First phase of Oshawa GO Station transit study complete; glass factory demo’ed

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Published March 6, 2023 at 12:11 pm

The first phase of a transit study into the future Oshawa Central Go Station at the old Knob Hill Farms site is complete, with Economic & Development Services Committee members being told today the re-development of the long-forgotten neighbourhood must “reduce the dependency on the private automobile.”

The fact that a major GO Station is being built in the middle of the study area will help, of course, but a report from Economic & Development Commissioner Warren Munro stated the current transportation network for the area is “heavily geared” to car traffic and “disconnected” to other modes of transportation.

Calling the study and the GO Station itself a “catalyst for change” for the area, Munro said the study area – bounded by Hwy 401 on the south, John St/Eulalie Ave on the north, Ritson Rd on the east and the Oshawa Creek valley lands on the west – is “one of the most prominent features” for people entering the city and will help connect downtown with Oshawa’s waterfront areas.

Oshawa kicked off the Major Transit Area Study in the fall of 2021 and hired Parsons Inc. one year ago to produce a land use and urban design plan for the future Go Station.

The study noted that increased transit option is even more crucial because opportunities to increase existing road capacities in the area are limited due to existing development and “constrained” right-of-ways (though the planned Gibb/Olive extension will help), with Parsons suggesting “optimizing” the road network before any construction begins.

Munro also pointed out that despite the GO Station being a provincially-funded project, the transit study “is not focused solely on Provincial goals” and is also intended to achieve City objectives and be “crafted” for Oshawa and its needs.

The study area – particularly along First Avenue between Simcoe St and Ritson Rd – has been an afterthought and far from first in the minds of city planners since Knob Hills left town in 2000 and the Pittsburgh Glass Work factory across the street did the same in 2009.

But Munro believes the GO Station project and the First Oshawa Holdings development across the street, which will boast several residential towers, commercial uses at street level, an urban park and pedestrian promenade, brings with them an “opportunity to inject new life into a part of the city with great potential.”

Work on the First Oshawa Holdings project is already underway, with demolition of the former PPG glass factory on the south side of First Avenue taking place this weekend.

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