Halton’s transportation network remains safe, efficient and well maintained

Halton Region is growing at an impressive rate. By 2031, the Region is forecasted to have a population of 780,000 people. With that comes the need for infrastructure and a transportation network that can operate efficiently, safely and be consistently maintained to keep people and goods moving.

The 2015 Halton Region Transportation Progress Report, recently received by Council, highlighted successes related to planning, road safety, maintenance and reduced congestion. To ensure we continue to meet the needs of growth and continue to deliver an effective road network, Regional Council is continuing its commitment to infrastructure by investing nearly $1.4 billion over the next 10 years into the road network and on average, approximately $120 million annually.

The report indicated that Halton Region’s roads are operating more safely and efficiently year-over-year thanks to programs such as the Comprehensive Road Safety Action Plan (CROSAP), the Drive SAFE (Safety Awareness For Everyone) and intersection speed reviews.

Much of our investment is also allocated to construction projects to enhance travel throughout the region and maintenance projects to ensure roads are kept in a state of good repair that extend the life our road network.

In 2015, the Smart Commute program, which encourages sustainable travel options such as carpooling, public transit, cycling and walking, exceeded the targeted number of participating businesses in Halton. Last year, the program included 26 Halton businesses with more than 20,000 employees.

Finally, supporting and promoting active transportation is another key priority, as part of the Region’s commitment to building healthy and complete communities. We continue to work toward an integrated transportation network that supports other modes of travel, such as walking, cycling and transit. Last year, Regional Council approved the Active Transportation Master Plan and in 2015 alone, 28 kilometers of active transportation infrastructure was constructed on Regional roads. Since 2011, the number of on-road cycling lanes has increased nearly 75 per cent.

Halton’s transportation system is operating well and is part of what makes Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more about the progress report and transportation initiatives in Halton, visit halton.ca/transportation.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Keeping you on the move with safe and efficient Regional roads

To keep Halton moving, Halton Region is investing $1.2 billion in its regional roads capital program over the next 10 years and I’m happy to say that this investment in our transportation infrastructure is working. A review of Greater Toronto Area corridors shows Halton Region as having the least congested corridors compared to other regional municipalities, reinforcing how our infrastructure is in the right place at the right time and meeting the needs of our community.

The 2013 Halton Region Transportation Services Progress Report, recently received by Regional Council, outlines what our Transportation division is working on today and in the future. It outlines current and future environmental assessment projects, new and ongoing design and construction projects, ongoing maintenance programs and proactive safety measures all designed to keep Halton roads moving safely and efficiently.

To meet the needs of a growing population, Halton Region has continued to deliver a roads capital improvement program which invests, on average, more than $120 million every year towards ongoing or new construction projects. In 2013, Halton committed $289 million to Regional roads, an increase from $50 million in 2006.

While the Region is committed to investing in its transportation infrastructure, Halton is also committed to programs that encourage residents and businesses to take advantage of transportation alternatives and not rely solely on single occupant vehicles.

In 2013, Smart Commute Halton included 20 Halton businesses with more than 15,000 employees actively involved in the program and 56 registered carpools. Last year, Smart Commute Halton designated workplaces managed to eliminate 483,920 km of road travel, prevented 105,073 kg of greenhouse gas emissions and saved almost $312,295 in commuter savings. If you have a business in Halton and are interested in joining the program, visit our website or dial 311 for more information on this free program.

Halton Region has also undertaken an Active Transportation Master Plan that will provide a strategy for infrastructure, as well as initiatives and programs to promote people-powered travel throughout the Region. In 2013, approximately 11 km of paved shoulders and 13 km of wider curb lanes were built to support active transportation.

Through proactive programs such as Drive SAFE, traffic signal optimization studies and intersection and speed reviews, Halton Region will make sure our transportation infrastructure and programs meet the needs of our community, while protecting the environment, today and in the future.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton’s Quarterly Accomplishments (Q1, 2013)

Fiscal Responsibility

AAA credit rating – Halton’s AAA Credit Rating was reaffirmed by Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. The AAA Credit Rating is an achievement that is widely recognized in the investment industry and an acknowledgement of Halton’s strong financial position.

Attracting and Retaining Jobs

Celebrating women in business – On March 6, in celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8), Halton Region’s Small Business Centre, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, hosted a business event for Women Entrepreneurs to “learn, connect and grow!”

Lowe’s Distribution Centre – On March 11, Halton Region joined the Town of Milton at a board cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Lowe’s Canada Distribution Centre at 3333 James Snow Parkway (West of Hwy. 25) in Milton.

