The long-awaited redevelopment of Kipling Station is one step closer to becoming reality Monday, with the government asking three bidders to submit design and building proposals.
The "mobility hub" will integrate the subway and TTC buses, GO Transit trains and buses and MiWay bus services.
"The new hub will make it easier for families and commuters to get to work, to get to school, to get to those appointments," said Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca. "The project involves redevelopment of the Kipling GO station, the TTC subway station as well."
Del Duca arrived at Kipling Station on a GO bus Monday to make the announcement. He was accompanied by area MPPs Peter Milczyn and Yvan Baker, TTC Chair Josh Colle, Coun. Justin Di Ciano and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.
Del Duca called the announcement a sort of homecoming for him, having grown up in Etobicoke and have been a frequent user of Kipling Station.
Transit hub idea decades in the making
The idea of a transit hub at Kipling isn't new. Discussions about building a regional bus terminal at Kipling were first initiated in the 1980s when the Bloor-Danforth subway line was extended to Kipling.
A detailed plan to move Misissauga transit buses to Kipling was hatched in 2003, but there hasn't been much movement on the plan since. Several obstacles, including the placement of a nearby hydro field, mean that MiWay buses still travel to Islington station — which is farther away from Mississauga than Kipling.
Expanded station means more GO
In addition to adding GO buses, the provincial government says the upgrade will allow for increased GO rail service on the Milton GO corridor and support the province's GO Regional Express Rail project. Currently, GO trains only run one way in the morning towards Union Station with no service after rush hour. Trains in the afternoon only run towards Milton and service ends in the early evening.
The plan will also see Kipling GO station redesigned to offer accessible services for people with disabilities.
The expanded station will also include:
- An elevated pedestrian bridge.
- A pedestrian underground tunnel.
- A new bus terminal building for MiWay and GO transit.
- Parking upgrades.
- Improved vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian access.
The province says it expects to announce the successful bid for the project in the fall.
According to a Metrolinx timeline, work was supposed to have started in 2016 with the station fully operational by 2019. On Monday, Crombie said the project is still expected to be completed by the end of 2019. That would leave just a little more than two years to complete the redevelopment.
Entire neighbourhood to see a change
The entire Kipling and Bloor neighbourhood will see a major redesign in the coming years with the Six Points interchange — infamously known as spaghetti junction — set to be demolished and rebuilt.
The second phase of the Six Points redevelopment is set to be finished in 2020. The local councillor, Justin Di Ciano, told CBC Toronto the interchange is being rebuilt to have an urban, pedestrian-friendly feel, befitting the neighbourhood he wants to become Etobicoke's downtown core.