Mayor Del Duca issues call-to-action to fight traffic
Combating gridlock critical to enhancing quality of life, economic competitiveness and Vaughan’s future
"Tackling gridlock is my number one priority," Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca said as he delivered a keynote address during today’s 2023 Vaughan Chamber of Commerce's Annual Mayor's Luncheon to an audience of Members of Council, business, government and community leaders.
Pointing to the City of Vaughan’s 2022 Citizen and Business Surveys, Mayor Del Duca said traffic and traffic-related concerns were ranked top-of-mind by residents and businesses as the critical issues facing the community. Compounding Vaughan's traffic issues, Mayor Del Duca highlighted Vaughan's rapidly growing population, coupled with Council’s approval to implement the Ontario Government's Housing Pledge and the City's provincially mandated housing targets to facilitate the construction of 42,000 new homes in Vaughan by 2031.
Mayor Del Duca further said, “I believe that having the forethought to adequately prepare for future challenges, and turn them into opportunities, is a fundamental test of real leadership,” adding that, “I feel a profound obligation to ensure that we do what is needed to build a comprehensive and modern transportation network.” To that end, Mayor Del Duca detailed a 10-year Action Plan to Fight Traffic Gridlock in Vaughan, featuring several Council-approved city-building projects currently planned or underway that will enhance residents’ quality of life and strengthen the City’s economic competitiveness to retain and attract investment. These projects include:
- Widening Highway 7 to six general-purpose lanes of traffic between Wigwoss Drive and Kipling Avenue.
- Connecting Langstaff Road over the CN MacMillan Yard and upgrading the interchange at Langstaff Road and Highway 400.
- Connecting Kirby Road between Dufferin and Bathurst Streets. Construction begins in 2023 and the road opening is expected in 2025.
- Connecting Teston Road between Keele and Dufferin Streets. The Environmental Assessment for this project is underway and will be completed before the end of this year.
- Building two additional east-west bridges over Highway 400, one linking Colossus Drive to the southern Vaughan Metropolitan Centre south of Highway 7; and the other linking Canada Drive and America Avenue north of Major Mackenzie Drive.
- Building the extension of Bass Pro Mills Drive to Weston Road to help improve general traffic flow without negatively impacting existing residential neighbourhoods.
- Continuing Council’s strong support for the Yonge North Subway Extension.
- Continuing Council advocacy for GO Train service for Woodbridge and Kleinburg-Nashville, and for new GO stations on the Barrie GO corridor at Concord and Kirby.
- Continuing support for York Region Rapid Transit’s plan to deliver Bus Rapid Transit on Jane Street, Major Mackenzie Drive and Steeles Avenue.
“This is not an unrealistic wish list or a hope-for-the-best approach,” said Mayor Del Duca. “I am very well aware that some of these projects have been talked about for years, but the time for talk is over. We now have a responsibility to take action and get them done. Each of these projects, taken together and combined with additional improvements to roads, transit and active transportation, will give Vaughan what we need to continue to excel.”
Advocacy to deliver these projects has begun, Mayor Del Duca told the crowd of more than 600 attendees, adding that “we are, after all, a City that knows how to get things done.” Council’s record of working with stakeholders, community groups and other government levels to help build the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, plan North Maple Regional Park and develop the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre – the city’s emerging downtown core connected by the TTC subway and home to Niagara University.
Jennifer Coletta-Rashty, President and CEO, Vaughan Chamber of Commerce, said, “I am delighted to welcome Mayor Del Duca’s first official address at the 2023 Vaughan Chamber of Commerce Mayor’s Luncheon. His forward-looking speech offers a positive message about the state of our city. The Vaughan Chamber looks forward to continuing our close working partnership with Mayor Del Duca, Council Members and our business community to advance a bold agenda for city building. Together, we are helping ensure that Vaughan is one of the best places to live and work in Canada.”
Mayor Del Duca said, "I look out at this room today, and I see exceptional women and men from so many different walks of life who care so much about this city and its future. Our recent past demonstrates that we can do this and anything that we put our minds to. I need your help. Vaughan needs your help. Join me and the Members of Council to make our voices heard. We will convince our York Region, Queen's Park and Ottawa partners that we need their expertise, approvals and investment."
"And, if we do this, the way that I know only Vaughan can, we will accomplish our mission, we will successfully confront the gridlock challenge that has gripped our community for too long, and we will keep Vaughan moving," Mayor Del Duca concluded.
- A recent forecast by York Region suggests that by 2051, Vaughan’s population will increase by more than 66 per cent to be nearly 570,000.
- Even before Vaughan received the Ontario Government’s mandate to approve 42,000 new homes, Council, staff, critical stakeholders and engaged citizens have worked together to plan for a promising future for those who live, work and visit Vaughan.
- Vaughan has Council-approved secondary plans to develop new residential units in prominent areas throughout the city, like the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC), Weston Road and Highway 7, Yonge Street and Steeles Avenue, Vaughan Mills and the Promenade Centre.
- New Vaughan developments will be enhanced with access to critical transit opportunities such as the current TTC Subway service into the VMC downtown core, existing and expanded Bus Rapid Transit service across Highway 7 and the proposed Yonge North Subway Extension. Building homes in neighbourhoods with access to transit is a key part of the solution to tackling gridlock in Vaughan.
- Vaughan surpassed regional, provincial and national economic growth rates in 2021, with nearly 19,000 businesses employing more than 236,000 workers, producing a real GDP of almost $25 billion.