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A little retrospective .. and over in Waterloo, LRT wins.

By shost at 4:03 pm on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I remember back in 2006 when we started this site – we polled the municipal candidates in Waterloo, Guelph and Acton on the future potential of GO transit in this area  - posted the results here – and helped educate the public on the potential of GO transit in our region – at the time no one spoke of it or was aware it was even on the table. LRT was still in the early stages – and look how far we’ve come. I’m glad TRITAG has taken the cause for pro-transit in Waterloo region – and I’ll try not to duplicate what they advocate for – (check them out – a great effort!)

Speaking of how far some have come – I’ll also mention that my friend and former co-hort that helped drive GOKW.ORG in 2006 – David Graham – has won his name on the next Federal Election ballot in St. Agathe, QC by winning the Liberal Party nomination. Way to go David! David moved back out there years ago (and divides his time in Ottawa) to continue his political career with obviously great success. Good luck David!

So back to Waterloo – It’s full steam ahead for the Waterloo region LRT project – Ken Seiling wins by a comparable margin against the anti-LRT Aissa.  In an election that stood as a form of referendum on LRT versus no LRT – Waterloo region residents clearly chose the former – and I’m quite happy they did. LRT will funnel traffic to/from GO Trains in the city and provide a level of transit integration only equaled in Toronto (Until other LRT projects come on board).. Good job, Waterloo — now for the 4 years of construction pain and related road closures.

Most importantly – with Waterloo LRT proceeding with no political opposition – other LRT projects that are being considered – namely Hamilton, Missussauga (Brampton) can continue to look at Waterloo as the positive bellweather for what may be in store should they also choose the LRT path.

By the time LRT construction is completed there will be four trains/day in and out of Waterloo – what are the chances we’ll have reverse commuting trains to connect to the LRT from Toronto? Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

At the end of the day – we still have major highway projects on the books, as well as major transit expansions. My goal is to see more balanced forms of transportation, including options for inter-city commuting and travel. We’re a far ways from achieveing our goal provincially, but in this region, we’re almost there!

- Steve

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New Highway 7 finally announced — wait for it — $300M and..

By shost at 9:33 am on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The province is surprisingly moving ahead with a new highway 7 – connecting the bustling Metropolis of Guelph with the growing (up, not out) metropolis of Waterloo Region. Soon you’ll have a four lane, divided and fully grade separated journey through farmlands of Guelph and Woolwich Townships (Ripe for development once the OMB gets their paws on it  - More Wal-Marts, Boston Pizza’s, Canadian Tires and Hotels).

YAY! I’m so happy! I can’t wait for Waterloo region residents looking to take a short-cut to the 401 through Guelph – wait for it – only to be stopped by the red lights at Guelph’s NON GRADE SEPERATED intersections. That’s right – your new, 100 KM/H highway will basically ‘end’ in Guelph where you’ll be subject to the same stop and go intersections, 70 KM/H speed limits (80 elsewhere). Hence, for $300 million, TEN TIMES the price of GO service to Guelph, Acton and Kitchener, you’ll have essentially a highway to a non-highway. It’ll cost another $200 million to finish grade separations in Guelph – when? 2030? Will it ever happen? Or is the province dreaming that they’ll finish Highway 407 west through the escarpment down to milton bypassing Guelph?

The new highway is to be completed to Guelph and Kitchener by 2020. Mayor (re-elect) Craig: $300 million would have brought GO service to Cambridge, with $200 million left over to fund the LRT project from Fairway Mall to Cambridge.

The only sane reason I see this project going ahead is to avoid the widening of HWY 401 from HWY 24 to HWY 8 in Cambridge/Kitchener – which itself is about a $100-200M job (due to river and railway rights of way that require a sort of land-bridge, expensive to re-create and widen in an environmentally sensitive area)

Then again – is anything sane with the province’s decisions? Comment below.

Link to Guelph Mercury article: http://www.guelphmercury.com/news-story/4943888-work-on-new-guelph-kitchener-highway-7-to-begin-this-spring/

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Metrolinx is now in the Bike Trail business.. in Kitchener

By shost at 7:51 pm on Friday, September 5, 2014

Shhhhhhh – don’t tell the folks in the North Bay/Cochrane parts of Ontario – while there isn’t enough money to fund train service to Cochrane – Metrolinx is investing $1.2 million on a bike trail to connect Uptown Waterloo with the Kitchener GO station, via  a bike path. That’s right, Metrolinx is investing in non rail, non bus transit.

Link to council documents – see page 26

$1.2 million approx 1/3rd the cost – rest shared with municipal and regional Government. Multi modal transport is great – but really? Metrolinx involvement in this? Personally I think this is reaching too far..  and should be a purely a municipal matter.

Surely Ontario Northland train service is more expensive than a bike trail – but if you want to make some people bitter at politicians – cancel a train (the Northlander – “we don’t have the money” – Ontario Government) and pay for a bike path in the big city? You’ve succeeded.

