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A New Era for Brampton: Phase 2 of the LRT is a feather in Premier Ford's cap

Together, with sustained support from our provincial leaders, we can look forward to a city that is not only growing but thriving in its new era.

Published May 15, 2024 at 5:15pm

Patrick Brown
Patrick Brown
A New Era for Brampton: Phase 2 of the LRT is a feather in Premier Ford's cap
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown speaks during a press conference to announce his intention to re-run for mayorship, at city hall in Brampton, Ont., on Monday, July 18, 2022. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

As Mayor of Brampton, Canada’s fastest-growing large city, I am privileged to witness the transformational changes shaping our community. The approval of Phase 2 of the LRT project by Premier Doug Ford and Ontario Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria is a monumental advancement for our region, linking our past to our future in a manner that honours Brampton's unique heritage and addresses our modern needs.

Premier Ford's commitment to enhancing Peel region's connectivity draws inspiration from the visionary leadership of the late Bill Davis, a Brampton legend and former Ontario Premier, who first brought GO Train service to our city. Continuing this legacy, Premier Ford has extended robust transit solutions across Ontario, including significant projects in Mississauga, Toronto, and Hamilton.

The choice of a tunnelled route for the downtown section of Brampton’s Phase 2 LRT is pivotal. By tunneling beneath Brampton’s historic downtown, we preserve the integrity of heritage buildings and maintain the aesthetic appeal of our narrow streetscapes. This method prevents additional surface-level congestion, ensuring traffic flow and pedestrian safety in our bustling city centre, and mitigates environmental impacts, maintaining the livability of our urban core. This was the same solution which has worked for many other higher order transit lines in the GTHA. This includes underground sections for the Eglinton Crosstown, the Ontario Line, at both ends of the Finch West LRT, and a significant grade separation in the centre of the LRT line in Hamilton. Even the Port Credit Station at the south end of the Hazel McCallion line is underground.

Furthermore, tunneling allows for more flexible urban planning. It frees up the Main Street corridor for housing and employment density which is critical in a growing City. It also preserves the ability for further LRT extensions down the road.  By moving transit underground for the final portion of the LRT Phase 2, we enhance overall safety and streamline city logistics without the complications of surface-level crossing and the existing underground channels. Importantly, this phase of the LRT also paves the way for an additional 30,000 housing units, a significant step in addressing our city’s housing needs in the midst of a national housing crisis.

It was Bill Davis who wisely pointed out back in 2015 that a surface alignment would not serve Brampton's best interests. His foresight has been invaluable, steering us away from potential pitfalls reminiscent of earlier rushed projects like the Eglinton Crosstown. This time, with comprehensive planning and community consultation, the government has ensured that the LRT's design aligns with Brampton's long-term urban strategy.

The collaboration between the provincial government and Brampton's leadership underlines a shared commitment to not just discussing public transit improvements but actively realizing them. This partnership is highlighted by the recent tour I took of Alstom Canada in Brampton, where innovative, green transportation solutions are being developed. Alstom's contribution extends beyond Brampton as they are also building trains for the Finch West and Ottawa LRT projects. With 170 local employees, Alstom is instrumental in bolstering our economy and reinforcing our status as a hub of technological innovation.

This transformative project, supported ardently by Premier Ford and Minister Sarkaria, ensures that Brampton is not only a participant but a leader in modern, sustainable urban development. Their dedication to a tunnelled approach showcases a commitment to quality and foresight over mere expediency.

As we look forward to the implementation of this project, we are reminded of the power of visionary leadership and strategic collaboration. Phase 2 of the LRT is a pillar of Brampton's future growth, community connectivity, and a tribute to those who see the potential for a greater, more connected Ontario.

This project highlights our collective resolve to build a safer, more prosperous Brampton, and demonstrates the enduring benefits of thoughtful, well-planned urban transit solutions. Together, with sustained support from our provincial leaders, we can look forward to a city that is not only growing but thriving in its new era.

Patrick Brown has served as mayor of Brampton since 2018. He's a former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (2015-18) and a former Conservative MP for Barrie (2006-15).

The views, opinions and positions expressed by all iPolitics columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of iPolitics.

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