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Commuter news: GO delays on lakeshore line

By shost at 8:26 am on Monday, February 23, 2009

0722 AM, EST Monday February 23 2009, Unconfirmed reports a GO train had an incident around Port Credit on the Lakeshore line..  no further info known, more to come.

It appears, if this is true, it was a deadhead run (no passengers) that may have had a problem as reported above. GO passengers are oblivious to the issue as the network remains fluid, and delays are minimal. According to the GO status update, this appears to be the culprit train:

 ”.    The Oakville 07:05 – Union 07:42 train trip is cancelled due to
     equipment problems. Passengers will be accommodated on the
     Oakville 07:15 – Union 07:40 (express) or the
     Oakville 07:25 – Union 08:08 (local)

“ 

In  the future, I will be adding more GO “commuter news” alerts as they become available. I will focus on the Georgetown and Milton lines (for Waterloo Region and Wellington County/Halton Hills) but will endeavor to note any issues that may affect large portions of the GO network otherwise. Anyone wishing to help in this endeavor, please contact me.

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City of Guelph to pursue federal stimulus money for Intermodal Transit Hub & Railway bridge improvements

By shost at 11:49 am on Saturday, February 21, 2009

From the Guelph Tribune, the City of Guelph appears to be identifying projects that may qualify for Stimulus money from the Federal Government. The most important project related to our Commuters is the Transit Hub, which will bring together City Transit, VIA Rail, GO Transit (bus/train) and Greyhound into one location.

“The other is a $15-million combined project to build a Guelph Transit terminal on Carden Street and rehabilitate the nearby railway bridge on Wyndham Street. In order for GO trains to come to Guelph in 2011, a transit terminal near the VIA station needs to be built by the end of 2010 and the old bridge also has to be fixed up by then, said a staff report distributed to councillors Monday night.”

http://www.guelphtribune.ca/news/article/164328

My question, is why is the City of Guelph responsible for fixing up the Railway bridge when it should be owned by Canadian National, under 21 year lease to Goderich and Exeter? Unless this is for realignment of the roadways and railroad crossings (Guelph Junction Railway) that snake around the bridge…

In other news, GO Transit has clarified to GOKW.ORG that in order to qualify for some of the $500 million in funding announced by the Federal and Provincial Gov’t, Guelph has to be an approved project, and as it stands right now, GO Guelph train service has not been approved by the GO Board of Directors.

 

 

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Why is GO Transit parking so important?

By shost at 9:23 pm on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

(Burlington GO new parking lot, opened 2008, 600 spaces, $20 million dollars. Image from the Builder, http://www.kenaidan.com/)

The answer is very simple. Today’s culture is based on urban sprawl,  and the drivable community, which is the very reason GO transit exists today. Most of the population around the GTA own one sometimes two vehicles on a per family basis. To convince riders to get on GO transit, you have to provide a place to park their vehicle.  But where? In a GO transit parking lot, to park and ride the next train. GO Transit’s policy at most stations is your ticket gives you a free parking space for the duration of your working day.

In the future, if Places to Grow (Ontario) takes hold,  your cities downtown will be a vibrant, livable, walkable community, within walking distance to GO stations. This also implies that it is likely people will give up their cars by 2020 and that there may not be as great a need for parking lots.

However, to bridge the gap between 2009 and 2020 a parking lot is a neccesary intermediary between the car culture of today, and the walkable community of tomorrow. Bridging this gap is key to promote a change to a more sustainable community for 2020 and beyond.

Therefore, today, GO can only continue their success through supplying enough parking to meet ridership demand. 

While the future may hold different economics for GO ridership success, the $500 million annoucned by our Governments today is a welcome step towards unclogging of our highways and viable alternative transporatation methods in Ontario. Bravo.

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Go Transit gets $500 million — half the money for parking improvements.

By shost at 8:55 pm on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

City of Guelph staffers and councillors may be interested to know that 50% of the $500 million dollars announced by the Federal and Provincial Governments for GO Transit is for parking improvements at various GO Stations. Perhaps there may be room to squeeze some money for some of Guelph’s parking plans? Some of the money appears to not yet be finalized, however, the improvements announced today include:

  • $75 million to grade seperate a Hamilton Junction to improve Hamilton train service (Details of this are sketchy)
  • The parking improvements (From the Backgrounder) include the following cities:
Central Ajax Parking Structure $30,200,000.00
Central Aurora Building Rehab/Parking Rehab $1,250,000.00
Central Mount Pleasant Parking Expansion $1,100,000.00
Central Bramalea Parking Expansion $1,350,000.00
Central Centennial Parking Structure $14,000,000.00
Central Unionville Parking Expansion $1,500,000.00
Central Cooksville Parking Structure $30,500,000.00
Central Erindale Parking Structure $30,000,000.00
Central Oakville Parking Structure $30,500,000.00
Toronto Markham Parking Expansion $700,000.00
Toronto Pickering Parking Structure $30,500,000.00
Toronto Rouge Hill Parking Expansion $1,500,000.00

Wow. Guelphites, take note. The Government is funding GO Parking, while our City is planning to take it on themselves.

