Transportation and Markham-Stouffville

Markham-Stouffville is a beautiful community, with the Rouge National Urban Park at our doorstep, charming neighbourhoods and farmland all around us. But when it comes to public transit, the options are limited. Many residents commute to work, sometimes driving up to three hours per day. Better transit infrastructure would enhance our quality of life.   

One new opportunity has emerged that could expand transit options, support growth in the regional economy and even help combat climate change.  Last month, the federal government announced funding to support a plan for high frequency VIA Rail service in Ontario and Quebec. The new funding will support feasibility studies and environmental assessment. As part of the studies VIA Rail is looking to create additional routes along lesser-used tracks including a possible new route between Toronto and Ottawa via Peterborough. A passenger service on this line would go right through Markham-Stouffville on an existing track. A consultation process will launch soon and the people of our community need to be heard. The VIA Rail announcement offers positive potential for Markham-Stouffville. It is possible that such a dedicated transportation line would have up to 15 trains a day on a Toronto - Peterborough - Ottawa line. Early information suggests these trains could be servicing the region as soon as 2024.  

VIA Rail will be studying routes and stops for the potential new passenger lines. Currently there is no planned stop to pick up and drop off passengers in our community. I want to hear your perspective. I believe many residents would benefit from such a service and as your Member of Parliament, I would work to ensure that your concerns and preferences are well represented.

The move towards high frequency rail travel is consistent with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the need to transition to a low-carbon economy. While I recognize passenger rail options may not benefit everyone in the community, we need to make public transit an easier choice and encourage its use if we are to reduce traffic congestion and protect the environment. A passenger rail stop in Markham-Stouffville could encourage residents to take reliable public transport for their business and recreational travel. It could open economic opportunities, bring visitors to the Rouge National Urban Park and contribute to the creation of new jobs.

Pickering Lands

The VIA announcement is one more reason why I do not support the development of a Pickering airport.  There is no good evidence of a sound business case demonstrating a need for an airport in the Pickering Lands. The 2017 - 2037 Master Plan for Pearson Airport indicates enough capacity over the next two decades to meet the growing demand for air travel. 

Building another large airport is inconsistent with the crucial transition of our nation to a low-carbon economy.  Many residents tell me their concerns about the impact an airport would have on our local environment, farmlands and local wildlife, including the Rouge National Urban Park. Investing in more environmentally friendly infrastructure like high-frequency passenger rail makes more sense than spending billions of public dollars on an airport.

Transport Canada has conducted an Aviation Sector Analysis for the Pickering Lands. The final phase was completed in spring 2019 but no report has been released publicly. As we await this report, I am prepared to confirm that I do not support moving ahead with an airport because of the need to protect our environment and some of the finest agricultural land in the country.  I also note that any decision regarding the future of the Pickering Lands must be done in consultation with the community, including farmers and Indigenous peoples in the region.  

Alternative transportation solutions, including high-frequency passenger rail service, could help improve the quality of life in our community and address some of the causes of climate change. We must invest in sustainable infrastructure to protect our environment and grow our local economy. Together, we can make Markham-Stouffville a leader in healthy living and significantly contribute towards Canada’s important transition to a prosperous clean economy. 

 

Showing 14 reactions

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  • Mark Brooks
    commented 2019-07-21 12:15:51 -0400
    Susan, this KPMG report.

    https://pickeringairport.org/next-step-in-building-pickering-airport/

    Sitting back and Allowing Scarcity to be manufactured for profit is not leadership. Taking the hard choice to push aside those profiting from the status quo, and build Pickering Airport is leadership. That is the choice and the leader the majority of the people of Durham region want.

