Mobility hubs and precincts - the evolution of a city as the planners see it. Some of the public want a seat at that table.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 3, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

Precincts and Mobility Hubs is a series of editorial features on what the planners have in mind as they develop ideas and concept for a bigger Burlington.

A report was presented to a city Standing Committee last September and approved by council on October 10th, 2017.

News anal REDIt was one of those foundational reports upon which much is built – it sets out how the planners see the core of the city developing; the core is like the root of a tree – everything comes from those roots.

The 27 page document set out the Downtown Mobility Hub draft new Precinct Plan and key land use policy directions. The draft is a key input into the creation of the Area Specific Plan for Downtown Burlington.

Burlington aerial

What will this picture look like in ten to fifteen years?

By undertaking secondary plans or Area Specific Plans (ASPs) for Burlington’s Mobility Hubs, the City continues to implement the objectives of the Strategic Plan and Official Plan to direct intensification, achieve transit-supportive densities and develop pedestrian and transit-oriented mixed use areas in the downtown Urban Growth Centre and at the City’s key major transit station areas – the GO Stations. The Downtown Mobility Hub draft new Precinct Plan supports the 2015-2040 Strategic Plan objectives.

In 2014, the City, along with consultants from Brook McIlroy, completed the Mobility Hubs Opportunities and Constraints Study, which provided a high-level analysis of each of the City’s Mobility Hubs and informed the development of the study areas for future Area Specific Planning work to be done in each of the Mobility Hubs.

In July 2016, Burlington City Council approved staff report which outlined a work plan, allocation of staff resources and required funding to simultaneously develop four ASPs, one for each of Burlington’s Mobility Hubs. The project was approved with unanimous City Council support and expeditious timelines that will culminate in the delivery of all four ASPs to City Council no later than June 2018.

In April 2017, the Mobility Hubs Team initiated the study publicly with a launch party followed by the beginning of a comprehensive public consultation program around the future vision for each of the Mobility Hubs.

In addition to achieving City Council’s objectives for intensification and growth, the Mobility Hub ASPs will also support the objectives of Metrolinx’s The Big Move, including the development of Regional Express Rail (RER) service, through the creation of complete communities with transit-supportive densities, as identified through the Province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and in the Region of Halton’s Official Plan (2017).

There was a time when a much larger bus termial existed 25 yards to the left of this small terminal onm John Street - it was where people met. There were fewer cars, Burlington didn't have the wealth then that it has now. We were a smaller city, as much rural as suburban. The times have changed and transit now needs to change as well.

It’s now just a place to refill your Presto pass and keep warm on the colder days. Think of it as an Anchor Mobility Hub – that’s what the planners are now calling the site.

Schedule 1 of The Big Move recognizes two Mobility Hubs in Burlington: the Downtown Mobility Hub is identified as an Anchor Mobility Hub and the Burlington GO Mobility Hub is identified as a Gateway Hub. In the City’s draft New Official Plan, all three GO Stations and the downtown are identified as Mobility Hubs and as areas of strategic importance to accommodate the City’s future growth. Through this growth strategy, the City is also protecting the stable residential neighbourhoods.

The Downtown Mobility Hub draft New Precinct Plan and key land use policy directions will be considered by Council with the draft New Official Plan later this fall. The Downtown Mobility Hub Study remains on target, with the delivery of the ASP for the Downtown Mobility Hub planned for June 2018. Following the approval of the ASPs in June 2018, work on the implementation of the ASPs will commence.

Time line

Time line the Planning department expects to work within. All this takes place with an interim Planner while the former planner, now the Deputy City Manager stays focused on the completion of the draft Official Plan,

The Gazette will report on 12 precinct plans – setting out a map of each and the Draft Intention Statement the planners have for each.

421 Brant

Looming over everything is the 421 Brant development that was approved by city council on a 5-2. A citizens group wants to appeal the decision.

Downtown Mobility Hub Precinct Plan
Parks and Promenade Precinct Plan
Brant Main Street Precinct
Bates Precinct
Public Service Precinct
St Lukes/Emerald Precinct
Cannery Precinct
Upper Brant Precinct
Downtown Core Precinct
Old Lakeshore Precinct
Mid Rise Residential Precinct
Tall Residential Precinct
Downtown Residential Mobility Area Specific Plan

The Mobility Hubs project is funded through the Operating Budget from 2017-2019.
Something missing here

Conclusion:
The draft New Precinct Plan for the Downtown Mobility Hub achieves key important city- building objectives including: the establishment of a public realm precinct that includes new and enhanced public parks and promenades; the conservation of existing historic streetscapes; the provision of sites for future community and public services; the concentration of tall buildings in proximity to higher order public transit (Burlington GO); the establishment of height peaks and built form transitions; and the provision of development permissions that will attract future population and job growth to the downtown.

The Gazette intends to have as much information as possible in the hands of the public before the critical January 23rd meeting that has Urban growth center, heights, and key re-development sites on the agenda.

There was an interesting interview with the Deputy city manager on affordable housing – worth watching

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