Spectator Editorial, Feb. 6, 2003
Alternatives deserve study
Eves government can brace for election-year political trouble in Hamilton
and Burlington if it tries to fast-track the latest proposals for the
mid-peninsula highway. That much is clear in light of growing concern
about potential routes as outlined by the Transportation Ministry.
surprise that Flamborough residents are less than thrilled with a new
alternative, connecting the mid-peninsula corridor to an upgraded Highway
6 in the Millgrove area and then to Highway 403 in Burlington. The proposal
would entail major rebuilding of Highway 6 on the steep grade of Clappison's
Cut, widening of 403, and an overhaul of the busy Freeman Interchange
at the conflux of the 403, the QEW, and Highway 407.
a route be consistent with sustainable planning? We doubt it. The concept
would more likely promote congestion, sprawl and smog.
route, one of four on the table, does have the advantage of avoiding
a crossing of the escarpment in north Burlington. It's not as outlandish
as the concept of widening Highway 403 to 12 lanes through Hamilton
and Ancaster, an idea that's fraught with so many problems as to be
latest proposal is problematic to say the least. It will only reinforce
calls for the ministry to do a comprehensive study of overall transportation
needs, taking a more serious look at upgraded high-speed rail, transit,
and traffic management strategies as well as a potential new highway.
supported the mid-peninsula corridor in principle, from Niagara to Hamilton,
as preferable to widening the QEW in Niagara with a further loss of
the irreplaceable tender fruit lands. From the start, however, it has
been a struggle to convince the ministry to consider a broad range of
possible routes, and smart-growth alternatives with less impact on the
the latest plans are in a voluminous 180-page report released on Feb.
1. The ministry is asking for public comment by March 17. Six weeks
is far too short a period of time to gauge public reaction and allow
affected municipalities and stakeholders time for constructive criticism.
A 90-day consultation period should be given for a project of this magnitude.
report from the Central Ontario Smart Growth panel deserves to be factored
in. We expect it will call for significant investment in public transit
to relieve smog and gridlock. If the government isn't careful, the danger
is that planning for the mid-peninsula corridor will be done in isolation
of smart-growth thinking.
highway system -- either improvements to the existing network or a new
superhighway -- will be required to accommodate forecast population
and employment growth in Hamilton and Niagara. But before those decisions
are made, the onus is on the government to prove it has gone an extra
mile to promote a more diversified transportation strategy.