshawa. Collectively, these six centres are forecast to accommodate significant growth over the next 25 years, and new Express Rail service will make transit an attractive alternative.

Express Rail will also be extended to Downtown Brampton, along with more frequent, two-way all-day Regional Rail service to the urban growth centres of Downtown Milton, Richmond Hill/Langstaff Gateway, Markham Centre and Etobicoke Centre.

The first subway extensions outside of Toronto will connect two additional urban growth centres — the Vaughan Corporate Centre via York University and Richmond Hill/Langstaff Gateway. Toronto’s five urban growth centres — Etobicoke Centre, Yonge-Eglinton Centre, North York Centre, Scarborough Centre and Downtown Toronto — will be linked by the expanded and improved rapid transit network.

Rapid transit services will also be extended to Mississauga City Centre, Newmarket Centre and Downtown Burlington.

The Downtown Markham and Downtown Pickering urban growth centres will be connected via rapid transit on Highway 407 and Brock Road.

By the end of the first 15 years of the RTP, every urban growth centre in the GTHA will be linked by the regional rapid transit network.

NEW EAST-WEST TRANSIT CONNECTIONS

One of the most significant gaps in the current transit network is the lack of east-west higher-order transit connections to destinations other than Union Station.

A new rapid transit line along Eglinton Avenue in Toronto will provide rapid transit service for local residents as well as a crucial new east-west corridor for regional travellers. By connecting to an upgraded and extended Scarborough Rapid Transit (SRT) line, which is also part of the first 15 years of the RTP, the opportunity exists to create a new continuous service, without transfer, fromthe east end of Scarborough to the Pearson Airport district. The Benefits Case Analysis will consider both fully and partially grade-separated applications of Toronto Transit Commision (TTC) light rail vehicles for this corridor, and will assess the termination of the SRT line at Sheppard Avenue or at Malvern.

Several other significant new east-west rapid transit corridors are part of the first 15 years of the RTP. With the new Finch/Sheppard rapid transit corridor, communities of social need that have historically lacked good higher-order transit service will have ready access to new rapid, comfortable, safe and frequent higher-order transit services, connecting those communities to employment and training opportunities throughout the GTHA, including the Pearson Airport district. The Benefits Case Analysis will consider several routing options for this corridor. Options will explore approaches to connect the Finch line more directly to the Sheppard line for improved connectivity.

In York Region, existing VIVA services will be upgraded to rapid transit to create an east-west spine on Highway 7, connecting with AcceleRide on Queen Street to Downtown Brampton. In Halton and Peel, rapid transit along Dundas Street will provide a direct linkage to the subway system at Kipling Station, and rapid transit along Highway 403 will connect Peel and Halton to the Pearson Airport district.

In Durham Region, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax and Pickering will have rapid transit access along Highway 2 to Toronto, with connections for travel further west to the Pearson Airport district along the new Finch/Sheppard corridor or the new Eglinton rapid transit corridor. The Benefits Case Analysis will consider options for connecting this corridor to either the Kennedy Subway Station or Scarborough Centre.

Across Halton, Peel, York and Durham, high speed bus service along Highway 407, with priority measures where necessary, such as bus bypass shoulders, improved station access, and other improvements, will serve longer distance travellers in a precursor service to the fully dedicated transitway facility proposed in the later years of the RTP.

With these additional services, travellers will have several new options for travelling by transit from east to west across the region.

INTENSIFICATION CORRIDORS

Directing growth and development to intensification corridors is a key objective of the province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe as well as municipal Official Plans. The RTP supports this objective with new transit service along several corridors including:

  • King/Main Streets and James Street in Hamilton;
  • Trafalgar Road in Oakville;
  • Hurontario/Main Streets in Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon;
  • Highway 7 and Yonge Street in York Region;
  • Finch Avenue, Sheppard Avenue, Eglinton Avenue, Jane Street, Don Mills Road and Lakeshore Road West in Toronto; and
  • Brock Road connecting Downtown Pickering to the Seaton community.

These corridors have tremendous opportunity to accommodate growth and development, and achieve a transit-supportive density and urban form.

These corridors are also critical linkages in the local transit networks of these municipalities. Upgrading transit services in these corridors to rapid transit, and including them in the regional rapid transit system, will significantly improve service for local transit riders, it will also offer the potential to free up local resources that are currently being used to fund local bus services in these corridors to improve local transit elsewhere in these communities.

FACT: TRANSIT TRIPS TO PEARSON
Currently, less than one per cent of all travellers at Pearson Airport arrive by public transit.

