After several years of construction along Eastgate Parkway, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is now up and running but the buses are empty. There are no cars in any of the parking lots and the stations seem to be deserted.
According to some, the BRT is already a white elephant even though it will not be completed until 2017. Gil Penalosa, a renowned city planner, and previously a business planner with the City of Mississauga, believes this is an example of “doing the right thing, but not doing things right.”
Years before Rockwood was built, the City’s vision for a light transit line was along the north side of Burnhamthorpe Road. Proof of that vision is the empty swath of land that forms Rockwood’s southern border. According to Penalosa, a transitway along Burnhamthorpe, which is considered the main access road across the city, would have made more sense. Penalosa believes that the Burnhamthorpe corridor would have connected more people to key destinations.
The explosion of industry along Eglinton has created longer commute times for employees, many of whom live in the west side of Mississauga. A bus route to service these commuters seemed to make sense; but according to Penalosa, 95 percent of workers in the 905 drive to work.
When completed, the BRT will hook up with Metrolinx and continue into Etobicoke. Perhaps, when all the stations are completed, ridership will be more convenient for commuters and as a result will reduce drive times for those who occasionally want to access the 403 in rush hour. Otherwise, this whole experiment has been a costly mistake.