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Second (and not last!) GO Layover facility being tendered.. Shirley Ave

By shost at 7:44 pm on Friday, September 5, 2014

So for the Kitchener-ites, Shirley ave – the ‘back road’ that acts as an alternate commuter route for those going east/west to/from Guelph and want to avoid Victoria.. there sits a little piece of property formerly known as Clarke Transport.

It seems Metrolinx bought this property and plans to build the second layover facility here. Why you ask? Good question – what’s wrong with building the real deal down by Baden that was planned and approved in the EA back in 2009? Will shirley Ave have enough room for the planned expansions? Will Shirley be itself replaced in 6 more years if say, all-day service comes to pass?

Either way – expect a multi-million dollar layover facility to be built at Shirley – clearly it’s already been designed..

link to bid documents on MERX

I’m all for increased service – but taxpayer money spent on another intermediate station only 3 years since the last was built? Details please..

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They are heeeeeeeeere.. first UPX (Union Pearson Express) trainset arrives in Canada

By shost at 3:58 pm on Thursday, August 14, 2014

The UPX is closer to reality – part of what is effectively the GO Kitchener line, the first cars from Sumitomo for the Union Pearson Express have arrived in Canada. See this photo by James Gardiner of Brantford found on the Railpictures.ca site:

http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=15999

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GO “to purchase” Kitchener to Silver from CN / CTC almost at Kitchener

By shost at 6:26 pm on Saturday, May 3, 2014

While the line from Kitchener to Silver is owned by CN, it is leased to Goderich-Exeter, a Shortline Railway, and is the only segment of the GO network in effect maintained by a Shortline Railway

Not for much longer – as GO has an “agreement in principle” to purchase the line and in effect, take over maintenance and operation of this segment of the railway from GEXR.

What’s not known is if GEXR freight trains will continue to use the line – I believe they will. Time will tell.

Also for those who ride the train often may notice new signals and towers being installed – the CTC Signalling project has been largely completed from London to Stratford and is working its way east. CTC is not turned on at the moment, but sometime this year the Guelph subdivision will no longer be dark territory, and as a result, safer and possibly even faster.

- Steve

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Mayor Craig: Why don’t you raise taxes in Cambridge to pay for your GO expansion?

By shost at 11:47 am on Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Here’s a great opinion piece on why cambridge is left out of GO trains – this isn’t news, nor is it rocket science -

http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/4430553-logistics-cost-not-politics-drives-go-trains-expansion/

Left out of the article was the fact that GO service to Kitchener also serves Waterloo, Guelph and Acton.

Expansion to Cambridge serves.. Cambridge. The towns en-route are tiny by comparison. Campbellville? A couple thousand people live there, if that. Which leads me to this.

If Cambridge Residents and Mayor Craig really badly want GO service to Cambridge – why don’t they pay for it? It’s only $800 million divided by 102,000 people, working to about $6700 per person.

Imagine that..

It cost $43 per resident served to bring GO trains to Kitchener and the new Expansion will cost $121 – a far cry from $6000+ for double tracking the CPR line from Guelph Jct to cambridge.

Again good luck Mayor Craig – $800M is still cheaper than a new highway but keep barking – you’ll remain low on the priority list until the numbers make more sense.

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Kitchener line: Four trains per day by 2016 – says Wynne Government

By shost at 2:41 pm on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

While most in KW would have heard of this already – it’s certainly substantial news for our GO commuters:

http://www.therecord.com/news-story/4417987-wynne-promises-increased-go-train-service-to-toronto-by-2016/

I’ll throw caution to the wind that an election is coming soon..

- Steve

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Area Mayors vie for reverse commuting and GO expansion

By shost at 9:55 pm on Thursday, December 19, 2013

Area mayors (Guelph, Kitchener, etc) are pushing for Metrolinx to add expanded GO service into the 10 year forecast, calling to start with busses FROM Toronto to KW during rush hour, and vice versa. Reverse commuting, the traditional Toronto commuter sense – when you consider the number of people employed in the Tech industry in KW/Guelph it makes plenty of sense. Would the numbers support two way GO service? Possibly, but have to start somewhere.

For details of the report – see:

http://www.guelphtribune.ca/news/boost-go-service-in-area-report-urges/

Note that the same area mayors, in 2003 were the fire that lit under GO Transit and the province to bring us what we have today – GO service in Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph and Acton. (We also like to think this site played a small-ish grassroots role in helping!) – and yes, we’ll be along for the ride to see service expansion. Add your comments and thoughts below – let’s get the discussion started!

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Guelph gets the GO bill: $3 million, but can be paid ‘in kind’

By shost at 9:51 pm on Thursday, December 19, 2013

http://www.guelphtribune.ca/news/go-service-costs-city-fare-penny/

‘in kind’ means things such as: counting proportional costs of station renovation (already budgeted and planned) – bridge upgrades done by the city that benefit Metrolinx, or offering Metrolinx land in  lieu of cash (Hello, the place where Metrolinx would eventually build a parking garage, or second or third stations)

Anyone know Waterloo Region’s bill?

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