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Most opposition to light rail based on process: report

Posted on March 15, 2017

A new report from the Pembina Institute shows that most opponents to new light rail projects in Ontario aren’t opposed to rapid transit in general, but actually take issue with the process and how decisions are made. Best practices like engaging early, being transparent, and working closely with developers and landowners can go a long way to making a project more likely to succeed.

Getting on Board: learning from planning and engagement around rapid transit projects in Ontario, produced in collaboration with Evergreen, studies four rapid transit projects in varying stages of development: Hamilton Rapid Transit, Hurontario Light Rail Transit, Waterloo ION and the Ottawa Confederation Line.

Through interviews with transit planning teams, city staff, councillors, and community and business leaders, the report highlights key challenges and success factors found in all four case studies. Ontario’s urban areas are facing considerable population growth, making smart transit and land use planning to support this growth — while avoiding sprawl — critically important. Municipalities creating transit and land use plans can learn from the findings of this report, and bring the many benefits of effective rapid transit to their communities.

“We found that transit teams and municipalities had the most success when they sought early input, communicated the big picture and worked with local leaders,” said Lindsay Wiginton, analyst at the Pembina Institute. “Rapid transit projects can have enormous local benefits by providing more transportation options, helping relieve congestion and encouraging new investment in the community, so it’s critically important that we get it right.”

Visit the Pembina Institute’s website to download a copy of Getting on Board.

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