Durham Region considers opportunities for transit oriented growth
DURHAM: Durham Regional Council is putting a plan in place; one that will allow new transit-oriented development to blossom in our region. “New transit stations offer transformational opportunities for communities, via economic development, revitalization and their positive impact on real estate,” said John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “Before us is a strategic opport-unity to review and develop policies around future and existing major transit station areas, to enhance the quality of life for our residents.” Developments — near higher order transit areas, such as train stations — often generate higher capital investments. By confirming support of all-day GO Transit service across Durham — complemented by new stations at Thornton’s Corners, Central Oshawa, Courtice and Central Bowmanville — the Region is taking the first step towards making these major transit station areas a reality. Some benefits of these new stations includes a chance for high-density housing developments; an integrated mix of uses (such as office, residential, retail and community); and other options that support transit ridership. Often, these spaces are also complemented by pedestrian-oriented streets; parks, squares and buildings; focal points for public art; and active transportation amenities. “These spaces offer opportunities for more affordable housing—a place where people can live close to frequent, reliable and affordable transit services,” continued Henry. “Many communities have seen that this model leads to enhanced health and social benefits that can boost quality of life.” The successful planning and long-term implementation of transit-oriented development requires collaboration, mutual support, consistent focus and specialized skills. To help ensure the success of these initiatives, the Region is considering the creation of a Rapid Transit Implementation/Transit Oriented Development Office, as part of its 2020 Regional Business Planning and Budgeting process. This office would lead a multi-departmental and intergovernmental staff group; working to develop multi-stakeholder planning and financial strategies. They will work to advance transit initiatives, such as the GO Lakeshore East Extension, the completion of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Highway 2, rapid transit on Simcoe Street, or other important regional initiatives.