Currently Browsing: Debbie in the Community

Shuttle Buses to GO Station and more

Interested in a shuttle service to GO station?  Do you want to see more/better public transit options in King?  Attend the public information meeting Tuesday Aug. 16 5-7 PM at King City Public Library.

As I reviewed in a recent update on a Metrolinx presentation to Council there is soon going to be additional GO train capacity as a 5th train will be added starting this fall.  Very unfortunately, there is no additional parking capacity.  So there will be more frustrated drivers who can’t park their cars legally and there are going to be more frustrated residents in the vicinity of the station because of the cars parked illegally in front of their homes. And, there will not be fewer commuters on the road…at least not fewer ones starting and ending their day’s commute in King City.

We need a shuttle bus to reliably transport people from remote parking lots (e.g. the parking lot at 400/King Road) to the station etc.  As Council expressed to Metrolinx, addressing this problem is a priority.  I will be working with our Council to ensure that plans are developed and executed.

Further, we need to see effective public transit options across the Township.  Providing such is in the 10 YR plan.  What are details and why not sooner?

York Region Transport and VIVA are hosting public information meetings across the Region as part of their initiative to re-assess routes and services across the Region.  Tuesday, Aug. 16 5-7PM there is one at King City Library.  YRT/VIVA needs to hear from the public that shuttle service to GO station is a priority.  And we want to know what the plans are for service across the municipality.

A Re-play of the 60’s decision to widen Keele?

A class Environmental Assessment is starting to assess the “opportunity” to improve King Road between Hwy 400 and Hwy 27 to accommodate increased population and traffic growth.  This study has been long anticipated as it has been shown on York Region’s plans for several years.  (The anticipation has not been one of happy anticipation for sure!)

The timing could not be better in terms of my own sensitivity to the whole issue.   I)  As I expressed in my opposition to the GTA West Corridor highway, more pavement does not solve traffic problems.  How many cars early in the morning and late afternoon are on that section of the road because there is inadequate public transit?  And, what new bottleneck will be created?  2)  7/17 I participated in a walking tour of King City’s core conducted by the Heritage and Historical committees/groups. As one would expect the catastrophic decision by the Province to enlarge Keele to 4 lanes in the 1969 and its consequences (intended and otherwise) were hi-lighted.  As implications of widening King Rd. is assessed a 50 year lens needs to be used.

You can read the notice here for the EA and as you will see citizens and groups are invited to participate.

Delights Outside of King

Sunday I reminded myself that King does not have a monopoly on beautiful countryside.  Nor does it have a monopoly on committed, creative volunteers with a passion for heritage.

As you might be looking for a little afternoon jaunt and wanting to see something different, I would like to share two good discoveries I made yesterday in Uxbridge, specifically in the village of Leaskdale.  The Foster Memorial and Lucy Maud Montgomery’s home of 15 years.   (In case you don’t know of her, LMM is the author of Anne of Green Gables.)  Restoration of her home in this manse has just been completed.  Mr. Foster is a very interesting philanthropist:  in addition to this architectural gem he left bequests for feeding the birds in winter, planting trees on the roads entering Toronto etc. etc.

Metrolinx Plans for King

As the details we hear usually about Metrolinx and “the big move” are interesting but rarely provide insight into how our daily needs for public transit in King are being addressed, it was great to hear their presentation at Council 7/11.

To my mind effective public transit (reliable, adequate frequency, easily accessible) is a critical enabler for us to be sustainable.   Secondly, it is almost irresponsible to be talking about intensification if effective public transit is not being created in parallel.  Given these two beliefs, I heard both good and bad news from Metrolinx.

The good news:   increases in GO train capacity in the relatively near term:  starting this fall there will be an additional train in both directions at peak.  And they have decided to extend the platforms to allow for 12 cars versus the current 10.

The bad news: no decisions yet how to alleviate the grossly inadequate parking at the King City station; a parking feasibility study has been started.    And worse news is that King City is not alone in terms of inadequate parking. Also there has been no decision on an additional station between King City and Aurora.   Metrolinx got the message very strongly from the Council that parking is a serious problem.  Councillor Mortelliti asked about Metrolinx providing a shuttle from possible remote parking lots. Mayor Pellegrini pushed his favourite remediation by asking for help to make parking on Keele safe.

There was also very frank discussion about the huge serious funding challenge.  Metrolinx has a 25 year horizon for which they have projects which require $50 million.  Funding in place today is $14 million. If this gap is going to be closed there needs to be some bold innovative financing including re-applying successes in our own and other jurisdictions such as private-public partnerships, tolls etc.

Each of us will have different criteria for deciding where to cast our vote on October 6th.  I would suggest that one of the issues to check on with each candidate/party is what they will do to ensure that public transit is funded and supported adequately.

The Metrolinx vision and planning is evolving:  it includes bicycle and pedestrian paths, parking, the integration of different modes and more.  To learn more check out their mobility hub guidelines.

Seeing “Sustainability” Today

Have you ever experienced the phenomenon of declaring what you want without knowing how your dream will be fulfilled and then, all of sudden, the possibilities start to appear?   That has been happening to me these last couple weeks.

So what is my wish? A sustainability plan for King which truly drives and influences King’s evolution over the next 20 years.

And what are the possibilities I am now seeing?

On the Arts Society King “Locavore 20 km” bus tour on Saturday I saw some significant innovation; we need innovation, such as this,  if we are to become sustainable.  E.g.  At VanHart Greenhouses we were shown experiments in process to grow tomatoes in greenhouses without the usual support systems of fans powered by electricity.  E.g. At Silani Sweet Cheese we learned about the unique challenges of having a factory in a rural environment with no municipal water systems; they built and operate their own waste water facility.

People are showing that they want King to be sustainable.  At a recent public meeting in Nobleton plans were shown for a new shopping plaza.   Much of the feedback given could be summarized simply as “the proposal does not fit into a sustainable King.”  E.g. Design features promote the local community going to the grocery store in a car as opposed to walking with a bundle buggy.  E.g. No consideration for solar panels on all that new flat roof space.

Businesses are promoting recycle and re-use.  Black Forest Garden Centre had a big banner up asking people to bring in their garden pots.  Round The Bend takes back your garden pots and fruit & vegetable pint boxes etc.

The possibilities I have written about show me what it will take to be sustainable and/or what it will mean.

We have much to do to get our plan.  The task force (of which I am a member) and the working groups for each of the 4 pillars (economic, finance, socio-cultural and environment) are going through the critical preparatory work such as determining our current state, identifying and assessing possible action steps etc.

Very importantly we want to get your input.  If you have not been approached yet by a working group member to fill out our short survey please fill it out online.

And if you haven’t checked out the Sustainable King website yet please do so.  It’s an easy way to find out more about what sustainability means.