I am happy to hear frank discussions about LRT. Good policy comes from informed public. The current presentation is unworthy of endorsement as it fails to address gridlock in Brampton. There is valid argument that this Monstrosity on Main Street will actually compound grid lock. Anyone who travels around Brampton is fully aware that the city is orientated east/west and that east/west traffic on major arteries (Steeles; Queen; Williams Pkwy.; Boivard etc) is where the relief is needed most. Our north/south traffic is much smoother flowing than the east/west traffic.
I am an avid advocate of mass transit. I am not (however) a fan of poor planning. Light Rail Transit (LRT) is a popular subject. The plan being offered fails in too many areas. I suggest that if the LRT plan was oriented east/west (along Queen etc) a much greater public good would result.
With a planned budget of $1.9 billion any mass transit plan ought to be measured two ways: (ecological and economical impact). It seems that the impetus to jump into the world of LRT is solely being driven by the perceived availability of Federal and/or Provincial funding being brought to the table. Whatever the source, be aware that we all pay- there is no free ride.
Attempting to force fit a north/south mass transit link through narrow and primarily residential sections of Brampton is bad logic. For mass transit to function in its ideal setting, you must have high ridership. The paltry five of six “stops” provided in the urban sections inside of Brampton presuppose large scale public parking nearby. The sprawl of parking lots or parking garages into the adjacent urban communities will not be acceptable. Moreover, eliminating one north-bound and one south-bound vehicular traffic lane from Steeles Avenue to Church Street ignores the existing traffic on that road. Make note: Main Street happens to be a Provincial Highway (designated as Hgwy. #10).
Large trucking terminals nearby on Kennedy Road and Rutherford Road are the destination of high amounts of heavy truck traffic coming off the 401 and then proceeding north along Highway 10 to Steeles Avenue. All said, Hgwy. 10/Hurontario/Main Street is unique in/of itself by the diversity of existing surface traffic. And yet, in its present state, north south traffic is still much less problematic than east/west traffic. One can actually travel from Brampton’s City Hall to Mississauga’s Square One Shopping Centre faster than the same trip can be made from City Hall to Bramalea City Center.
To additionally attempt to force a fit through a well preserved heritage district is (again) illogical. There is an old adage that informs that if something is not broken, it should not be repaired. North/south traffic consisting of passenger cars, light and heavy trucks, Mississauga and Brampton transit buses seem to co-exist much better than they do along all of our east/west thoroughfares. The outcome of this “Monstrosity on Main” is certain to add to the grid lock that already exists on east/west thoroughfares. Why do it?
Knowing the history of finances for large scale government type projects, the opening budget amount of $1.9 billion will quite easily bloom into amount exceeding $3.9 billion when one factors in construction of large scale vehicular parking garages or lots caused by the limited amount of stops along the north/south route.
To insist on forcing a north /south route that terminates in downtown Brampton is to deny the fact that the residential consumer of the service lives miles away. I used to commute by Go Train each day into downtown Toronto. I was a regular commuter when the Mount Pleasant Go Station was created. Within days, the parking lot at Mount Pleasant was quickly into an over-fill state. The message here is that there is demand for east/west transit.
Eventually, I can foresee that the Province of Ontario must create mass transit (rail) links to Brarrie, Orangeville and similar north of GTA destinations. To create a dead-end link (even as far as Mayfield Road is dumb.
Moreover, until gentrification of downtown Brampton does happen, it makes little/no sense to create this multi-billion dollar white elephant and force it along Main Street.
The current Zum fleet and the pickup spots along Queen Street seem to be almost custom made for conversion to LRT. Queen Street is much wider and could handle the two dedicated rail lines simply by widening the road where needed. My vote would be to accept LRT and invest the money into it ONLY IF it was resituated to deal with east/west traffic and help abate the east/west grid locks. To insist on this Monstrosity along Main Street is to leave a legacy of unhappy commuters for generations.
My advice? Solve problems and do not create problems.