City staff release list of potential Shift BRT alternatives
Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019 11:26AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, March 13, 2019 7:17PM EDT
The mayor's 60-day timeline to resolve the Shift Bus Rapid Transit question in London runs out in two weeks – on March 31.
On Wednesday, city staff released a list of 19 transit projects that could be submitted for funding as an alternative.
Still, council may have little choice but to build part of the controversial Shift BRT project, or risk leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table.
The list of alternatives includes breaking BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) into five independent routes, and some less costly options like synchronization of traffic lights and bus stop amenities.
Projects listed as 'Transit' meet all three or two out of three criteria for funding from senior governments, while 'Transit Supportive' items meet only one of the three criteria for upper-level funding.
The criteria for the projects are; improving transit capacity, improving transit safety and quality, and improving transit access.
The $500 million available for transit is divided between the city, province of Ontario and the federal government.
If council chooses to build none of the five BRT segments, the remaining 14 projects will total only $222.9 million.
That could see more than half of the available infrastructure money go unspent.
Maximizing the available funding will require building at least two segments.
The project director for Shift BRT, Jennie Ramsay, says, “To take full advantage of the federal and provincial funding, we will need to have a combination of some elements of the BRT system paired with other transit elements and some transit supportive elements.”
In addition, most of city hall's $130-million contribution comes from development charges applied to new construction.
The director of water and wastewater at city hall, Scott Mathers, says moving away from the current BRT plan could shift more of that expense onto taxpayers.
“The more that we shift away from that plan, it’s likely that it will have larger implications on the tax supported project.”
Here is the full list of 19 projects being considered and their estimated cost (in millions):
- Downtown Loop $28.5
- Wellington Road Gateway $131.5
- East London Link $120.2
- North Connection $147.3
- West Connection $72.2
- Intelligent Traffic Signals (TIMMS) $28.0
- Expansion Buses $25.2
- On-Board Information Screens $5.0
- Bus Stop Amenities $1.1
- Pedestrian Street Connectivity Improvements to the Transit Network $21.8
- New Sidewalks $11.1
- Adelaide Street Underpass Active Transportation Connections $18.9
- Active Transportation Improvements across Transit Route Bridges $31.4
- Dundas Place Thames Valley Parkway Active Transportation Connection $4.0
- Dundas Street Old East Village Streetscape Improvements $8.2
- Oxford Street/Wharncliffe Road Intersection Improvements $17.8
- Cycling Routes Connecting to Downtown Transit $7.7
- Cycling Routes Connecting to Transit throughout the City $38.7
- Enhanced Bike Parking $4.0
Projects 1-9 are considered 'Transit' while 10-19 are 'Transit Supportive.'