7th Line Gets a Lakeside Makeover

Map7thL

A Public Open House is being held on Wednesday, October 11 to invite public comment on a plan to facilitate road improvements to the 7th Line from the 20th Sideroad to Lake Simcoe. According to the public notice, the purpose is to “accommodate future growth … and to address capacity and operational deficiencies affecting the subject corridor”. Yeah, I don’t know what that means either, but the notice goes on to say, “improvements will be made to the existing road cross-section and intersections including provisions for active transportation (i.e. walking, cycling etc.) and municipal servicing.” The project covers a distance of approximately 3 km.

This is the first of two planned Public Open Houses. Residents can drop by between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm on October 11 at the Town Hall to review “alternative solutions” being considered, ask questions and offer comments.

Those not able to attend the Open House will be able to access documents online at the Town website (www.innisfil.ca/7thea) after October 11. Residents will be able to submit comments to the Town on the plan until October 25.

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Where to GO?

Metrolinx has created an online page for comments on a proposal to build a GO station in Innisfil  (Metrolinx Engage). I added my cynical two cents and Rick Vanderlinde, of the Innisfil Journal, was kind enough to quote me in his newspaper article: “You would think they would build it where most of the ridership lives. That would be Alcona.” I went on to facetiously suggest that the Barrie South station could be moved to Alcona. I only wrote that because we were told a while back that Alcona was “too close” to Barrie to rate a station. And yet, Barrie can have 2 stations, Newmarket gets 3 and Innisfil gets zip. What’s the lesson here? The one that sprawls the most gets the most. That’s my point.

I have a feeling that a future GO station is destined for the 6th Line. The area was designated as the “South Alcona Urban Policy Area” in 2011 and has been part of the Sleeping Lion development plan for several years. It is as close as a GO station will get to support ridership in the “Primary Settlement Area”. The Innisfil Master Transportation Plan (August 2013) puts it this way:  Continue reading

Transit and Transition

Innisfil is not very ‘walkable’. That’s not surprising for a municipality formed out of the amalgamation of several small rural settlements scattered over an historically agricultural area. Cookstown was an early urban hub for surrounding farms, and Belle Ewart was the terminus of a railway line that carried pure blocks of Lake Simcoe ice as far as Florida before the advent of mechanical refrigeration. Alcona and Lefroy were summer playgrounds for post-war cottagers. Now Alcona is Innisfil’s designated “urban core”, accounting for about half of the Town’s population.

There is an interesting web site, Walkscore.com, that will calculate a walking score (0 to 100) for many urban areas, as well as specific addresses. The scale is divided this way:

  • Walker’s paradise 90-100
  • Very walkable 70-89
  • Somewhat walkable 50-69
  • Car dependent 25-49
  • Very car dependent 0-24

It is based on a number of factors including distance to different types of amenities like parks, schools and shopping; population density; and “road metrics” like block length and intersection density. (Related transit and cycling scores are available as well). While I would take these numbers with a grain of salt, it does provide some interesting comparisons to current surrounding municipalities:  Continue reading

Going Places – Do You Need Transit?

I was thinking about posting my own transit survey on this blog when I discovered that another Innisfil resident had already launched a survey of his own. You can participate in that short survey at this link:

James Watson’s Innisfil Transit Project

I applaud the initiative but it won’t keep the Town from conducting one of their own that can be statistically validated.

Personally, I’m interested in the questions being asked and the ones I would have asked. Different perspectives lead to different questions and then a different set of responses. It will be extremely interesting to better understand what Innisfil residents want.

Meanwhile, it’s good to know that other municipalities are coping with the same challenges as Innisfil. Representatives of small towns had the good fortune to hear a presentation on “Rural Transportation” at the Rural Ontario Municipalities Association (ROMA) Conference in February. It was a very instructive session on how various smaller communities identified needs and implemented solutions to transit needs. The Rural Ontario Institute has compiled a report on 10 case studies of small-scale transit solutions. It’s available online, as well as a discussion of 4 transit models and a 6 step “process guide”. Continue reading

Public Meeting: Hwy 400 Transportation Juggernaut

StudyArea

Study Area Map

The public is invited to an “informal drop-in” session to review the approved plan, “identified in 2004”, for massive “improvements” to Highway 400 between Highway 89 and Highway 11 north of Barrie.

This public information session (the first of two) is being held at the Holiday Inn, Fairview Rd, Barrie on Tuesday November 25, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The planned highway improvements include:   Continue reading

Public Meeting – Innisfil Beach Road Widening

Simcoe County is proceeding with a plan to widen Innisfil Beach Road (County Rd 21) from 2 lanes to 4 lanes over a distance of 11 kilometres. It would extend from Highway 27  (County Rd. 27) at Thornton to the 20th Sideroad (County Rd 39) at Alcona.

IBR PIC Map

A public information meeting is being held at the Innisfil Town Hall on Tuesday, May 13 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Residents will be able to review the proposed “design concept alternatives” and provide their comments and opinions on the project. Continue reading