[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s Pearson airport unveils early concept for transit hub”
The Globe and Mail‘s Oliver Moore describes a proposal by Pearson Airport to make the area of Toronto’s international airport a transit hub for the Greater Toronto Area generally, Toronto and Mississauga and beyond.
The pitch from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, backed by politicians from the region, comes amid a growing sales job for transit at the airport. Noting that the vast majority of people who use or work at the airport get there by automobile, advocates of this plan say that there needs to be fundamental shift to transit.
[. . .]
The proposal, which would be funded by the GTAA and has been estimated by them at $500-million, would involve a new and larger passenger processing terminal where travellers would be able to check in for flights and clear security. The plan also calls for new mixed-use commercial space, with room for retail, office space or hotels.
But the biggest change would be making Pearson more accessible to transit. Advocates call for it to become a sort of Union Station for the western side of city – albeit one that would serve far fewer people than the station downtown.
[. . .]
It’s a bold pitch made more daring by the fact that transit plans for the region already are moving ahead. Although politicians have repeatedly shown their willingness to change on the fly – a greater emphasis on GO rail by the province, for example, or Toronto Mayor John Tory’s acceptance of LRT instead of heavy rail on Eglinton Avenue – the broad strokes of the transit vision hasn’t shifted too much in the past few years. But the GTAA is hoping to tweak the plans in new ways.
As envisioned, a transit hub would involve changing the Finch LRT, which is in its very early stages, from its current terminus at Humber College and extending it instead to the airport. It also requires that the proposed Eglinton West LRT be built to run to the airport. This has been proposed by Toronto but the project would need a substantial contribution by the city of Mississauga, which reacted unhappily to the idea.