Guelph might have GO Trains servicing our city in 5 years or less. GO is slated to perform an Environmental Assessment on extension of train service in 2008/9 to Guelph and beyond. What does this mean? A summary of our current challenges:
a) GO Train stations *REQUIRE* 500 to 1000 parking lot spaces. Most suburban GO Stations meet this requirement and to ensure success, Guelph will be no different.
– Barrie planned for 150 riders to start, and within 2 months has filled their lot of 480 parking spaces. They are already in discussion to re-open Allendale station (Source: Toronto Star, Feb 8 2008)
– Downtown must meet this requirement if it is to be the only GO Station. 300 spaces would be a minimum requirement for start-up of service with concrete plans for expansion upon service commencement. If this is not possible, we must look elsewhere or add a second (or third) station to meet it’s needs. Do not forget GO riders park FOR FREE with a train ticket!
b) As service expands and suceeds, two additional stations will eventually open in Guelph. Our GO Stations would be Guelph West, Downtown, and Guelph East, each with 500 parking spaces. Other Suburan areas with GO have stations 2 to 5 KM apart.
- Lafarge (at Silvercreek and Paisley) is an ideal location for a Guelph West station. 2.5 KM west of Downtown, it is close to highways and can easily attract South Guelph, West Guelph (via Paisley), and north Guelph, Fergus and Elora residents.
- Approximately the Watson Parkway area would be an ideal east-end station location.
C) GO Trains REQUIRE integrated transit. Initiatives such as discounted or included bus fares for GO Train or bus ticket holders would be a welcome idea, and has precedent in cities that recently added GO Trains such as Barrie.
- Guelph is already in progress with plans for an integrated Transit Hub which should meet this need in due time for any GO service. However, we must get Guelph Transit on board when the time comes.
There are other challenges, but these are the items that directly affect our residents and municipal politicians.