On July 15th I had the pleasure to be the only Ward 3 Councillor candidate to attend an important information session about the proposed Kipling Bus Terminal. The basis of the forum was to explain two new proposals for a complete overhaul to Kipling Station. The forum had representatives from Metrolinx, City of Toronto, Mississauga Transit and consultants. The room was fairly packed and included Russ Ford (council candidate in Ward 6), council appointees Peter Leon & James Maloney.
Mextrolinx has identified Kipling as an "ANCHOR HUB" for transportation. By implementing a Kipling bus terminal, Mississauga & GO buses would have access to both subway and GO Train service. Mississauga buses would have a station that is accessible (as Islington is not). This project coincides with a revitalization of Six Points Junction or "Spaghetti Junction" with road alterations and development plans.
This information session was necessary to inform the public of the Toronto Hydro's change in policy to allow any new facility within their hydro corridor. The original Kipling bus terminal would have been located closer to the current passenger drop-off location. That proposed design was a great design, which I wish could have been the template. The need to change the design has been one of the main reasons for delay.
The two proposed bus terminals are very similar in design. Both would have the new bus terminal located in the same area (currently parking area near 101 Subway Crescent) and would use Subway Crescent solely as the access point for Mississauga Transit and Go buses. This location was the only viable option based on the restrictions from Toronto Hydro. The bus terminal would be connected to the current west entrance of Kipling Station by an open pedestrian walkway and an underground tunnel. Each proposal would remove parking spots from Kipling Station. This cannot be avoided and was a concern brought up by several residents who felt there needed to be MORE parking.
Proposal #1 would have the bus terminal connected to Subway Crescent, TTC buses would not be effected from their current routing. This option would have a single access point to parking from a new entrance at Acorn Avenue. This new entrance would also have passenger pickup parking different than the current layout; no more circular parking, a traditional parking lot that is more functional. Proposal One would keep traffic off of Auckland Road, giving quicker routing for TTC buses. This would also rid the corner of Subway Crescent and Auckland Road that has always been a dangerous intersection.
Proposal #2 has same bus terminal, access point to parking from Acorn Avenue but would have it connect to Auckland Road. This would give two points of access to parking, a side-of-the-road type passenger drop-off with a lesser amount of spots. Parking in this design would have approximately 50 less spaces than option #1. Traffic would have options but would narrow the pedestrian walkway, have a similar busy intersection like Subway Cres. & Auckland Rd.
Several questions I had were answered by the panel about future transit expansion.
1. The City of Toronto seems determined to extend the subway to Sherway Gardens. That concept is one of the main reasons for the lack of development along Dundas Street towards the 427. I would fully support a subway extension (and as discussed, could mean the bus terminal may also move locations). The one obstacle to expansion above ground is the 101 Subway Crescent building. If the city had the ability, it would have had an above ground link over to Honeydale Mall area, this is not possible. The subway extension would have to go underground and the cost skyrockets; which is why the delay and little discussion on such a project.
2. Dundas Street within the "BIG MOVE" has a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) which would also connect to Kipling Station. It would be a bus route from Burlington to Kipling Station, opening up 40KM of connected transit.
The forum allowed questions from residents that wanted to know about safety, amount of buses added to Kipling Station, parking, development and finally functionality. Residents of 101 Subway Crescent felt as if the current proposal would leave them dealing with over 760 buses along their building access. With the bus terminal outside their building, 101 Subway Crescent will be directly effected by the changes.
The forum was a first step in utilizing Kipling Station properly. The next steps include sending proposal to City of Toronto in 2014, building up to a completion date of 2019. It may seem like a long timeline, but five years for transit improvements are worth it.
Now some quick points to consider of why I support the building of Kipling Bus Terminal:
- Currently Kipling Go Station is not accessible
- 2 new accessible access points
- Islington is currently not accessible
- Mississauga buses to Kipling would have accessibility
- Electrification of GO Transit benefit to centralized transit hub
- GO Bus, Mississauga Bus, TTC, Go Train all in one location
- Better local access for cyclists with increased bicycle parking
- Station design better flow, open and necessary
- Development of area around Kipling Station
- Road changes to simplify driving
- Islington Station re-development