Economic Development Strategy report – Halton Region’s Economic Development Strategy is on track, with all 50 actions scheduled for 2012 complete, according to a report presented to Regional Council on March 27. This is the first report marking the progress of the Region’s 10-year Economic Development Strategic Implementation Plan, which was approved by Council in 2011.

Promoting Tourism

Cycling event announced – Three-time Olympic cycling medalist Curt Harnett was at the HaltonRegionMuseum on January 22 to help announce the PwC Epic Tour Halton, a GranFondo-style mass participation cycling event featuring some of the most spectacular cycling terrain in the Greater Toronto Area. The first annual event is scheduled for September 8, 2013, coinciding with the Museum’s 3rd annual Alexander Family Farm Day.

Museum performances – On Monday, February 11 the Halton Museum Foundation presented two performances of “The Spirit of Harriet Tubman” at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. The performances celebrate the life and work of the famous Underground Railroad conductor.

Public Engagement

2012 Report to the Citizens – Halton Region issued the second annual Report to the Citizens about progress on the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.  Key accomplishments highlighted in the 2012 Report to the Citizens illustrate how Halton Region continues to deliver value to taxpayers.

Partnerships

Non-profit networking – Over 90 people from various sectors participated in the first session of the Let’s Talk…Let’s Connect networking series with the non-profit sector on February 13. The session focused on creating opportunities for conversation, networking and learning to strengthen relationships and build capacity within the non-profit sector.

Be an Employer of Choice

Recruitment video – Human Resources launched a recruitment video to help job seekers see the advantages of working for Halton Region.  The video is posted on Halton’s website and on YouTube.

Transportation

EA completed – To help make sure road infrastructure is ready in 2015 for the opening of the new Oakville hospital, Halton completed the Class Environmental Assessment Study for widening Dundas Street to six lanes that will include curb High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes. The expanded Regional Road will include enhancements that will create an attractive space for pedestrians and cyclists in order to encourage and facilitate active transportation.

Infrastructure

Watermain Replacement – Sections of the watermain on Martha Street and Lakeshore Road in downtown Burlington were replaced as part of the Region’s infrastructure maintenance and improvement program. Final restoration of the work area will take place this spring.

New Watermain installed along Louis St. Laurent – Construction of a new transmission watermain along Louis St. Laurent Avenue, between Fourth Line and Regional Road 25 in the Town of Milton, was completed and commissioned. The new watermain will deliver water to new and established neighbourhoods in the area.

Zone 5 Pump Station at Fourth Line in Milton – In January, construction was completed on a new water booster station on Fourth Line south of Louis St. Laurent Avenue. The new pumping station will help deliver clean, safe drinking water to residents of Milton.

New infrastructure to support commercial development – New water and wastewater mains were installed along Steeles Avenue, between Trafalgar Road and Eighth Line North. The new Halton Hills Wastewater Pumping Station #3, located east of Eighth Line North, is also now in service.

Environmental Protection and Conservation of Water

Public Works recognized by the Consulting Engineers of Ontario – The recently completed Inlet Works project at the Acton Wastewater Treatment Plant was the recipient of an “Award of Excellence” from the Consulting Engineers of Ontario. This award was presented on April 20 at the Ontario Science Centre.

Lake Erie Proposed Source Protection Plan – To help protect the sources of Halton’s municipal drinking water systems, Halton Region’s Water Services, together with the Local Municipalities, reviewed and provided comments on the Lake Erie Proposed Source Protection Plan. The Plan is a component of The Clean Water Act, passed by the Province of Ontario.

Annual reports for municipal drinking-water systems – Halton Region Water Services completed annual reports for each of Halton’s five municipal drinking-water systems. The reports, legislated by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, demonstrate the Region’s continuous commitment to providing safe drinking water.

Waste Management

Online waste collection toolIn February, Halton Region launched the new online Waste Collection Calendar Tool at www.halton.ca/wastecalendar. The new tool allows residents to easily and quickly search for the dates and materials of their next waste collection by inputting their address. Users can also sign up to receive email, phone or Twitter waste collection reminders, or add a waste collection schedule to their personal iCal, Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook calendar.

Service request tool for garbage tags – Halton Region launched an online service request tool to help resident order garbage tags from Halton’s website. A total of 3,102 online orders placed through www.halton.ca/GarbageTags were successfully fulfilled in March 2013.