PEARSON AIRPORT AND UNION STATION

With well over half a million combined jobs within less than four kilometres of these two hubs, and tens of thousands of travellers passing through them every day, Pearson Airport and Union Station are the two most significant mobility hubs in the GTHA.

Access to Union Station will be significantly enhanced with improvements to the rail network. Improvements at Union Station will ensure that it has the capacity to handle the additional trains and increased passenger flows.

Transit access to the Pearson Airport district will be provided from all directions: from the east along the Eglinton corridor; from the north via the Finch transit corridor; from the west via theHighway 403 Transitway and via the Queen Street/Highway 427 corridor; and from the south via Highway 427 from Kipling Station.

The RTP will also connect these two critical hubs to one another with new rail service.

EXTENDING THE REACH OF RAPID TRANSIT

Most communities at the periphery of the GTHA are entirely dependent on driving for getting around. The RTP will extend rapid transit service to more of these communities, giving them a viable alternative to driving or opportunities to shorten their auto trips, taking more cars off our congested highways. In the first 15 years of the plan, GO Regional Rail service will be extended to Stoney Creek, Bolton, Aurora Road, east Markham, Seaton and Bowmanville.

Although outside the mandate of Metrolinx and the RTP, several transit linkages to communities outside of the GTHA are identified as potential future extensions of the GO Regional Rail system. These include connections to Cambridge, Guelph, Niagara, Peterborough and Kitchener- Waterloo. Metrolinx will continue to engage provincial and federal partners to ensure that regional and national/international passenger transportation services are well-integrated.

STRATEGIC IMPROVEMENTS TO THE HIGHWAY AND REGIONAL ROAD NETWORK

Improvements to the transportation system in the first 15 years of the plan are not limited to transit. Hundreds of lane-kilometres will be added to the region’s expressway network with the completion of the Highway 407 East extension to Highway 35/115 and the extensions of Highways 404, 427 and 410, as identified in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Improvements to existing 400 series highways are also part of the RTP. For example, they include widening Highway 401 from Highway 410 to Hurontario Street, including HOV lanes, and new HOV lanes on Highway 400 between Major Mackenzie Drive and King Road, on Highway 427 from Highway 409 to Highway 407, and on the QEW between Trafalgar Road and Guelph Line.

Carpool lots will be added to the highway network to encourage carpooling and to support interregional bus services and HOV lanes.

In addition, arterial road widenings and extensions will be added to the road system, in accordance with the 10-year municipal road programs and longer range road network expansion plans in the Transportation Master Plans of the Cities of Toronto and Hamilton and the regional municipalities of Halton, Peel, York and Durham.

REGIONAL BUS SERVICES

Although not part of the regional rapid transit network in Schedules 1 and 2, GO Transit and privately-delivered regional bus services provide an essential regional transportation service. The flexibility of buses is unmatched in serving low-density areas, as well as off-peak and complex trips, and in adapting quickly to new demand patterns. Today, GO buses carry over 12 million passengers per year, and private bus operators carry millions more, with ridership growing rapidly. The expansion of GO Transit and other regional bus services throughout the region, with an emphasis on building ridership in anticipation of future regional rapid transit service while meeting the immediate needs of travellers, will be a critical part of the GTHA’s future transit network.

SMART GOODS MOVEMENT

The RTP’s goods movement strategy will identify key investments and opportunities to improve goods movement through the region. Recommendations from that strategy related to separating freight and passenger service and identifying new freight rail corridors and inter-modal facilities will have begun to be implemented within the first 15 years of the RTP. Innovative approaches, for example on urban logistics, will be piloted in test areas.

A GROWING WALKING AND CYCLING NETWORK

By the 15-year mark of the RTP, as much as $300 million will have been invested in new walking and cycling infrastructure across the region, creating up to 4,500 kilometres of new, dedicated, on and off-road facilities, including new facilities to overcome barriers such as 400-series highways, rail corridors and major rivers, and missing sidewalks on major roads. New policies and programs will have created environments that encourage walking and cycling throughout the GTHA.

A BETTER TRAVELLING EXPERIENCE

Several new programs will be in place within the first 15 years of the plan that will improve the travelling experience. Walking and cycling to rapid transit stations will be easy and appealing. Travellers will be able to access the vastly expanded transit network with an integrated transit fare card that allows for seamless connections among all transit service providers. An online information portal will provide a single access point for information on transit fares, schedules, cycling networks, congestion, roadworks and more. Mobility hubs and other key stations will offer real-time information on vehicle arrival times, and notifications about delays.

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