Rail crossing study

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The Study

We've initiated a transportation study to explore the transportation impacts on five road-level railway crossings along the Metrolinx corridor. This work supports planned Metrolinx service expansion along the Kitchener GO rail line through Guelph including all-day two-way GO service. While Metrolinx is indicating they do not plan on closing any more crossings, we continued with our study because we want to preserve connectivity and ensure it aligns with our transportation goals now and into the future.

This is a City of Guelph-led project, and the results will be shared with Metrolinx when the study is complete.

The rail crossings we’re looking at are:

  • Alma Street between Crimea and Inkerman streets
  • Edinburgh Road between Foster Avenue and Preston/Inkerman streets
  • Yorkshire Street between Foster Avenue and Preston Street
  • Glasgow Street at Kent Street
  • Watson Road just north of York Road

The study will also look at and assess options for active transportation (e.g. footbridge) connection across the rail line at Cityview Drive. As a result of the engagement, we have added the assessment of options for active transportation at Margaret Green park and Dublin Street.

To find the best solution for each crossing we’ll look at the unique context of each one and our city’s overall transportation network. For example, we’ll need to consider how closing one rail crossing would affect traffic flow at another and in the local area. Some options may not be possible to implement for every crossing.

What is the process moving forward?

  • The current open house comment period ends June 29.
  • The next step is to commence an EA in 2023. Through a Schedule C Municipal Class EA, we will continue refining and exploring options in close consultation with the community. Options include do nothing and various design alternatives for grade separating. A recommendation will be brought forth to City Council in 2024 or 2025 for decision.
  • It is possible the do nothing option is selected with no property impacts.

The Study

We've initiated a transportation study to explore the transportation impacts on five road-level railway crossings along the Metrolinx corridor. This work supports planned Metrolinx service expansion along the Kitchener GO rail line through Guelph including all-day two-way GO service. While Metrolinx is indicating they do not plan on closing any more crossings, we continued with our study because we want to preserve connectivity and ensure it aligns with our transportation goals now and into the future.

This is a City of Guelph-led project, and the results will be shared with Metrolinx when the study is complete.

The rail crossings we’re looking at are:

  • Alma Street between Crimea and Inkerman streets
  • Edinburgh Road between Foster Avenue and Preston/Inkerman streets
  • Yorkshire Street between Foster Avenue and Preston Street
  • Glasgow Street at Kent Street
  • Watson Road just north of York Road

The study will also look at and assess options for active transportation (e.g. footbridge) connection across the rail line at Cityview Drive. As a result of the engagement, we have added the assessment of options for active transportation at Margaret Green park and Dublin Street.

To find the best solution for each crossing we’ll look at the unique context of each one and our city’s overall transportation network. For example, we’ll need to consider how closing one rail crossing would affect traffic flow at another and in the local area. Some options may not be possible to implement for every crossing.

What is the process moving forward?

  • The current open house comment period ends June 29.
  • The next step is to commence an EA in 2023. Through a Schedule C Municipal Class EA, we will continue refining and exploring options in close consultation with the community. Options include do nothing and various design alternatives for grade separating. A recommendation will be brought forth to City Council in 2024 or 2025 for decision.
  • It is possible the do nothing option is selected with no property impacts.

Comments

Do you have a comment for us about the Rail Crossing Study or any of the crossings in the study? Tell us here. 

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

An Underpass at the Edinburgh-Metrolinx crossing seems to me to be one of the least beneficial to the surrounding neighbourhood.
Traffic at that crossing is rarely an issue, it is not considerably worse than that posed by a traffic light, in my experience. Although it does close several times a day, it is rarely for more than a very short time, then traffic returns to normal. It is a trivial disruption, especially compared to the Edinburgh-Paisely crossing.

Building an underpass, on the other hand, will disrupt traffic far more considerably, dead-ending roads, eliminating vital paths used to navigate the neighbourhood, changing the shape and nature of the community considerably. I hate this option.

If something needs to change, I'd rather see more substantial barriers put in place at the crossing, and consider that the ideal, an appropriate response to the reality of the crossing at its current traffic level, and even into a future with more frequent short-duration crossings.

SimonClark 6 months ago

Since Questions asked in the question Tab are not being posted right away, I decided to post my question here as well, which I submitted yesterday:

During the Open House, you claimed that the queuing caused at Edinburgh – Paisley due to shunting of CN rail cars is out of scope and not considered for your rail-crossing study.
How can you make such a claim when the Edinburgh-Paisley crossing is causing queuing as far South as the Edinburgh-Metrolinx crossing which is where you intend to build an underpass?

Having worked for the past 2 years from home, I can assure you that almost all queuing on Edinburgh is caused by the Edinburgh-Paisley crossing and not the Metrolinx crossing, especially since the train speeds have increased by December 2021 to about 72 km/h. Only freight trains on the Guelph Kitchener line, of which there are far fewer these days, can cause longer wait times.
With your statement that the Edinburgh-Paisley crossing is out of scope and, consequently, neglected its potential impact on the queuing for the Metrolinx crossing, you invalidate your own modelling approach because you made all the input data questionable that you used to inform your modelling of the Edinburgh Metrolinx crossing.

