TORONTO, April 4, 2017 /CNW/ - Today, at an event hosted by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca and local mayors, including Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey and Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, were at Toronto Pearson to learn about the airport's transit vision. The GTAA shared new research that further supports a proposal for a regional transit centre located at Toronto Pearson, serving as a second major mobility hub for the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA).
The research shows a growing demand for transit in the West GTHA, a region currently under-served by transit but experiencing rapid growth. Along with the quantified benefits of reduced congestion and GHG emissions and economic growth, the findings demonstrated strong demand for better transit in the West GTHA:
- The West GTHA generates more than 4.5 million trips per day, representing 35 per cent of the GTHA's trips. Only seven per cent of these trips are by public transit.
- Nearly twice as many West GTHA commuters travel across the top of the GTA to North Toronto and York Region, the "Northern Arc," than to downtown Toronto.
- Despite greater demand to the Northern Arc than downtown, greater than 60 per cent of transit trips require at least one connection, with more than 20 per cent requiring two or more. Only 35 per cent of trips downtown require a connection.
- Less than eight per cent of "reverse commuters," those travelling from Toronto to jobs in West GTHA, commute to work using transit, compared to 42 per cent of West GTHA commuters heading to downtown Toronto.
The Minister and Mayors participated in a briefing on the study, following which they spoke to media about the benefits to the region. The study confirmed that even if the airport did not exist, the area around Toronto Pearson would still be the logical place for a "Union Station West."
Last year, the GTAA announced plans to build a regional transit centre on airport property to support both its growth plans and the region's need for better transit connectivity. The GTAA has indicated it will fund the development and construction of the transit centre at Toronto Pearson. It continues to work with all levels of government to advance plans on priority lines connecting into the regional transit centre.
Located between three municipalities, four major highways and a number of planned and existing transit lines, Toronto Pearson's location has the unique ability to connect the surrounding region. It's also situated to effectively serve the transit needs of the West GTHA and those travelling along the 'Northern Arc,' while also offering a strategic link to the Toronto-Waterloo Region Corridor, which travels through other important economic areas in the GTHA West, including Brampton and Mississauga. Commuters trying to get around Toronto Pearson, as well as the daily one million trips generated within the Airport Employment Zone, the second largest concentration of jobs in the country, means that a regional transit centre in the area would enable the bundling of trips, increasing the frequency of transit services.
The GTAA will be publishing the full findings in coming months.
"There's more alignment than ever right now amongst all levels of government. We can't miss this opportunity to have important conversations about the economic linkages between the massive employment in the airport area and this region, and the entire province, to thrive. The province is pleased to have such strong partnerships with the GTAA and Ontario's municipalities and we appreciate the opportunity we were given to be part of these discussions today. I look forward to working more closely with all partners to study the Toronto Pearson transit centre."
Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation
"Mississauga, located in the heart of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), is proudly home to Toronto Pearson International Airport – Canada's national airport and an important generator of local economic development opportunities. Whether directly, or indirectly, all roads and rails must lead to the airport. I support a vision that re-imagines Toronto Pearson as the Union Station of the western GTHA which will help people travel to Pearson, and throughout Mississauga and the GTHA."
Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga
"People's lives do not stop at our border with Mississauga and Brampton, neither do our economic challenges and opportunities. Through a connection of SmartTrack's Eglinton West LRT, the transit hub at the airport will provide an efficient and easy access for Toronto residents to jobs at the Airport Corporate Centre and in Mississauga and Brampton. This hub will help address the growing gap between the region's population and employment and the growth in transit service."
John Tory, Mayor of Toronto
"The GTAA and Toronto Pearson Airport play an integral role in Brampton's and the West GTHA's economic development. A regional transportation hub at Toronto Pearson would allow our residents and businesses to have better and faster access to both regional and global markets. A regional transit hub at the airport would also offer a strategic link to the Toronto-Brampton-Waterloo Innovation Super Corridor, and will ensure we can provide the competitive advantage necessary for the second largest high tech cluster in North America. The transit need in the West GTHA is clear and Toronto Pearson would be the perfect location for a "Union Station West".
Linda Jeffrey, Mayor of Brampton
"Greater two-way all-day public transit between Toronto and Waterloo Region is extremely important to our businesses and residents. An investment in a GTAA Regional Transit Centre located at Toronto Pearson, coupled with investments in GO regional rail and high speed rail, would help alleviate gridlock on highways, and would be a significant driver of economic growth for the Canadian economy. It would also recognize the importance of the Toronto-Waterloo Region Innovation Corridor, and allow the Corridor to better compete against other similar innovation ecosystems around the world."
Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener
"Waterloo is home to some of the most innovative and creative talent in the country. It is vitally important for the benefit of the broader GTHA that we have an effective regional transit network that connects communities and allows people to move quickly and efficiently throughout this large area further fueling a strong provincial and national economy. The universities and businesses in this region can envision the day when they can use high speed rail for a short comfortable trip to the future Pearson hub or Union Station. This will be an economic game-changer for Ontario."
Dave Jaworsky, Mayor of Waterloo
"This opportunity is about more than just getting people to and from the airport; it is about generating a host of benefits for people living and working in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. This starts with reduced congestion on the roads around the airport, resulting in more efficient movement of people and goods. The end result would be a more economically competitive region, and one that is better positioned to unlock the significant growth opportunities that the future holds."
Howard Eng, President and Chief Executive Officer, Greater Toronto Airports Authority
About Toronto Pearson
Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) is the operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport. Toronto Pearson is focused on becoming the best airport in the world; enhancing the passenger experience, safety, security, supports the success of our airline partners. With more than 44 million passengers in 2016, Toronto Pearson is Canada's largest airport and second busiest North American international airport.
SOURCE Greater Toronto Airports Authority
For further information: GTAA media contact: 416-776-3709 | [email protected]; Minister Stephen Del Duca's Office media contact: Andrea Ernesaks, 416-327-6372 | [email protected]; Office of Mayor Bonnie Crombie media contact: Michael Genova, 905-896-5069 | [email protected]; Office of Mayor John Tory media contact: Keerthana Kamalavasan, 647-998-2615 | [email protected]; Office of Mayor Linda Jeffrey media contact: Jaskaran Singh Sandhu, 905- 874-2000 x 47005 | [email protected]; Office of Mayor Berry Vrbanovic media contact: Paul Grivicic, 519-741-2200 x7795 | [email protected]