Blue box pick-up events – In March, Waste Management Services held eight Blue Box Pick-up events for residents.  At the events, new larger (22 gallon) Blue Boxes were available to residents to help them manage new recycling materials (www.halton.ca/NewInBlue) accepted in Halton’s Blue Box program as of April 1. Blue Boxes were also available at Halton Regional Centre, Robert C. Austin Operations Centre, and the Halton Waste Management. A total of 50,000 Blue Boxes were handed out in March.

Corporate Sustainability

Earth Hour – Halton Region turned participated in Earth Hour on March 23 by turning off the lights and all non-essential electrical equipment in support of this global initiative to raise awareness about the importance of taking action to fight climate change.

Children and Youth Development

Online prenatal program – The Health Department’s new online prenatal program—The Gift of Motherhood—was evaluated earlier this year. The evaluation showed a significant reduction of the waitlist for face-to-face classes and that 600 additional families have now been able to receive prenatal education. The online prenatal program continues to be offered free of charge to Halton residents.

Seniors

Accreditation with Exemplary Standing – Halton Region’s Service for Seniors Division and the North Halton Mental Health Clinic achieved Accreditation with Exemplary Standing as the final result for the 2012 Accreditation Canada on site survey. Exemplary Standing is the highest level of performance that a Canadian healthcare provider can receive, indicating that the services provided have met and exceeded national standards.

Assessment Entry Module – On March 18, Halton launched our new Assessment Entry Module software in our Community Programs. This new software allows assessment information to move with a client from one health service provider to another to improve quality of care.

Protecting Public Health

Food handler training – On January 1 the first phase of Halton’s Mandatory Food Handler Training Bylaw came into effect. It requires all high-risk food premises to have a certified food handler on site while the kitchen is operating.  To support owners and operators in Halton, the Health Department offers several options to complete the food handler certification training including online study guides, a full day course and on-site training.

Income and Health Inequalities report – On January 29 the Health Department released the Income and Health Inequalities in Halton Region (pdf) that examined 23 health indicators to determine how much income effects health for Halton residents.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”


Creating healthy communities through active transportation

In Halton we have many programs and policies in place (and in development) that support Halton as a great place to be active and live sustainably. We value citizen’s input in the work that we do, and a great example of this is the Health Department’s walkON program.

walkON is a program that promotes the idea of the walkable, bikeable, and transit walkOnsupportive communities, encouraging people to walk, bike or take transit as an alternative to driving.

One of the unique features of this program is that it is based on a partnership that includes many different members of our community. Some of these members include:

  • Citizens
  • Activists
  • Government staff
  • Elected officials
  • Service providers
  • Businesses

The role of the Health Department is to coordinate and bring people together and to support communities that are working to organize and improve their neighbourhoods. walkON also offers a variety of tools to help support those interested in making a change. In 2012, the program focused on delivering two successful multi-sectoral workshops, as laid out in our Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.

The first workshop was held in Georgetown and focused on the walkability, safety and accessibility of older adults. The end result of the workshop was that commitments were made by both the Town and residents to inquire about local infrastructure changes to help seniors access local shops with ease.

The second workshop held in Oakville has led to a coalition of many existing partners called the Oakville Sustainable Transportation Coalition. This coalition is still in its infancy and they are building on the Town’s strong policy base to work hand-in-hand making walking, cycling and transit use more practical for its local residents.

Currently Halton Region is creating an Active Transportation Master Plan to help connect our communities.  To learn more about how you can get involved, or if you would like to learn more about walkON and other health related programs, please dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Building a Better Halton: the Region’s commitment to infrastructure

With the arrival of spring, Halton residents will begin seeing more Building a Better Halton signs on local roads. The signs let you know that construction is about to begin in the area. They also are a reminder of the Region’s commitment to safe drinking water, reliable wastewater collection, and safe and efficient roads.

Residents have told us that infrastructure planning and construction are key priorities for the Region and we’re listening to you. The Region’s 2013 Budget includes a $3.8 billion 10-year capital program primarily for roads, water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2013 capital budget for roads, water and wastewater projects is $917.4 million.BBH Logo

Part of the Region’s commitment to infrastructure is keeping you informed about what we are doing. Through the Building a Better Halton communications program, residents and business owners are notified about upcoming Regional construction projects and any potential impacts. That includes road signs, direct mailings to your home or business, newspaper advertisements, online information and e-newsletters for areas where multiple projects are occurring and/or planned.

You can find out more about what’s happening along Dundas Street in Burlington and Oakville, and Steeles Avenue in Milton and Halton Hills by subscribing to Halton Region’s Construction Update e-newsletter at www.halton.ca/constructionupdate.

