Transportation master plan must deal with huge growth in NOTL’s southern neighbourhood
There has been a lot of chatter about the draft Niagara-on-the-Lake transportation master plan. It has mostly been negative.
But the criticism has also been historic Old Town-centric. The Town of NOTL is made up of five settlement areas with a vast rural area. So, what about the draft plan and how it impacts Glendale?
The document’s executive summary states the plan “is a long-range strategic plan for the entirety of Niagara-on-the-Lake that identifies transportation infrastructure requirements to address existing challenges and support growth, along with policies to guide transportation and land use decisions.”
The plan will look at transportation needs through the year 2031.
Historic Old Town is the most established settlement area in our vast town. It is NOTL’s historical and cultural heart, and it is where tourism is focused.
Down the road here in Glendale, we are the young, upstart settlement area that is faced with a huge amount of development over the next 15 to 25 years. From a future transportation perspective (through the year 2031), we have much different issues and concerns than those of historic Old Town.
Glendale is bordered by Queenston Road to the north, Concession 7 to the east, the Niagara Escarpment to the south and the Welland Canal to the west.
Our network of roads includes a mix of regional and town roads with a provincial highway bisecting the community. There are currently not a substantial number much-desired amenities here. But with development will come many new town roads as housing and amenities are built.
The plan recognizes NOTL’s largest growth area is in Glendale. Under the Glendale District Plan, which was approved by Niagara regional council and NOTL town council in 2020, Glendale’s population is expected to grow to 15,000 in the next 15 to 25 years.
The current population of all NOTL is around 18,000.
So, Glendale could easily become the most populous settlement area of NOTL. And with the building of the Glendale Avenue/QEW diverging diamond interchange, this neighbourhood likely will become the gateway to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
A good network of roads and paths that support active transportation is a must-have for Glendale residents, both present and future.
The draft transportation plan states, “With the Niagara College Niagara-on-the-Lake campus and the outlet mall, Glendale is a suitable location for this densification which will warrant increased pedestrian connectivity.”
According to the Glendale District Plan, there are 700 hectares of developable land in Glendale.
At present, the regional roads in Glendale do not have sidewalks or bicycle lanes. The main thoroughfare is Glendale Avenue.
And while there are sidewalks and bicycle lanes between Taylor Road and Homer Road, the section from Homer to the Welland Canal has neither sidewalk nor bicycle lanes. And there are no bike lanes from Taylor over the QEW to York Road.
That all has to change.
Glendale is a busy road with both heavy car traffic, transit buses and numerous transport trucks going to and from the General Motors plant and the two truck stops on York Road.
In its present state, it is simply not safe to walk or ride a bicycle if you want to head for the Welland Canal trails or across the QEW.
We need safe, active transportation throughout our settlement area. Glendale of the future could be a major transit hub and transit dispersion point to other areas of NOTL, like historic Old Town.
There is potential for a future GO train station on the southern border of Glendale. We need safe crossings of the QEW as restaurants and other amenities are built there.
By 2031, a significant amount of residential and commercial development could be under way in Glendale. The draft master plan is a very good start in identifying future transportation needs for Glendale.
Implementation will require a good level of co-operation and cost-sharing among the province, Region of Niagara and the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Steve Hardaker has lived in Glendale for over 11 years and is active in several community organizations.