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Waterloo Region Rapid Transit fast tracked: could be as early as 2013

By shost at 9:07 pm on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

By 2013 Waterloo region residents could be gliding along Rapid Transit light rail systems between Waterloo and Kitchener as part of a plan to fast track municipal and provincial approval for the system.

According to the K-W Record, on May 24, the Province, who is paying 2/3 the cost of the system, invited the Region to fast track their approval, where in turn, the Province would fast track theirs. This shaves 2 years of the approval times required.

The routes and technology (Trains, Bus, etc) will be selected by this fall, said the article.

.. the timing of this is also interesting… GO Transit is pushing Trains into Kitchener and Guelph. See the next post for more.

Read the full article here:

http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/355321

- Steve Host

Guelph

Filed under: Cambridge,Kitchener,Waterloo1 Comment »

Waterloo Region: Left out in the cold? Guelph going alone for GO Train service?

By shost at 7:29 pm on Friday, May 16, 2008

If you live in Waterloo Region, you should be livid to hear that yet again, it would appear GO Transit is looking to extend GO Train service to Guelph and leaving Waterloo region clearly in the cold.. from the Guelph Tribune, with MPP Liz Sandals and Mayor Karen Farbridge contributing:

“”GO is starting to wonder if it can get service to Guelph without having to do track improvements from Georgetown to Guelph,” [Liz Sandals] said.

“However, the same doesn’t apply to extending GO train service to Kitchener-Waterloo, because there are track issues between K-W and Guelph that would need to be addressed for GO trains to operate there, she said.”

“What to do about extending GO trains west of Georgetown is “sort of an evolving discussion,” and no final decisions have been made, she said.

Double-tracking west of Georgetown would be very expensive, Sandals has said in the past, because a lot of the bridges and grade build-ups involved have been designed for single-tracking.”

The Mayor of Guelph who is very supportive to GO Transit, had the following to say

“She said her letter included information on demand in Guelph for GO trains, work the city is doing towards building a new transit station downtown, and the city’s plans to get more people to live in the downtown area.

When GO trains were extended to Barrie, the business case there called for sufficient ridership to develop over a period of two years, but “the ridership was there within two weeks,” Farbridge said.

Great stuff from Guelph — a very proactive coordination of Government and lo and behold things are moving along… but what of Waterloo Region? … again, if you are from Waterloo start asking your politicians the same question.. it is not too late to get things started.

- Steve Host, Guelph

 

Filed under: Cambridge,Kitchener,Waterloo1 Comment »

UofGuelph to Cooksville GO Train users: Milton line now has 12 car trains starting today

By shost at 10:54 pm on Tuesday, April 8, 2008

For users of the University of Guelph to Cooksville (Milton line Train service), your train ride has become less crowded:

From Go Transit:

“As we introduce our new, more powerful locomotives into service, we can now start lengthening Milton line GO Trains to 12 cars from the usual 10. This will make more seats available to our customers and help ease crowding on the trains.
All trains on the Milton line will eventually have 12 cars. Service with the extra passenger cars will be phased in starting Tuesday, April 8, with your afternoon homebound trip.”

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Will Waterloo Region ever catch the GO?

By shost at 11:52 pm on Friday, April 4, 2008

This post is largely an echo of the Niagara Falls Review article titled “Will We Ever Catch the GO?”

Announced in 2003, the Federal Government offered funding for GO Transit expansion to Kitchener/Waterloo and Guelph, amongst other areas such as Peterborough, and Niagara Region.

In addition, a 2006 provincial gov’t news release also hinted at studies for GO Bus extensions for Kitchener-Waterloo/Guelph

“The feasibility of providing infrastructure to support new and additional GO bus service extensions to support Peterborough, Cambridge, Niagara Falls and Guelph/Kitchener/Waterloo is being studied by the Province of Ontario and GO Transit. Results are expected in 2007.”

It did not take long for Guelph to obtain a near doubling of GO Bus service which has proven to be successful.  

However, What has held up ANY go service from linking Waterloo Region? Why is a municipality of 600,000 persons left without any GO service what so ever? I will be digging into the feasibility study promised for completion in 2007 to see what GO Transit has to say on the issue. However, the Federal Government held a large 400 million dollar carrot in part for these improvements in ’03, the Province (via GO Transit) is obviously on board by means of the 2006-2007 feasibility study.. and what of the Municipal Government of Waterloo Region? (See the ’06 election section of this site if you want to know what politicians said to get elected..)

If you want my opinion, if I was a resident of Waterloo Region I’d be asking my municipal politicians the very same questions I raised today.. feel free to point them at their own words if they were kind enough to respond to our ’06 questionnaire.

 

 - Steve Host

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Go Stations: How they are arranged, how many parking spaces?

