GO Transit Expansion in Guelph – you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers

As the current Kitchener GO Corridor virtual open house continues, Metrolinx is listening to the concerns of local residents. The ultimate goal is to bring two-way all-day service to key parts of the GO Network, including the Kitchener GO corridor. Here are some of the key Guelph-related topics discussed during the current online engagement session.

*Editor’s Note: this story was updated on Aug 10 to reflect the extension of the virtual open house period from Aug 12 to the new date of Aug 28*

Engaging with communities is one of top priorities for Metrolinx as the agency looks to bring two-way all-day service across the GO Network.

That’s why Metrolinx is often out across the region engaging with local residents and municipalities early in the process. This consultation is key to minimizing any impacts to the people that live and work in these communities.

Right now, an environmental assessment is underway to study electrifying the stretch of the Kitchener GO corridor between Halton Hills and Kitchener.

Due to the current pandemic, this round of public meetings on this study – the second of three rounds – are being held virtually.  This is an important part of the consultation process where Metrolinx shares updated information and gathers feedback from the community. You can read more about the public meetings here.

The online consultation process has been open since July 22 and runs until August 12, so there’s still time to have your say. The information will continue to be available on Metrolinx Engage after the open house and Metrolinx has a dedicated Community Relations team available to answer resident questions.

Metrolinx has received a lot of feedback so far, and here’s a taste of a few top questions that have people talking in Guelph.

Q. Why was Margaret Greene Park chosen as a potential site for a traction power substation (TPS)?

We have heard loud and clear that there are concerns about the preferred location for the traction power substation (TPS) in Guelph and we will sit down to understand whether there is a better alternative.

Electrification is a long term goal with many benefits – but there are no immediate plans to electrify this segment of the corridor. Metrolinx is planning on implementing two-way all-day service on this part of the corridor (Georgetown to Kitchener) using diesel – so there’s plenty of time to refine the technical proposal to account for the public feedback we have received.

Though there are technical requirements needed to make a project like this a reality, we are here to listen to concerns and examine alternatives, where feasible, to mitigate impacts to the community.

Photo from Kitchener Corridor Expansion: Guelph Subdivision Electrification TPAP showing aerial map of train corridor and area where the

Photo from Kitchener Corridor Expansion: Guelph Subdivision Electrification TPAP Round One Guelph Wellington Proposed Infrastructure Information Sheet (November 2019).

Q. If the TPS is put in Margaret Greene Park, won’t it mean the destruction of lots of trees?

We have heard that there are concerns about the preferred location for the traction power substation (TPS) in Guelph and we will sit down to understand whether there is a better alternative.

It is important to note the proposed TPS will not encompass the entire parcel of land – rather, it will be situated in one portion/area on the site. To provide context, approximately 15 per cent of the identified property parcel and approximately 2.3 per cent of the entire Margaret Greene Park would be required for the TPS site.

Metrolinx is committed to working with the City of Guelph and the community to explore design options that minimize the impacts to the park.

Q. Will residents have a chance to provide feedback going forward?

There will be many opportunities in the coming months for the residents of Guelph to keep informed and provide feedback. Community input is extremely important to us. We will continue to engage and work with the community wherever possible as we bring two-way all-day service to the Kitchener corridor.

The online virtual house has been open since July 22 and runs until August 28, so there’s still time to have log on and provide feedback. The information will continue to be available on Metrolinx Engage after the open house concludes and Metrolinx has a dedicated Community Relations team available to answer resident questions.

There is also a third round of public consultations planned for early next year, where residents will be able to participate in the process.

Q. What about road closures in Guelph? 

We have also heard community concerns about the potential for additional closures of level crossings in Guelph.  We are working with our municipal and regional partners to understand where road closures might be possible to improve safety as train services increase and to minimize traffic and pedestrian impacts of crossings.

The closure of Dublin Street in July 2020 was specific to the steep grade and challenging sightlines that made the crossing unsafe.

At this time we do not have any additional confirmed closures and will provide updates as they become available. Safety is always our priority and the safety of these crossings remains our top priority. We will continue to do our best to balance safety requirements with the need to maintain community connections and active transportation routes.

Story by: Laura Durie, Metrolinx community relations and issues specialist, with files from Scott Money, Metrolinx media relations senior advisor