Public feedback wanted on Transportation Master Plan for future Oshawa GO Station area

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Published June 14, 2023 at 10:35 am

The site of the future Central GO Station in Oshawa at the former Knob Hills Farms site. Photo Glenn Hendry

Oshawa residents are invited to have their say on the area surrounding the future Central Oshawa GO Station, a project that will transform a long dormant neighbourhood in the coming years with a huge mixed-use development along First Avenue and the new GO Station.

A Master Land Use Plan and Transportation Master Plan for the Central Oshawa Major Transit Station Area is now underway, with the Study Area centered on the future GO Station site at 500 Howard Street, located midway between Simcoe St. S. and Ritson Rd. S.

The first phase of a transit study was completed in March with Economic & Development Services Committee members told 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 reported 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,” Munro said the study area – bounded by Highway 401 on the south, John Street/Eulalie Avenue on the north, Ritson Road 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.

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 will be crafted for Oshawa and its needs.

 

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

The study area – particularly along First Avenue between Simcoe St and Ritson Rd – has been an afterthought 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 the GO Station project and the First Oshawa Holdings development across the street bring with them an opportunity to inject new life into the community.

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 in the spring and much of the preliminary work on the new development to the south of the GO Station has also started.

The future GO Station and transportation hub will also be the terminus for the Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit project linking Oshawa with Toronto as well as the Simcoe Rapid Transit Line to the university district. The station is expected to be open within two years.

The new station is part of four new stations being built (including the Thornton’s Corners station in west Oshawa) that will extend Go Train service all the way to Bowmanville.

When Metrolinx finally gave the green light to the construction of four new stations it was only a matter of time before the other dominos would fall on First Avenue, which has sat forlorn and forgotten and a far cry from first since the grocery giant left town (and eventually this earthly plane) in 2000.

Enter First Oshawa Holdings and its planners, Fotenn Planning + Design, who unveiled plans for a huge development across the street from the future GO station, complete with several residential towers – one proposed building would be the tallest in Oshawa at 42 storeys – 60,000 sq. ft. of commercial space at street level, an urban park and pedestrian promenade.

The project’s home will be a 17.3 acre brownfield site at 155 Front Street with a century of history in glass making. The factory on site – now demolished – employed 160 people making windshields for the auto industry; workers whose dreams were shattered in 2009 when Pittsburgh Glass Works bought the place and, after waiting a couple of months for the dust to settle and the cheques to clear, shut the plant down.

Save for an attempt to turn it into a flea market in 2014, the site has been vacant ever since.

Residents, business owners and other interested parties can provide feedback on three land use alternatives and have a look at the draft future transportation analysis, urban design plan and implementation guidelines, and the evaluation criteria for the land use alternatives.

You can view the project background and complete the feedback form online or on paper at Service Oshawa at City Hall and you can also access attend the Stage 2 Public Information Centre on Wednesday, June 28 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. An Open House drop-in session will be held at 6, followed by a formal presentation with question and answer period at 7.

The meeting will also be streamed virtually at Connect Oshawa.

Feedback will be received until noon on Friday, July 21 and will be considered in a future staff report to be presented to the Economic and Development Services Committee.

A public meeting on the mixed-use development on First Avenue will be held in September.

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