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The case for westbound GO service to Waterloo region

By shost at 1:22 am on Friday, February 13, 2009

GO Transit has been built on the philosophy that people in and around the GTA Commute to downtown Toronto. This philosophy has hardly changed over the last 30 years, owing to the fact the majority of users are in fact commuting in this direction. However, times are changing. The notion that GO is considering westward trains seem to indicate a change. But we must see this through.

Waterloo region (and Guelph) are growing rapidly and independently of the GTA. Consider the Waterloo technology industry — employing tens of thousands of people, companies such as Research in Motion, OpenText, Descartes, ComDev, Intelligent Mechatronic Systems, Sandvine, amongst many others. As an employee of this industry, I must stress that the growth that is occuring in Waterloo as a result of this sectors success can only continue if we find the right talent to fill the thousands of available open positions. This often means we are forced to recruit talent from the Toronto area, where the capture rate of this talent is lowered due to commute distance and/or moving costs.

If Waterloo region and Guelph are to become a successful, independent growth engine of the Ontario economy,  we need to look outward to attract talent using transit. Let’s GO WEST and help our employers attract the talent they require.

- Steve Host

Filed under: City of Guelph,Kitchener,News,Waterloo2 Comments »

PIC #2 Guelph Report, and copy of the Pictureboards

By shost at 1:11 am on Friday, February 13, 2009

First, here is a copy of the Pic display boards, which was also linked by WaterlooWarrior in comments below, (Thanks!):

http://steve.hostovsky.com/14877_PIC_2_kitchener.pdf

Second, the comments I heard/discussed with GO/RJ Burnside personell at the PIC

  • There is strong demand for bidirectional rush hour service, not only including service to Toronto, but from Toronto to Kitchener. Somehow, it would appear that they may explore the option of providing this service at the onset in 2011. Time will tell if this is feasible though.
  • Guelph’s parking will be serviced using CIty parking. Some form of parking arrangement between the City and GO will need to be worked out, likely resulting in your GO ticket as your pass to free parking at City parking lots. Poltiically, this requires some form of cost sharing arrangement between the City and Go Transit that has yet to be determined. It would be interesting to see some form of Guelph Transit integration also included, if all stars could align on day one…
  • Significant trackwork and improvements are proposed for Guelph, an almost 10,000 foot long ‘siding track’ (Second main track), essentially upgrading the existing Siding to mainline standards to allow two trains to pass and wait at the Platform at the same time.
  • A second passing track would be installed between Kitchener and Guelph, 6000 feet in length, bordering at the Breslau park and ride station
  • VIA Rail is also looking to improve service on the North Mainline, and some form of cost sharing arrangement will be struck for the track improvements (this service has yet to be fully announced by the Federal government)

What’s next? Send in your comments, this is your last chance. By April, the EA will be finalized and submitted for approval. Once approved, the next step is our Provincial Government announcing the project and funding, likely complete with negotiations with municipal governments on cost sharing arrangements. 2011 is the earliest start date if all goes without a hitch. Good luck to all involved!

 

 

Filed under: City of Guelph,Kitchener,News,Waterloo3 Comments »

Trickles of PIC information: Kitchener, Guelph

By shost at 12:03 am on Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Interesting tidbits of information from the PIC:

Waterloo — the PIC has simplified stations into a layover facility west of Kitchener (Baden or Ira Needles), a station at the Weber St VIA (later moved to align with the Rapid Transit, moving the station more towards King St), and a possible commuter station in Breslau.

Guelph — The station which will be used for service to begin in 2011 is the downtown VIA Station. parking will be handled out of existing downtown capacity, however, plans call for a Parking Garage (a third new garage) to be built at the north end of Neeve St — presently a permit only parking lot for local businessess.

(More details following tomorrow’s PIC)

For further reading, visit:

http://news.guelphmercury.com/News/article/437687

For those in Waterloo, if you are following the Rapid Transit (Light Rail)  project, this may be of interest, concerning the widening of Weber St, exproproation of homes and businessess, and the construction of road/rail underpasses at both Weber st and King St.

http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/485162

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