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Transportation Master Plan put in motion by council

Councillors approve local TMP and push for county to get moving on Bond Head Bypass
USED 06-12-2018-sign
A Bradford West Gwillimbury sign welcomes people into town on Barrie Street. Jenni Dunning/Bradford Today

Nearly $130 million in transportation improvements are proposed for Bradford West Gwillimbury.

Councillors endorsed a draft Transportation Master Plan (TMP) during a special meeting June 14, building on the Transportation and Roadway Network Assessment from 2012 that looked at area needs out to 2031. The approval ends the first phase of the TMP, which began in 2019 and was stalled by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TMP encompasses vehicular transportation, active transportation and public transportation in the municipality, with a bevvy of improvements proposed in each section.

Approximately 80-to-90 per cent of the costs of the new projects proposed in the plan will be covered by development charges. The remaining amount, staff indicated, could be “funded through property taxes, grants, subsidies and cost-sharing opportunities with third parties, including other levels of government.”

Nearly $80 million of the price tag is eaten up by vehicular transportation and intersection improvements. The TMP found the recommendations from the 2012 assessment continue to be valid, and no new arterial roads will be required in the community, assuming the Bradford Bypass will be under construction by 2031.

It highlighted projects totalling approximately $12.8 million required before the completion of the Bradford Bypass, including improvements at the intersections of Line 6 and Melbourne Drive, Line 8 and Barrie Street, Holland Street and Dissette Street and Line 8 and Sideroad 10, as well as road work on Canal Road from Line 5 to Simcoe Road.

Half of the $80 million price tag includes the cost of the Holland Street Revitalization and the extension of Professor Day Drive from McKenzie Way to County Road 4, which is to be completed in coordination with the construction of the Bradford Bypass.

The TMP also looks at roads that could require work over the next decade, including potential signalization at Canal Road and Simcoe Road and the widening of Line 8 from Barrie Street to Sideroad 10, with the latter being at least a $12.7 million project.

The vehicular transportation section highlighted other local and regional roads either currently being improved or built, or have been planned, including the South West Arterial Road reconstruction of Sideroad 10 from County Road 88 to Line 5, set to begin in 2022 and the Holland Street Revitalization.

Also on that list was the Bond Head Bypass, currently not planned to commence until 2037. Deputy Mayor James Leduc argued that was too far out.

“The last piece we really need is that Bond Head bypass; that will really structure our road network for the future,” Leduc said. "We need to push for that.... If we're going to have homes out there we've got to get this bypass done now."

His colleagues agreed and an amendment was added to the resolution endorsing the TMP to request Simcoe County include the bypass in its 10-year capital plan.

“Otherwise, the interior roads of the subdivisions that are going to be built are going to be used as bypasses,” said Mayor Rob Keffer. “The county has to be spurred on to get the Bond Head Bypass on their Transportation Master Plan and bump up the date.”

Active transportation plays an important role in the TMP as it will help support “the town’s vision of developing a sustainable transportation network” and embrace “transit-supportive community development,” the staff report stated.

By 2013, a total of 93 km of active transportation trails are planned for the municipality, at a cost of about $13 million. Beyond 2031, an additional 124 km of trails are proposed, including 25 km of off-road trails, 24 km of multi-use paths and 25 km of paved shoulders.

The 217 km trail network has a price tag of more than $47.3 million.

“I love the focus on trails and the concrete ways we’re proposing to build on-road cycling routes in the old end of town on those major roads, but also future off-road trails along the north bank of the canal, the river (and) the rails-to-trails GO possibility,” said Coun. Jonathan Scott. “I really like how these trails connect into existing assets, like Scanlon Creek, Henderson Park and even Simcoe County Forests.”

It is also hoped that the TMP can help improve the town’s transit numbers. It calls for greater integration between local and inter-regional services, improved service and ensuring transit is a viable option for everyone in town.

No cost estimates were provided for this portion of the plan as transit options “require further investigation and coordination with the county,” staff reported.

For the most part, this TMP stops at 2031 however an additional phase is forthcoming, factoring in the County of Simcoe’s Municipal Comprehensive Review. That way, the TMP can be built to meet the town’s imposed growth targets to 2041 and 2051.

Execution of the TMP will fall to future councils and the budget considerations that they face. As part of the plan, the multi-year capital plans for roads, active transportation and the municipal transit system will all require updating by staff.