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Region to investigate Bloor Street expansion

A familiar site on many evenings during the work week, traffic comes to a crawl for cars attempting to leave the GO Transit station. Clarington councillor Joe Neal has called on the region to investigate the possibility of widening the stretch of Bloor Street in front of the station in order to accommodate the volume of traffic.

A familiar site on many evenings during the work week, traffic comes to a crawl for cars attempting to leave the GO Transit station. Clarington councillor Joe Neal has called on the region to investigate the possibility of widening the stretch of Bloor Street in front of the station in order to accommodate the volume of traffic.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Train commuters are no strangers to the long wait it takes to get out of the GO train parking lot after work. Now, the region is going to take a look at the possibility of adding a second lane to accommodate the extra traffic.

Moved by Clarington councillor Joe Neal at the latest committee of the whole meeting at regional headquarters, Durham’s works department is set to investigate the prospect of adding an extra eastbound lane along Bloor Street, coming out of the station.

Neal called on staff to investigate the costs and feasibility of such a project after the region’s road and infrastructure forecast calls for any construction on that corridor not starting until at least 2019.

“Anybody who’s been down, getting out of the GO station at about 5:30 or between 4:30 and 6:30, it’s the biggest traffic mess trying to get out of that,” he said.

“In fact, what I usually do is pull a left to get on Thickson and the 401 to head back east. It’s almost impossible sometimes – you’re sitting there for half an hour.”

Neal said construction needs to get underway on that section of Bloor sooner rather than later with the upcoming realignment of the Lakeshore East GO train route, which will see Oshawa with two new stations – one on Thornton Road and another on Ritson Road – both north of Highway 401.

“What I see happening is just in time for the GO train to get moved across the 401, finally we’re going to widen Bloor Street,” he said.

The province announced earlier this year that funding has been allocated for the extension of the Lakeshore East line east to Bowmanville, with service expected to start by 2024.

No plans have been announced for the future of the current Oshawa GO station, although the construction of a new building on the site at a cost of $12 million is expected to be completed next year. The new station building will also be used by VIA Rail.

Susan Siopis, the region’s works commissioner, says that Metrolinx, the provincial public transportation body that operates GO Transit, is going to be putting money forward for the construction of an extra lane along Bloor, but that it would only be between the station’s two parking lots.

Staff are expected to report back to councillors on the cost and feasibility of such a project at the next committee of the whole meeting, scheduled for Dec. 7.