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from the KW Record

Province looks at ways out of Guelph


GUELPH (Feb 9, 2007)

Guelph commuters could someday have a new route to Toronto.

The province has cracked open a project to improve transportation
between northeast Guelph and Toronto.

The Ministry of Transportation announced its plans -- known as the GTA
west corridor -- to examine the stretch of land from Highway 6 in
Guelph to Highway 400 with the aim of finding alternative ways to move
more people and goods across the area.

About 12 municipalities were informed of the ministry's plans in
January 2006. Only now has the project started to move forward. The
result could be another 400 series highway, a rail system or an
expansion of current highways.

But Will MacKenzie, a ministry spokesperson, said it will be at least
another two years before any actual recommendations are made.
MacKenzie said the project is one of three in southern Ontario looking
at transportation needs over the next 25 to 30 years.

"If the study determines a new highway will be needed, we would have
to work with the municipalities to have that land protected from
development. You have to have the plans in place before the
development occurs."

Rajan Philips, the City of Guelph's transportation planning engineer,
said the northeast part of Guelph is an area of anticipated future
growth. Philips, who sits on the municipal advisory group for the
project, said he would something done to decrease the truck traffic
passing through Guelph.

Others favour a rail system since the corridor is within a protected
area of green space and farmland. Guelph. Coun. Lise Burcher argues
that rail would prevent the urban sprawl that comes with a 400 series

Harry Cummings, a University of Guelph professor of rural planning and
development, said all other modes of transit should be looked at
before building another highway.

"Making use of existing infrastructure is efficient, less damaging and
requires less consumption of land."
It could be both a limited access road and a rail corridor.
The trouble with Georgetown-to-Guelph 7 is that it's the classic old-school King's Highway (i.e. strung out of existing concessions, etc) that, short of near-complete bypassing, doesn't really offer itself to widenings, in and of itself--and especially given the geography (escarpment and other environmentally sensitive issues).

Still, it's a wonder that the major centres (Rockwood, Acton, Georgetown) have never themselves been bypassed--thus, driving that stretch of 7 is *really* old school, indeed. (It's like driving big stretches of Old #2, or ex-#8 through Niagara via Grimsby, Beamsville et al...)
I went for a drive today out that way for old time's sake (plus I did a favour as well). From Brampton, I did 10 to 7, 7 to 6 in Guelph, 6 all the way up to Owen Sound, 21 through Southampton and Kincardine, and 86 back to 59 to 7/8 and back to the 401.

(I passed southbound at the OPP station at Kincardine just as the police were closing Highway 21 again - I was surprised they didn't close it when I entered that stretch from Port Elgin - roads were really bad for visibility from the blowing snow, but at least traffic was very light).

I've always thought the stretch of Highway 7 from Brampton to Guelph was neat. Going north on McLaughlin, you'd pass the old Kodak Plant, and then country all the way. Mount Pleasant is still there, that small stretch bypassed by the railway overpass, below that marginal motel, the evangelical church, then through Georgetown (and the Georgetown McDonalds - if you lived in Brampton or that way, as a kid, you loved Georgetown McDonald's), Acton (when there were a lot more old decrepit factories), then onwards. Where Highway 7 leaves the Guelph Sub, was a corner where one road would cross the tracks, meeting another that would dip under - I really liked that for some reason. Old Highway 8 is also a favourite of mine, as is Highway 2 from Newcastle to Trenton.

Very old school indeed, winding back and forth, meeting and diverging from other highways and the railway. And there's GO service on the whole stretch!

I'm such a Bramptonian.
If they could merely upgrade the VIA corridor through Kitchener and Guelph (GEXR), they could easily get six or seven round trip service from Toronto to Kitchener with 30 minutes cut from the travel time. It just needs some additional track and track and signalling upgrades, maybe a few new grade separations.

Still, Highway 7 from Kitchener to Guelph badly needs something - that road is terrible. A regular widening or twinning would be fine, but MTO wanted an all-new freeway alignment.

Highway 7 from Georgetown to Guelph does not need many upgrades (perhaps more passing lanes and turning lanes if anything). Better rail service and road widenings where necessary is enough.
Mount Pleasant is still there, that small stretch bypassed by the railway overpass, below that marginal motel, the evangelical church,
You just *hadda* mention that place right when we're going through Anna Nicole Smith RIP overload, didn't ya? ;-)
Slightly off-topic, but I wonder if anyone has seen (or even made up on their own) a future GO network, say for 2027? (i.e. 20 years from now).
Oh no... not the 413! Call it the "GTA West Corridor" if you want, call it an "economic corridor" if you want (as it is in the Places to Grow plans), but this one has been in the plans as the 413 for years. When I see continued plans for new expressways cutting right through Oak Ridges Moraine, Niagara Escarpment, and greenbelt territory, forgive me for being skepitical of the government's commitment to "smart growth". No one is even asking for this highway, but the bureaucratic machinery at the MTO keeps chugging along proposing new road plans, while GTA mayors beg for improved funding for GO and are ignored.

