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TMP pushes bypass beyond 2031, County seeks active role in public transit

Posted March 19, 2014

The latest interim update related to Simcoe County's draft Transportation Master Plan (TMP) doesn't foresee the need to build a bypass around Tottenham until after 2031, while the 5th Line, currently a municipal roadway, would be uploaded into the County road network prior to 2031.

The TMP proposes the bypass to run between the 3rd Line to just north of the 5th Line. But the study's evaluation score card, which sets a score of above 24 in various categories as being implemented prior to 2031, puts this project right at 24. The proposed bypass scored a zero as a transit network because potential ridership in the stretch would be nominal.


"The volume of traffic expected on the local roads through Tottenham is very similar with or without the bypass, and in both cases those roads are expected to operate at capacity," according to the TMP. "Therefore the decision on whether to construct the Tottenham Bypass is independent of network capacity."

A proposed bypass around Bond Head area between the 5th Line and 8th Line on Cty Rd 27 falls into the same category, and also eyed for beyond 2031.

Last October, New Tecumseth and Simcoe County entered into a "best efforts agreement" to upload 15.3 kms of local roads to the upper tier within the next 20 years, or the deal is terminated. Included is the 10.5 km stretch of the 5th Line between County Road 10 (Tottenham Road) and the boundary with Bradford West Gwillimbury which would provide the County with an uninterrupted east-west link from Highway 27 to Highway 50. And, Industrial Parkway between County Road 10 (Tottenham Road) and Highway 89 (Young Street), a 4.8 km urban road that will provide the County with a westerly bypass for the community of Alliston.

The TMP recommends expanding the County road classifications to the following six categories:
  • Rural: High speed roadways connecting communities throughout the County;
  • Rural Settlement: Characteristics are similar to a rural environment with localized low-density development in sections along the corridor;
  • Urban - Commercial: Supported primarily by commercial and large format retail development;
  • Urban - Village Core: A roadway around which a community is developed involving commercial, retail and residential;
  • Urban - Main Street: Supported by mixed-use development with a focus on retail in urban communities; and
  • Urban -Industrial: Primarily services industrial employments centres.
In addition to roads, the TMP also delves into public transit, and recommends a greater partnership role for the County with municipalities that currently provide bus services including Essa/Barrie and Collingwood, Wasaga Beach and Midland.

The County would take on a facilitator role, and in 2015, "co-fund a transit planning study to establish target thresholds, including population and employment, densities and other criteria, to indicate when Simcoe County communities should consider or expand transit as a community service. Answer the question, "When is it time to study transit feasibility at the community level?" and in 2015/2016 co-fund Transit Feasibility Studies and Implementation Plan for the Alliston area and for the Alcona / Innisfil area.

"Looking ahead to the long-term horizon, Simcoe County must be a well-connected region. Its Primary Settlement Areas and municipal growth nodes will be the focus of higher-density growth with diverse economies and a variety of services and amenities. Areas of urban growth should move towards community transit services funded by local municipalities or Transit Service Boards. Residents should be able to travel from community to community for work, school, health or recreational purposes without being wholly dependent on the automobile. The vastness of the County of Simcoe’s geographic area is such that its rural areas will require innovative ways of providing transportation choices, opportunities and linkages. While establishing long-term recommendations is not practical, it is imperative to ensure the decisions made during the actionable life of this plan (approximately five years) do not compromise the County of Simcoe's ability to reach the future vision for transit that remains on the horizon."

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