After voting not to have the Hurontario LRT extend straight into downtown Brampton, Brampton City Council began deliberating the alternative routes for the LRT. This time, Brampton taxpayers will be on the hook for the whole thing without any provincial money on the table.
By a margin of 7 to 4, Brampton City Council has voted to spend $4.4 million 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:
Let’s take a look at what Kennedy and McLaughlin north of Steeles currently look like. This is McLaughlin Road north of Steeles:
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And here’s Kennedy Road north of Steeles:
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 to spend $4.4 million 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.
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.
But back to 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. You can watch her take on the issue here:
At this point, is it still worth it to have an LRT along either Kennedy or McLaughlin? Perhaps we can do what activists Kevin Montgomery suggested and pilot some Zum lines on Kennedy and McLaughlin to build the ridership first before considering an LRT, rather than just throw millions of Brampton’s own money into another route after rejecting the one the province were prepared to fully pay for.
The idea of boosting bus services along Main Street to take people from Shoppers World LRT station up to the Brampton GO station sounds like a more affordable and rational use of $4.4 million than some pipe dream from regressive councillors in an attempt to cover up past mistakes. It’s just a shame Brampton has reached this point on the way to becoming an a bigger and more urbane city.