GCAT Has Concerns About Potential Changes to Rail Crossings

Happening now, the City of Guelph is gathering feedback about proposed road-level rail crossings in the Royal City. The study is focused on places in the city where local roads meet the train tracks owned by Metrolinx that service the Kitchener Line GO Train that runs from Kitchener to Union Station, but a local activist group wants to make sure that the there’s one specific action that doesn’t come out of this feedback  process.

“We fully support improved all day Metrolinx GO service and believe we can have a balanced and fair outcome for all means of transportation,” said Mike Darmon, president of the Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation, in a media release. However, the outcome must include options that include safe Active Transportation infrastructure at these crossings which does not further divide our neighbourhoods.”

Specifically, Darmon is worried about a repeat of what happened last year at the rail crossing on Dublin Street, where the road effectively dead ends at the railroad tracks with new fencing put up in the name of safety. New fencing has been installed all along the Kitchener Line west of the core with only a few places where north/south access is still passible including Glasgow Street, Yorkshire Street, Edinburgh Road, and Alma Street, which are four of the five crossings currently being studied by the City.

“Efficient arterial roads for vehicular traffic is also vitally important for the safety and enjoyment of our neighbourhoods due to the anticipated increased traffic through neighbourhoods adjacent to any road closures,” Darmon added.

The fate of the rail crossings is all important as the Government of Ontario and Metrolinx try to ramp up two-way, all-day GO Train service by the mid-decade. In October, Metrolinx announced that they would be incrementally increasing train speeds along the Kitchener Line  following an investment in improving level crossing and signalling along the tracks. Metrolinx is also doing its own study into road-level crossings in Guelph, which also includes Watson Road and Cityview Drive in the east end.

Darmon and GCAT are calling on anyone concerned about future road closures at the five main intersections being studied to go to the City of Guelph’s public feedback page and announce their opposition. They’re also calling on the City of Guelph to consider an active transportation trail under the tracks at Margaret Greene Park that would connect the Westwood Road area to Paisley Road so that there will be an easier, safer access between the two neighbourhoods.

The deadline to submit feedback on rail crossing at the Have Your Say site is November 30.

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