By shost at 10:23 am on Saturday, March 15, 2008

How are GO Transit Stations around the Greater Toronto Area arranged, and how many parking spaces do they hold? Let us look at a few and consider these as options for Guelph and Waterloo Region:

(Sources: All image data from http://maps.google.com, station information from http://gotransit.com)

Appleby (Burlington East) Station: 2422 parking spaces. Typical of the large Lakeshore line parking lots and stations with all-day service

Next — Brampton Station. Situated in downtown Brampton and shared with VIA Rail. Brampton and Guelph’s downtown  share a number of similarities, except Brampton has had GO service for nearly 30 years. Note how one parking lot straddles the OBRY (future Brampton north to Milton line service?)

Markham GO Station — a much smaller station on the Stouffville line with only 266 parking spaces.

Milton GO — what could be touted as similar to Guelph’s “Lafarge Lands” except Lafarge is much larger. Milton GO Station has room for 1082 parking spaces for a town of 55,000 people. Part of the station area in the north-east quadrant has been developed since this image was taken. A large Loblaws superstore, restaraunts, and other modern shopping stores are now situated there. Also constructed and not shown is a kiss-and-ride area, bus terminal and drop-off area, and additional parking spaces.

It should also be noted that Hamilton GO Centre has no official GO Parking spaces. Patrons are left to use municipal or other pay parking lots — and of course, you could take Transit.

- Stephen C. Host, Guelph

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High Speed Rail between Quebec and Windsor: What this means to our North Mainline

By shost at 12:40 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In January 2008 The Federal Government announced it is revisiting studies for High Speed Rail between Windsor and Quebec City. With all the new found prosperity due to Oil and Gas, Natural Resource, and general economic prosperity (including budget surplus) we might actually see this happen in the next 10-15 years. A link to the media release so you can understand the background is posted below. However, this has an impact on our Commuter transit issues..

http://www.tc.gc.ca/mediaroom/releases/nat/2008/08-h004e.htm

What does this mean to the North Mainline, or the other rail lines in Waterloo Region? This high-speed rail study is a very key development and *all* residents, Councillors, Mayors, MPP and MP’s should be aware of the consequences if High Speed Rail becomes a reality.

Basically, all freight traffic between Chicago, the Southern US, and Toronto runs on the two railway lines south of us: the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National mainlines between London and Toronto. If one of these lines  is upgraded to become the high speed rail link, *the north mainline will be forced to host that lines freight traffic through our cities*.

What do North Mainline residents prefer? High speed rail improvements, or oodles of long and slow freight trains running through your city?

Reasons why this argument holds:

* The North Mainline also is the same corridor that would link up to Toronto Pearson Airport — a Pro for the North Mainline to recieve high speed rail

* The North Mainline currently holds 90% less freight traffic compared to the other two mainlines through the Toronto – London Windsor/Sarnia Corridor. The existing freight traffic will simply coexist with passenger service as it currently does. It will not require rerouting. Therefore we have a relatively-blank slate when considering our line for high speed use.

Therefore we have a strong case for hosting the High Speed Rail corridor between Toronto and London IF and ONLY IF our councillors, provincial (MPP), and federal politicians (MP) lobby for us to recieve it. This week this was confirmed when Waterloo Region concillors approved lobbying for the high speed rail link. (as discussed in post below this one)

Reasons that will counter our argument: 

* Most passenger service is concentrated on the Toronto-Oakville-Burlington-Brantford-London route with heavy emphasis on the densely populated GO Lakeshore line. This line has been marked on many ocasions for what is dubbed “SuperGO” — an electrified higher-speed commuter service.

* The North Mainline route is longer by 10 KM (Source: VIA Rail timetables, Union Station to London Ontario)

* There may be a fouth option:  Goverment opts to build a fouth, and brand new Railway Corridor to host high speed rail. This is ultimately the most expensive (billions of dollars) and least likely option. Construction of this magnitude has not happened in Ontario since the 19th century.

Comments, questions? Please fire me an e-mail at steve [ a  t ] hostovsky.com

 

 

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(Waterloo Region) The Record: Two cities vying for GO link

By shost at 12:18 pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Waterloo Record has published an article concerning the divide in Waterloo Region as Waterloo/Kitchener and Cambridge councillors battle for who will get a GO Transit Rail link to Toronto. Basically, to paraphrase the article, Councillors have voted to pursue both Kitchener and Cambridge options for commuter rail service. In addition, they have agreed to the following:

“Commits the region to spending $75,000 of its own money on a feasibility study for passenger rail service into Cambridge.”

“Asks the province to fast-track GO buses between Milton and the region, as an interim step.”

(GOKW note: This should have been done 3 years ago… as it was announced in 2005 and still has yet to proceed. It’s about time!)