    Building and using the new aviation capacity wisely is up to all of us but it starts at the election polls by selecting a leader who can make hard choices and stand up for all of us.
  • Susan Reesor
    commented 2019-07-20 23:23:34 -0400
    Thanks for your rational and sensible support for rail transport. York and Durham Regions don’t need the pollution and destruction of the proposed Pickering airport.
    Mark Brooks: what KPMG study are you citing?
  • Walter Quiring
    commented 2019-07-19 18:38:27 -0400
    Can you do something similar for our side of the Rockies?
  • Mark Brooks
    commented 2019-07-18 01:06:09 -0400
    Todd, The journalists that wrote the piece you refer too simplified it for public consumption. That’s the problem when everyone has access to the sum total of humanity’s publish content ( good, bad, and up sellers anonymous) on a magical device in their pocket. They google and somehow convince themselves they are experts. I will stick to the proven and accurate assessment the ICAO emissions calculator and the UN climate work it is based on.
    It can be found here:
    https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/carbonoffset/pages/default.aspx

    For any route over a few hundred Km please don’t drive, fly. Your children will Thankyou.
    And yes, that means we need more aviation capacity including Pickering Airport and a rail connection to it. But can we get past the billion dollar monopoly’s banking on Pearson Airport? Or the good old Hamilton boys that seem nothing wrong with having the 2.3 million people that live within a 30 km radius of Pickering drive 2 hours to their airport instead of having one of their own?
  • Todd Porter
    commented 2019-07-17 16:30:10 -0400
    Hi Mark. I appreciate your point of view, however It is not an apples to apples comparison. Where the exhaust is put into the atmosphere is the largest factor in how much it contributes to warming our climate.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2010/sep/09/carbon-emissions-planes-shipping
  • Mark Brooks
    commented 2019-07-17 10:48:45 -0400
    We need to look forward, not backward. It’s time for us to get real about climate change, enough of the political posturing and empty symbols.

    https://pickeringairport.org/time-to-get-real-about-aviation-and-global-warming/

    Btw Todd, did you realize you forwarded a Suzuki link that uses a air freight comparison against bulk carriers , not passenger travel? The challenge and topic of discussion is how to move people, not freight. It is no longer 1990, The new CSeries Jet gets under 2 liters per 100km per passenger, and flys asphalt free in a straight line. This beats the other major Canadian mode of travel, the automobile for emissions hands down. When Pickering Airport opens in 2028 the first hybrid electric regional jets will be entering service. Rail and air are not rivals, each can improve the others efficiency and need to be built up in coordination.
  • Todd Porter
    commented 2019-07-17 09:29:01 -0400
    The use of air travel as a whole needs to be greatly reduced over time if we are to survive on the planet, this is simply science, not a market issue. https://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/air-travel-climate-change/
  • Mark Brooks
    commented 2019-07-17 08:06:04 -0400
    Your are half right. If you would like to find out more I would love to meet and talk about aviation capacity and how rail can help. A rail stop at the new Pickering airport ( the HaveLock line, now part of VIAs HFR plan, goes right past the new Pickering Airport). Also I suggest you read the 2010 capacity study again. We are now 10% above the forecasted passenger levels of the highest range given. It takes 10 years to build so that’s means we need to start building Pickering Airport now! The KPMG report is even more forceful.
  • Todd Porter
    commented 2019-07-16 14:28:56 -0400
    Hi Jane. Thank you for posting your thoughts/positions on both the rail and airport options. I agree that there is no need for any airport expansion in our area, at this time or in the future given how much air and noise pollution it generates.
  • Lorraine Hand
    commented 2019-07-16 11:19:05 -0400
    So glad you do NOT support the Pickering airport, what a total disaster to the lands that would be “Dug” up, not to mention our environment and wildlife etc., I would NOT support this idea either!! Thank you, Lorraine Hand,Stouffville,
  • Carol Heck
    commented 2019-07-15 11:29:45 -0400
    Hi Jane,

    Thank you for supporting improvements to our transit system. I have commuted from Markham downtown to work for the past 24 years . While there have been many enhancements to GO over the years I would certainly appreciate an alternative like VIA trains servicing Markham. However, I can see this being most beneficial if VIA service is not too cost prohibitive (no more expensive than the GO train), runs at peak commuter times (e.g. during morning and evening rush) and if there is an express service to Union Station (unlike GO which makes many stops between Markham and Union). If these conditions are met it would make VIA an attractive alternative or enhancement to our current system.

    Carol
  • Leea Nutson
    commented 2019-07-15 10:43:12 -0400
    I have often said, that we need better VIA service! I love taking the train to Ottawa and stops along the Peterborough area, through Madoc and Tweed, would be fantastic!
  • Flora MacDonald
    followed this page 2019-07-15 09:46:43 -0400
  • Jane Philpott
    published this page in Blog 2019-07-15 07:05:35 -0400

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