At last night’s Planning and Development meeting, Town Council endorsed Oakville Transit’s top seven priorities for the coming years, that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ease traffic congestion and ensure there are convenient and viable options for residents and visitors to travel to, from and within Oakville.
Oakville Transit Director, Barry Cole says an enhanced range of transit services is crucial to support the future growth of the town and offer a real alternative to single-occupant automobile use, noting that a full transit bus takes 40 vehicles off the road during rush hour, saving 70,000 litres of fuel and reducing air pollutants by nine tonnes a year.
The seven priority projects are:
Diesel fuel is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Given Oakville’s 2019 climate emergency declaration, and its strong commitment to reducing its impact on the environment, the town is making use of available funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) to accelerate greening its transit fleet. Transitioning to battery-operated electric buses will have a significant positive impact on the town’s corporate goal to reduce GHG emissions 80 per cent from 2014 levels by 2050. The transition of the entire Oakville Transit fleet from diesel to electric is planned to be complete by 2036.
Both Halton Region’s and Metrolinx’s Transportation Master Plans include recommendations for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service on Trafalgar Road between midtown and Highway 407. The idea behind BRT is to provide a dedicated lane for buses, allowing for faster, more reliable and more frequent transit service. The Trafalgar Road BRT will form a critical link for businesses and residents along the Trafalgar corridor. The Town of Oakville is working closely with Metrolinx to support this initiative, and will continue to request Halton Region install High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the route until the BRT is built.
Significant population and employment growth is planned for the Dundas Corridor. The Dundas BRT -- a planned 48 km transit infrastructure from Highway 6 in Hamilton to the Kipling Transit hub in Toronto -- has been identified as Metrolinx’s long-term vision for an integrated, sustainable transit network connecting the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Town staff will continue to work with Metrolinx to bring the BRT to the Dundas corridor, and will work with Halton Region to convert the curb lanes in both directions to HOV at the earliest opportunity.
The lands surrounding the historic hamlet of Palermo are an important growth area within the Town of Oakville. The Dundas Street and Bronte Road corridors are major transit routes, thereby making the Bronte-Dundas intersection a strategic location for a major transit hub. The Palermo Transit Terminal will connect with future North Oakville bus routes, the new employment area being developed near Highway 407, and the Bronte - Lakeshore West GO line. A budget has been assigned to the 10-year capital forecast in 2028/29 to construct the facility.
Midtown is the area centred on Trafalgar Road south of the QEW, with connections to major transportation and transit routes including the QEW, the Lakeshore West rail line and future Regional Express Rail, Dundas Street BRT, and Trafalgar Road BRT. It is planned to accommodate significant population and employment growth and will deliver 23 per cent of Oakville’s planned intensification and almost 8 per cent of Halton’s future intensification between now and 2051. Given the importance of Midtown, and the Oakville GO Station as a major mobility hub, the area will require a unique and environmentally sustainable transit solution to quickly and efficiently move people to, from and within the area.
GO Rail Expansion will transform the transportation network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area over the next decade. Metrolinx will renovate the GO Transit rail network into a system that will deliver two-way, all-day service every 15 minutes over core segments of the GO Rail network, including the Lakeshore West Line. There are obvious community, environmental and economic benefits to this Metrolinx initiative including customer travel time. To ensure commuters can make full benefit of these improvements, Oakville Transit will look to expand the hours of service and increase frequency of service to facilitate efficient and reliable connectivity with the rail line.
Oakville Transit already delivers two On Demand transit services – care-A-van, its specialized transit service for persons with disabilities, and the Home to Hub service for front-door pick-up where full-service routes are not in operation. On Demand service is less expensive to deliver than regular transit service; provides an enhanced customer experience; and is more convenient, responsive and flexible, making it ideal for a variety of applications. Enhanced technology will be critical to expand On Demand services, allowing customers to book their trip and manage that trip end to end. An expanded On Demand service will also require full integration of all types of battery electric vehicle resources, including small buses, vans, sedans, and taxis.
Full details of Oakville Transit’s priority projects, can be found in the staff report on the December 7 Planning and Development Council meeting agenda, item 7.3.
“Providing a balanced transportation system that provides easy, affordable and convenient options for residents, employees and visitors to travel to, from and within Oakville is crucial. We need all levels of government – regional, provincial and federal - to come to the table so we can work together to get these vital projects completed.”
– Mayor Rob Burton
“A full range of transit services supported by appropriate infrastructure is crucial to meet the needs of the future and ensure transit is an attractive option to get around. It’s important that we plan now for the future to ensure appropriate funding and resources are allocated.”
– Barry Cole, director, Oakville Transit