I remember back in the Bob Rae or early Harris days the MTO released a report or a mention of this highway, and it caused a ruckus in Caledon; people on their phones to town councillors asking how they were working to stop it. The MTO responded by pointing out that they were long-term plans and residents had nothing to worry about.

Also interesting to note that a few months back when asked about funding for the York U subway extension, Flaherty stated his support for an east-west expressway north of the 407. Well, here it is (phase 1)!
I agree that I'd much rather see GO improvements than this highway. I can't figure out how this will be routed in Brampton and Vaughan. I think it'd run somewhere along Mayfield. You'd be the expert on that area, cdl.

This definitely seems like a road being pushed heavily by the MTO bureaucrats. Other than them, I can't see who wants it. It's not the Waterloo Region mayors, because they're all pushing for the Kitchener to Guelph highway and the new 424 from Cambridge to Brantford. This doesn't even seem to be on their radar. For someone from K-W, it might be useful as a bypass to the 401 congestion around Mississauga and Milton, but widening the latter highway seems to be much more cost-effective.

I think Flaherty wanted a new highway north of the moraine, around the Bradford Bypass. I guess he still has friends who own land up there.
"can't figure out how this will be routed in Brampton and Vaughan. I think it'd run somewhere along Mayfield."

Yeah, the original plans that I recall have it running between Mayfield and Old School roads in Caledon. This is kinda ironic because I was having a close look at the Greenbelt maps just last night. There is no way that any such a highway could do anything but cut through AND skirt along "protected" lands. It'll do a great job serving the developable lands in north Brampton and the southeast quadrant of Caledon and would open up the lands north of Acton and Guelph to being within commuteable time to Brampton and Mississauga.
I don't know what will happen with the lands north of Guelph. The city's growth has always been concentrated to the south, and there hasn't really ever been significant expansion north of Highway 7. With such a highway, there might be some pressure. The biggest transformation would likely be for Fergus and Elora, which would now have a very speedy trip into Brampton, Mississauga, Vaughan, and even Toronto. I can see those very attractive towns becoming very popular spots to live.
Speedy for how long?

Then, of course, will be the connecting highways from the 413 to the 401/407. The BramWest corridor is on Brampton's long term plans, roughly following Winston Churchill to connect the 401/407 interchange to the 413. Brampton, of course, wants it on its side of WCB, not the Halton side.

I'd hate to see Elora and Fergus become sprawlholes. The first ones will be attracted to their charm. The second batch will be attracted by the original charm of the "old sections" and the whiteness, and the cheap housing stock (compared to Mississauga or Brampton) and so on. See Orangeville as an example. The Greenbelt isn't big enough to contain it all.
With all those little connector highways, that plan looks so...American...
Well, the north side of Guelph has its Wal-Mart (With a green, instead of a blue sign! And a bit more landscaped!), so developers, start your bulldozers!

That map is scary. Highway 425 (what it looks like) is new to me.

Note though how Highway 35 has a nice gap still. And still, the St. Thomas Bypass is a nice little orphan. Whatever happened to the Detroit-Buffalo expressway via the CASO abandoned line?

Here's my ranking of the red lines:

Makes sense (jntercity/international connections):
Highway 11and 400 expressways north
Highway 417 to Pembroke/Petawawa
Windsor-Detroit new connection
Highway 6 upgrade Hamilton-Guelph (Highway 5 and 6 is already about to become a parclo)

Got issues with (but scaled down might be worth it)
Highway 6 south of Hamilton Airport
Highway 7 Kitchener-Guelph (twinning of existing road or mere 4-laning is necessary)
Highway 7-8 to Stratford (OK maybe to twin, but not a full-fledged expressway!)
Highway 424 (I find both a Highway 6 expressway and a 424 a bit too much)

Mid-Pen (I understand why it's there, Hamilton-Fort Erie kinda makes sense, but the conenction to 6 and 407 is going to be a disaster)
404 Extension and Bradford Bypass

No ****ing way, I'll lay in the bulldozer's path:
Ottawa Beltway (oh, Washington's got one, so should Ottawa!)
Highway 427 north of say Rutherford Road
Waterloo North-west ring road

What the hell are they smoking?
Highway 410/426 to Owen Sound via Collingwood (What the hell? Wouldn't they want a 426 to Barrie instead? Four parallel highways north from Toronto?)
The whole idea of those expressways around Middlesex County
Highway 435 to Lindsay
Highway 428 to Lakefield

Kinda scary, innit?