As Oshawa grows, we will want to maneuver lots of people alongside Simcoe Road — and rapidly

The Region of Durham and the City of Oshawa are looking for feedback from the community on what type of rapid transit would work best for Simcoe Street between Lakeview Park and Hwy.  407

Simcoe Street in Oshawa is one of the busiest transit routes in Durham — and as the region’s population explodes to an estimated 1.3 million over the next 20 years, it’s going to become an even more crucial artery.

The Region of Durham and the City of Oshawa are looking for feedback from the community on what type of rapid transit would work best for Simcoe Street, between Lakeview Park and Hwy. 407

“In the last census, Oshawa was identified as being the second fast-growing municipality in the province,” says Ranjit Gill, manager of professional services for the City of Oshawa. “The Simcoe Street corridor is the only arterial road that provides a direct connection to the new development that’s happening in the north, to the downtown and the proposed GO station.”

The first step is a “visioning study,” which will be followed by an initial business case that identifies a preferred option for rapid transit on Simcoe Street. Construction won’t happen until sometime between 2029 and 2031 — and timing will depend on funding and approvals.

Today, Simcoe Street is mainly used by passenger vehicles — but there has been a “sharp increase” in people using transit, according to experts who spoke at a recent study open house.

“We need to explore, how do we move along Simcoe Street? How can we move more people more efficiently and how do we do that safety?” says Lorraine Huinink, director of rapid transit and transit-oriented development for the Region of Durham. “The idea, where possible, is to have dedicated space for transit. If separated from general traffic, the service can be reliable. People use transit when it’s reliable.”

Simcoe Street runs through several major growth areas, including downtown Oshawa, which has seen many new additions over the past 20 years, including the Tribute Communities Centre, four downtown campus buildings for Ontario Tech University and large residential developments.

Over the next 20 to 30 years, 13,500 new residential units are proposed for downtown Oshawa, as well as 140,000 square meters of new commercial space.

A series of pop-up events between Nov. 16 and Nov. 30 will give residents the chance to provide feedback for the visioning study and learn more about various types of rapid transit.

Visit simcoestreetrapidtransit.ca for more information.

Do you have an Oshawa story to share? Email reporter Jillian Follert at [email protected]

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