Transportation issues key to Doug Craig’s mayoral campaign
Bill Jackson, Times Staff
Incumbent mayoral candidate Doug Craig held an official campaign launch this past Tuesday (Sept. 16).
By Bill Jackson
CAMBRIDGE – Incumbent mayoral candidate Doug Craig wants to make a Cambridge bypass road a priority for the region.
“We don’t have an LRT down here and I’m saying to the region, you need to put us back on the regional stage as one of the first things you need to be focusing on,” he said during a campaign launch Tuesday (Sept. 16).
“You got your LRT (light rail transit). We’re spending $2 billion. You’re making us pay for it. I want you to start paying and helping us down here. We want an immediacy to that,” he said, affecting rousing applause from a crowd gathered at Monty’s on Queen.
“Because we don’t have an LRT, we need road construction down here. We need the eastern-southern bypass sooner rather than later – and I don’t see why in the next six to eight years this can’t be done, completed.”
The south-side bypass road is something that’s also on the radar of mayoral candidate Sandra Hill, but the idea isn’t new.
Planning for the first two phases of the project is already complete, Craig said.
“The EA (environmental assessment) has been done for phase one, which is from Highway 24 over to Franklin Boulevard, and in fact in 2016 we’re going to see construction, according to the region’s schedule,” he noted. “The phase two EA is done – this is the hard part, this is the part we have all the public hearings. ... It’s a matter of construction now and that will take us from Franklin up over to Dundas.”
Phase three of planning to connect the bypass with Townline Road is expected next spring, Craig added.
“So we have a roads plan in place right now. It needs to be enacted ... it needs to be put on the regional table, and I’m going to be asking for that right away when we get to the region.”
Craig said transportation is the number one issue for him in the upcoming election. His platform, which will be rolled out gradually in coming weeks, also highlights bringing GO train service to Cambridge.
He cited a consultant’s study initiated by city council that presents an “irrefutable” business case in terms of in terms of population, ridership, cost and serviceability.
Craig said a final report will be presented at Queen’s Park next spring, along with the support of local stakeholders and politicians, including MPP Kathryn McGarry.
Addressing traffic congestion within the city and for motorists travelling or commutting to the GTA is paramount, he said.
“But part of that – and let me be very straightforward about this – is you’re not going to get rid of the roundabouts on Franklin Boulevard,” he said.
“As much as I may disagree with the aspects of it, that decision has been made, and if anybody wants to say they’re going to take the roundabouts out, they’re not telling the truth.”
Craig said Cambridge won a reprieve by stalling proposed roundabouts near St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School and a implementing “phased approach” to construction.
But he says any more attempts to delay council’s decision could have severe financial and traffic consequences, and further delay fixing the deteriorating condition of Franklin Boulevard.
“You can revisit it, but I’m saying there are 13 councillors north of the 401 who are not going to change their minds, and I think we need to come to terms with that.
“Even though Cambridge is the second largest city in the region, it continually gets outvoted by Kitchener-Waterloo representatives because we only have three votes out of 16. They will say that they are unwilling to start all over again and throw away millions of dollars in land expropriation costs, servicing reallocations and engineering costs in order to look at some other plan.”