Ever since the project was announced in 2016, the Hurontario Light Rail Transit has caused a stir in the city of Mississauga. With very valid arguments, the citizens of Mississauga have largely been displeased with the project but is it as wholly negative as you’d be led to believe? I say no.
For a quick summation, the Hurontario LRT will be a light rail trail that runs from Port Credit to Brampton Gateway Terminal with 23 stops along the way. That’s a 19 KM journey in 40 minutes.
The main criticisms of the LRT project has been the cost of building the system, the length of time it will take to build, and the disruption it will cause in the communities it will run through. Those concerns are undeniable; the LRT will cost 1.4 Billion to build, construction will run for around 4 years, and it will without doubt cause more traffic congestion and potentially hinder business. Traffic along Hurontario is already quite bad and the long construction process may indeed hurt local businesses, so it’s easy to see why the project has come under much criticism and scrutiny.
However, it really isn’t all bad. As someone who cannot drive, any new transport options is an exciting prospect for me. Yes the project will cause inevitable disruption throughout the city, disruption that will last for a potential four years, but once the project is finished it will increase quality of life for commuters.
Living in Port Credit, if I want to go to Square One, it takes 30-40 minutes on the 19N bus, depending on how many stops it takes. Alternatively, if I take the 8N, it will take over 40 minutes to get there. Or I can take the 103N, then switch to the 19N, which is a little quicker. My point is, what is a 10 minute drive for most people, takes 3-4 times that length of time for bus commuters. Your bus ticket or tap-on is valid for 2 hours, but considering it takes upwards of 40 minutes to get there, you inevitably have to pay twice. Moreover, getting to Square One is one of the simplest, quickest journeys throughout the city, so imagine how cumbersome it can be getting anywhere. And that isn’t even taking into account waiting for buses, how many people are on them, and weather.
Getting elsewhere in Mississauga by bus is even harder, like Streetsville or Erin Mills. Granted the LRT will not solve any of those issues, but improving one journey is certainly a start. From Port Credit to Brampton is an hour journey that takes two buses, whereas by car it is a 25 minute journey, once again it’s important to take into account the convenience of a car.
Once the LRT is up and running, I will definitely be taking it everytime I wish to go to Square One, Bramton, or anywhere in between. Grabbing the LRT it will shave 20-30 minutes off the journey to Square One, that’s potentially an hour overall. And it isn’t just me that will benefit from the system once it’s built, Metrolinx estimates that in the year 2031 the LRT will be responsible for over 35 million trips. That’s an incredible amount of journeys and people; as I said, the LRT will increase quality of life for the average citizen.
The Light Rail Transit will bring Mississauga into the 21st century and make the city significantly more appealing to potential new citizens of Mississauga. Once the project is built and running smoothly, the messy development and criticisms will be forgotten and life will proceed as normal. It’s important to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, so while your journey along Hurontario via car may take an extra few minutes, bear in mind the vastly increased time for current bus-users. Mississauga does not have a subway system, so an extra mode of transport would definitely be welcomed by those who cannot drive.
The road to 2022 – the proposed finish date – will be long, arduous, and potentially chaotic, but from there on Mississauga will be a better city for the average citizen.