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Smarter Transit - City Hall as the South Core Transit Hub

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City Hall as the south core transit hub

We are interested in your feedback

Two Public Information Sessions will be held in the City Hall Lobby. Transit staff will be on hand to explain the proposed project and answer questions on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 | 5 to 7 pm
  • Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 | 1 to 3 pm

This proposed project is also available for review and feedback online (bottom of this page). Feedback is also being accepted through email at, and by phone at (807) 684-3744 until Friday, Nov. 13.

City Hall Render

As part of the Transit Master Plan, a route rationalization study was completed in 2012 and confirmed that the South Core area should continue as one of five key transfer hubs across Thunder Bay.

In keeping with that recommendation and following more than four years of successful operational activity, City Hall remains the primary choice to maintain a major transfer hub in the South Core area for the City’s Transit system.

Proposed improvements to transit infrastructure in the South Core include:

  1. Confirming that City Hall remain as one of five key Transit Hubs across the City
  2. Creating better accessibility by aligning City Hall’s transit infrastructure with the City’s Accessible Bus Stop Design Guidelines
  3. Providing improved passenger amenities including larger, protected heated bus shelters & seating
  4. Enhancing communication by installing real time electronic passenger information screens and improved way finding signage

the plan

In order to maintain City Hall as the permanent location for a major transfer hub, there are a number of primary deficiencies which need to be addressed. The noted deficiencies and proposed resolutions are as follows:

Investment Item Proposed Project
Accessible Stop Design – currently the sidewalk/boulevard configuration that wraps around the front of City Hall does not meet the minimum mobility pad dimensions required to allow for fully accessible boarding/ alighting for passengers with mobility devices, as identified in the City’s Accessible Bus Stop Design Guideline. Expand the width of the sidewalk/boulevard fronting the Civic Square on Donald St. and May St. to three metres to allow for accessible boarding/alighting on a solid surface.
Accessible Shelter Design – consultation with the City of Thunder Bay’s Accessibility Advisory Committee Built Environment Working Group and through public consultation, it has been confirmed that the current shelters at City Hall (4’X12’) are inadequately sized and are not appropriate for the accessible shelter considerations and passenger capacity requirements. Install two new 8-foot by 20-foot enclosed bus shelters, each with a 20 foot extension canopy to provide passengers with additional protection from inclement weather. To assist with safety, security and comfort, shelters will include anti-vagrant seating and high illumination from LED lights.
Heated Shelters – currently the existing three bus shelters located at City Hall are non-heated, resulting in the need to extend the public access hours of the City Hall lobby from 40 hours per week to 126 hours per week for approximately 17 weeks during the winter months. Install on-demand radiant heat inside the new bus shelters.
Electronic Passenger Information – of the five major transfer hubs maintained across the transit system, City Hall is currently the only location which lacks electronic passenger information screens. These display real-time bus departures and important announcements for passengers. Real-time passenger information screens would be installed inside each shelter. They will feature only the routes that service the respective shelter. They will also feature a message bar to provide passengers with any transit announcements.
Civic Square Landscape – increased pedestrian traffic in the Civic Square has resulted in problematic landscaping issues, which need to be addressed regularly. Incorporate additional landscaping and amenity improvements, which include hard surfaces, lighting, seating, waste and recycling receptacles.


why city hall?

Through completion of the Transit Master Plan’s Route Rationalization Study, City Hall was chosen as the best location to maintain transit operations under the existing and proposed route network in the City’s South Core. The following items demonstrate why maintaining a transit hub at City Hall is the right thing to do:

  1. Safety & Security - In a South Core Safety Audit – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Report completed in 2014, key positive elements with respect to transit at City Hall were noted:

    “the change in location of the transit hub from the former bus station to the roadway area that wraps around the front of City Hall is definitely a positive change… using roadways fronting City Hall for a Transit Hub promotes safer street usage, while naturally discoursing problematic behaviour”

    “the new bus shelter design is an excellent example of promoting enhanced weather and personal safety that exhibits strong CPTED characteristics. It is openly visible from several different angles and features illumination to ensure it encourages safe usage during evening hours. New bus shelter design offers excellent natural surveillance and therefore positive activity management.”

    “offers very sound natural surveillance capability, having an extensive amount of active road frontage on three sides from which observation can be facilitated easily on an ongoing basis from both passing vehicles and pedestrians.”

    "sight lines into, out of, and through this site are very strong, creating a sound environment of openness for all users”

    When using the universally recognized principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) “City Hall is very clearly the best option for the South Core transit hub when viewed from a public safety and security perspective.”

  2. Connectivity - City Hall is the centre of activity in the South Core. Having a destination point as a major transfer hub assists with passenger walking distance and reduction in transfer requirements. City Hall also provides passengers with safe, connected infrastructure – sidewalks line both sides of all streets leading to and away from City Hall.

  3. Location - City Hall is the best location in the South Core. Various alternate sites have been investigated in the South Core, but all score poorly when compared to City Hall. City Hall is a location which provides clear lines of sight making it easier for passengers to find connecting buses. It is a safe, inviting and aesthetically pleasing public space.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How is air and noise quality affected by Transit buses? An exterior air and noise study was completed in 2010 as part of the initial change in operations at City Hall with no significant impacts identified.

  2. Does this plan include increasing security at City Hall? - No. Since 2010 there has always been 1 security guard posted on-duty outside of City Hall’s regular lobby hours, usually until midnight each night. City Hall is also part of the Eye in the Street program within the downtown core, providing surveillance during hours of darkness. There are no plans to increase the number of security personnel already provided as there has been no indication of a need to do so.

  3. Will the proposed shelters be large enough to accommodate waiting customers? Yes. The enclosed/heated portions of the new shelters will offer more than three times the space of the current shelters. In addition, each shelter will have a 20’ extension canopy to further protect passengers from inclement weather. Improvements to how buses connect in the evenings at City Hall, mean that the need for passengers to wait at City Hall for bus connections in the evening has been reduced.

  4. Why does Transit need Transfer Hubs throughout the city? Scheduled transfer hubs are spread evenly throughout the city to provide a seamless transfer opportunity for passengers and are often located at major destinations. In Thunder Bay, they are located in the North Core, Lakehead University, Confederation College, Intercity Shopping Centre, and the South Core. The existing and the proposed transit routes require these locations to quickly travel long distances over multiple routes.

  5. Do all buses service the South Core? No. Currently eight (8) of the system’s 16 fixed route services (50%) service City Hall. The downtown is a key transit generator and transfer facility supporting passengers access/travel to other areas of the city. There are in excess of 70,000 trips to/from the downtown south core per month.

  6. When would the proposed changes to Transit infrastructure at City Hall be implemented? All of the proposed changes would be planned to coincide with other South Core area improvements/road refurbishment plans for Donald Street in the City Hall area. Tentatively in 2016-2017.

  7. How much will the proposed changes cost? The costs for the proposed changes are estimated to not exceed $350,000 and would be subject to Council approval as part of the capital budget process. The proposed plan presents and opportunity for an operational cost savings to the City – with the introduction of heated shelters and scheduling changes in the evening, City Hall would no longer be required to remain open after 4:30 pm in the winter months.

  8. How do the radiant heated shelters work and how warm will they be? The heaters are button operated during Transit service hours. When it’s below zero degrees in the shelter, pressing the button will heat the shelter for 5 minutes. The heaters won’t be operational if the temperature in the shelter is warmer than zero degrees. When the heat is active, the shelters will be considerably warmer than standing outside. The shelters are designed to complement good winter clothing, not replace it.


Let us know what you think!

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