Canadian Consulting Engineer

Ontario outlines infrastructure plans

The Ontario government has issued a discussion paper outlining its priorities for renewing infrastructure over the...

August 3, 2004   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Ontario government has issued a discussion paper outlining its priorities for renewing infrastructure over the next 10 years.
The paper, “Places to Grow: Better Choices, Brighter Future,” covers broad policies on a range of issues including urban planning and infrastructure such as roads, public transit, schools water and sewer systems.
The proposal is the latest effort to minimize urban sprawl and reduce traffic congestion in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, an area that is expected to grow by almost four million people over the next 30 years and takes in Toronto, Hamilton, Kawartha Lakes, Halton, Peel, York, Durham, Waterloo and Niagara. If current patterns of development continue, the projections are that by 2031 commute times will be increased by 45 per cent, automobile emissions could be up by 42 per cent, and more than 1,000 square kilometres of farmland will have been consumed.
The government is seeking input on the discussion paper from municipalities and the public over the summer. It intends to use the input to shape a final 10 year plan in the fall. Written comments can be submitted via the web site www.placestogrow.pir.gov.on.ca.
Though the discussion paper is broad in scope, it does indicate some immediate specific transportation priorities. For example it proposes improving transit corridors in built up areas of the cities, such as along St. Clair Avenue in Toronto. It also proposes extending the Toronto subway to York University and strengthening the Go Transit rail system along the Lakeshore. It also proposes a network of high occupancy vehicle lanes that could be used by buses.
As for routes north out of Toronto, the paper proposes that “optimizing” the use of the already crowded Highway 400 is its first priority, rather than building the Bradford Bypass and 404 and 427 extensions.


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