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Building Around Stations


Traditionally, transit has delivered people to dense urban centres — for work, entertainment, or a host of other reasons. Its design has encouraged very high-density growth in a few areas, while ignoring the untapped potential of the rest of the region. Wouldn’t it make more sense to spread that development, and all those opportunities, more equitably throughout the region?

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Currently, there are plenty of barriers when it comes to building near transportation hubs. Sometimes land is more expensive around stations. Maybe the zoning hasn’t been right, or there’s been local opposition. Many locations aren’t attractive because train service hasn’t been all that frequent — only in the morning and at night, and only in the commuting direction. It’s also difficult to build near stations when the land is being used for commuter parking.

There are plenty of key transit hubs spread throughout the region. If development could be encouraged around each, it would mean opportunities for more residents of the GTHA.


Where and how transit stations are developed is key to creating an integrated transportation system in the GTHA.

Transit links people with jobs, schools, work and important services, so the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe sets out density targets around stations on Priority Transit Corridors. Going forward, these areas will need to be designed to serve both transportation and intensification roles, ensuring areas can develop higher densities and provide options for station access primarily focused on walking, cycling and transit.

Planning and development has to involve provincial and municipal stakeholders, as well as transit agencies and the private sector. Together, they can positively influence growth through initiatives that:

  • Work collaboratively with stakeholders to create station area plans that support desired land uses and prevent those that fail to fulfill its potential.
  • Locate publicly-funded institutions and facilities near transit with walking- and cycling-supportive infrastructure.
  • Enable Metrolinx to play a leading role in development and redevelopment around stations to fulfil the objectives of the Growth Plan and the Draft Plan.
  • Review current financial and economic incentives, and create new incentives that encourage the right development in the right place.

Transportation decisions affect the way we use land, and how we use land has an impact on transportation. As the system expands, there’s a great opportunity to create more complete and connected communities that support transit, walking and cycling.


Well-integrated stations and transit services are the ultimate goal. We’ll all benefit from the results — things like new employment opportunities, convenient connections to residential areas, new services and public institutions close to frequent transit options. More commuters will be able to leave their cars at home.

Experience has clearly shown that we need to integrate development more into transit project planning and procurement. That’s the best way we can optimize these locations to better serve communities. We’ll all see the benefits when opportunities and growth can be better spread throughout the region.

Find Out More about Building Around Stations

Metrolinx' guidelines for developing transit hubs

Check the Draft Plan for more information:

Page 82:
Strategy #4: Integrate Land Use and Transportation

Page 90:
4.3 Focus development on Mobility Hubs and Major Transit Station Areas along Priority Transit Corridors

Should more be done to encourage development at stations, even if it means reducing available parking?