“Asks senior governments to consider a high-speed rail station within this region, as part of the latest study on high-speed rail between Windsor and Quebec City.”

(GOKW Editor note: This I will comment about in a new article..)

Article link: http://news.therecord.com/News/CanadaWorld/article/311459

Great work, to all in Waterloo Region Council who are finally on board with this effort.

To all in Waterloo Region, including Councillors: Don’t lose sight of the fact that *both* Cambridge and Kitchener can have GO Train service, but consider each a seperate project. Bus service will also be required in the interim, and shoud be started as rapidly as possible in order to start building the market for GO Service demand in Waterloo Region. Ensure what was promised in 2005 (Go Bus service to Waterloo Region) a Reality in 2008.

- Steve

 

 

 

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Pre-election: Ontario announces $17 billion in transit funding

By shost at 2:15 pm on Friday, June 15, 2007

The Ontario Liberal Government has announced funding for transit projects through to 2020. This is pre-election announcements and is designed to sway voters come this years election. However, tonnes of projects have been mentioned, many with a grain of truth. At present, while the media has mentioned Kitchener-Waterloo’s light rail project as part of this, I see no mention of any Kitchener-Waterloo or Guelph area commuter transit improvements yet. We will be following this as the details emerge, if any become available.

A map of the projects announced can be found here: http://www.premier.gov.on.ca/documents/MovingOntarioMap.pdf

For a detailed list of projects mentioned, visit: http://www.premier.gov.on.ca/news/Product.asp?ProductID=1385

For more on this announcement, I would refer you to news.google.com, search “moveontario 2020″.

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Transit dominates local media reports

By shost at 10:25 pm on Thursday, November 9, 2006

Transit and traffic congestion are dominating local media reports, and candidates are all vocal about their solutions to the problem. The most heated debates are in the Region of Waterloo for the position of Chair. The Waterloo Record published an article on November 8 titled “Public transit choices divide Seiling, Verdun”. The article had this to summarize about each candidate:

“Seiling, who has been regional chair for 21 years, wants a light-rail transit line in Waterloo Region.The trains would run through the heart of Kitchener and Waterloo, eventually extending to Cambridge and Elmira.

Verdun, a development consultant and former newspaper editor and owner, says his top priority is GO service. He wants GO trains ferrying people between Waterloo Region and Toronto and the surrounding area.”

Later, the Record says this about Sieling’s views of GO:

“Although a big supporter of light-rail transit within the region, Seiling said he hasn’t ruled GO out. The worry is that Waterloo Region will become strictly a commuter region.”

The article also discusses some data pointing to the number of commuters in the area, but the information is already 5 years old:

According to the 2001 census, 12 per cent of local residents with jobs commute to work outside the region.

Of the commuters, most go to Guelph. Four per cent, or close to 10,000 people, go to Toronto, Peel and Halton”"

The Staff of GOKW.ORG are experienced commuters and would like to remind people that in 5 years, a lot can change.. there has been significant commuter traffic growth for directions towards the GTA and it’s only getting worse.

Other media profiles of the various wards in Waterloo each mention a candidate supporting GO Transit expansion. Of course, you don’t have to look to your media reports for that information, you can find it yourself by clicking our “candidates respond” section, and locating the responses from the people you voted for.

There was a second all candidates debate for Regional Chair in the Canada Room of the Market Square and the author was in attendance. Very similar issues were also brought up, and there may be more media coverage in tomorrow’s papers. It’s clear to me that the battleground over Transit lies in the Waterloo Regional Chair and Councillor seats.

Filed under: Cambridge,Kitchener,News,WaterlooComments Off

GOKW.ORG Media coverage

By shost at 10:22 pm on Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

And a welcome to all the visitors who saw our spot on CKCO news at 6 PM (and the re-run at 11) on October 31. A reminder, click your city on the right menu to filter the candidate responses for your area.

While parents and kids alike were preparing for trick or treating, our humble website was featured on CKCO news at 6 PM as the first story of the day. I will post a link to a copy of the video if I can manage to digitally record the 11 o’clock reshowing tonight.

I also fielded a few calls from candidates that did not receive our questionnaire. We will be happy to send the questionnaire  to candidates that have not yet been contacted. Limited volunteer resources have not yet allowed us to contact candidates by phone, we used public Internet resources (city websites, community sites, wikipedia, google) to locate e-mail addresses but did not make phone calls. We may change this as volunteer hours become available.

Lastly, Cambridge was the most difficult to find e-mail addresses for candidates, and as a result, we have received very few responses. So far, only one. If anyone can help in this area, do not hesitate to contact us.

- Steve Host

 

 

Filed under: Cambridge,City of Guelph,Kitchener,WaterlooComments Off
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