Whenever possible, the Region schedules overlapping construction projects at the same time to reduce inconvenience on local streets or along major traffic routes. Sometimes work has to be completed in phases according to available revenue or to lessen traffic disruptions, avoid conflicts with other construction activities or because some environmentally-sensitive work can only be completed at certain times of the year.

At www.halton.ca/construction, you’ll find construction project information, alerts for road closures and lane restrictions, maps of the project areas, and links to your local municipality’s construction information.

Thank you for your patience as we work together to build a better Halton.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Region offers tools to help residents Drive SAFE

Every day, thousands of vehicles drive on Regional roads. While Halton Region was once again rated as the Safest Canadian Municipality in Canada, I know that transportation and road safety issues are always on Halton residents’ minds and it’s important that we do all we can to keep our roads safe.

Stop on Red   
   
This year Halton will be installing five new red light cameras across the Region. These cameras, that capture photo evidence of anyone entering an intersection after the light has turned red, help remind people of the dangers associated with driving carelessly and running red lights.

Last year, we surveyed drivers in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville and found that half of Halton drivers worry about getting into an accident when driving through an intersection and more than 60% reported seeing a near-miss accident as a result of someone running a red light. The same survey found that 72% of Halton Region drivers are very concerned about drivers running red lights.

Learn more about how red light cameras work and how they’ll help improve the safety of our intersections.

The Lasting Effects of Impaired Driving

This Christmas, Halton Region and Halton Regional Police partnered with Sharon McGregor, a courageous Oakville mom whose beloved son was killed because of impaired driving. You may have seen her touching public service announcement playing in movie theatres and on our Impaired Driving webpages. As the weather starts to warm up, please remember to drive responsibly and if you plan on drinking, use our online resources to plan for your ride.

If you’re on our roads and think you see an impaired driver, please dial 911 and report it. Impaired driving is a crime in progress and one call could save a life!

Take the Pledge and Just Drive!

This year, Halton Region and Halton Regional Police are teaming up to help put a stop to distracted driving. This spring we’ll be encouraging residents to take the pledge against distracted driving and commit to not texting, talking on the phone or eating while driving. This is such an important issue in our community, that it will be a year long campaign. 

Our Police partners have an excellent program called Halton Road Watch. If you see dangerous or aggressive driving, you can report it by filling out an online form at www.haltonroadwatch.ca. Police will review the report and may send a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle reminding everyone who drives that vehicle to drive safely. If you have a passenger, ask for their help in writing down license plate numbers so you can file a report. See it. Report it. Keep our roads safe.

Through our Drive SAFE (Safety Awareness for Everyone) program, we’ll continue to improve safety on our roads. Working together we can make sure Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at  gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter,”The Carr Report.”

Canada’s Gas Tax Fund supports infrastructure improvements across Halton Region

Key initiatives of Halton Region’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan include managing our existing system to ensure water and wastewater infrastructure are in a state of good repair and constructing key infrastructure to meet existing and future growth demands. Our 2013 Operating Budget features an increased investment in the Region’s water and wastewater maintenance program ($3.1 million) and state-of-good-repair capital program ($8.7 million) to ensure the existing infrastructure is appropriately maintained to provide service to the residents of Halton.

Canada’s Gas Tax Fund is an important source of infrastructure funding for the Region. The Fund provides municipalities with a source of long-term, stable and flexible funding for environmentally-sustainable infrastructure such as local roads and bridges, public transit, water and wastewater, solid waste management and community energy systems. At the end of 2012, Canada’s Gas Tax Fund had provided a total of $70.9 million in funding to support 75 infrastructure projects in Halton Region.

The Fund addresses immediate local infrastructure investment needs and also allows Halton Region to plan ahead for long-term priorities. Halton Region’s gas tax allocation for 2010 to 2014 is nearly $13.5 million annually.

Canada’s Gas Tax Fund is a Government of Canada funding program that is administered in Ontario by the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO). For more information, visit www.gastaxatwork.ca.

Halton’s infrastructure needs are also driven by new growth. Regional Council believes very strongly that any new growth in Halton must pay for itself and that taxpayers should not be burdened with the cost of growth. We, with our Local Municipal partners, will continue to advocate to the Provincial and Federal government for long term financial investments and legislative tools that will enable Halton to recover infrastructure costs.

For more information on current Regional construction projects, visit www.halton.ca/construction.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at  gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, ”The Carr Report.”