If the City wants anyone to trust its rail-crossing study, can the city prove that the model you are using
1. Was rigorously tested and validated with an independent dataset before using the model for your rail-crossing study?

2. Included only clean and unbiased input data that were collected over a sufficiently long period and were not affected by the Edinburgh-Paisley shunting and queuing?

3. Included reasonable assumptions to inform the model and did not just worst-case scenario assumptions but rather the most likely assumptions required in the timeframe for this study?

An example of point 3 is, for instance, that the Metrolinx 2041 Regional Transportation Plan considers rapid transit with 4 trains per hour both ways on the Kitchener line, totalling 8 trains per hour. 8 trains per hour would be an ambitious but very unrealistic assumption, especially given the electrification delay of the Kitchener corridor, not to mention that those trains would also need customers to justify and maintain the frequency of trains.

Thomas 6 months ago

Hi, Sorry for the late feedback.. Generally I would support the do nothing approach partnered with a specific program to encourage people to leave the car at home in the first place via making AT the safest and most convenient option for everyone.

BryanS59 6 months ago

An active transport corridor connecting Silvercreek parkways would be very useful (underpass?). Bike travel on paisley road is not very safe due to car speed and road width. This would offer direct connectivity to bike lanes on waterloo ave, and close access to the 'magic light' for safely crossing wellington st. It would be a boon for active transport connectivity

Justin1 6 months ago

Reading this proposal is extremely disheartening. Demolishing family homes where children live, all for a temporary detour, seems extremely callous and shortsighted. There must be a more pragmatic solution that can be engineered. This whole process has significantly lacked transparency. To not have the decency to even inform the impacted residents prior to dumping these documents is shameful. The City of Guelph needs to hold itself to a higher standard. This will certainly dictate how I, and many others vote in the next municipal election, and I plan on continuing to be vocal in my opposition to this plan.

Ben3 6 months ago

I am still trying to figure out just what the benefits are to this: every GO train I see has literally no one on it. So just who is this saving time and making a convenience for? These neighbourhoods will be fractured, cut off from their parts, and ugly to boot. And guess who shoulders the financial costs, the inconvenience, the deterioration of what was once a desirably residential area?

Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, Toronto and all in-between were built around the automobile. We can't suddenly interject a high-speed rail system on what was formerly a quiet passenger service linking these communities, and figure that cutting neighourhoods into pieces, appropriating homes and forcing those residents to move, and making the neighbouroods ugly, are worth the price, over and above their huge financial costs.
As a previous commenter noted, other communities have successfully integrated faster trains without dismembering the neighborhood, why can't this be the case for these crossings? Leave as they are, but install good barriers. This is the most cost-effective route and won't sever neighbourhoods and destroy parks.

Patti 6 months ago

The shunting at Edinburgh and Paisley is the only major problem around here. I owned 119 Edinburgh Rd facing directly on to the tracks by Paisley for years and now I live on Allan Ave, which will become the Allan Expressway should this come to pass. Why does the shunting happen so often right around 9am?! It’s not like anyone is trying to get anywhere on a weekday around 9am. Then they do it again just around three when we need to pick up kids from school. Couldn’t time it better!!
Add on that this will drop the value of my home significantly as I directly back on to two impacted homes so we will be losing some great neighbours too. Where are they supposed to move to?!?!
Great proposal!!! (if your goal is to worsen the neighbourhood significantly!!!)

SteveS 6 months ago

My comments are regarding specifically to the study findings for Grade Separation Options – Edinburgh Rd. Crossing:

- The study deliberately ignores traffic due to paisley/Edinburgh rail crossing works.

- Parsons corporation who performed this study is partnered with Metrolinx to enhance infrastructure and service for Metrolinx. This is a conflict of interest when Parsons should be providing an un-biased study.

- Homeowners affected by this study were never contacted by the city. Property owners affected need to be contacted immediately and provided more detailed information on the impact specific to their lot.

- Community involvement needed before and after environmental assessment, before city budget approvals, and before any design revisions.

- The current concept for Grade Separation Options alienates neighbours across Edinburgh as well as on either side of the rails. This design is missing active transport crossings to be built over Edinburgh on north and south side of rails, as well as dedicated active transport lanes running parallel to Edinburgh allowing rail crossing.
- Design for the underpass itself affects only 8 properties. Design of the roadway detour on the East side affects a further 12 properties and a public park. If the underpass must go ahead, please consider other options for the detour to not displace the East side of Edinburgh.

- My final recommendation is to save the city $45 million by improve this crossing and more sections of Edinburgh Road for pedestrian/bike traffic instead.

Michael Stanski 6 months ago

You say you want to keep neighbourhoods connected, no one can cross a meters deep trench. So why aren't 2 pedestrian crossings included in the draft plan?

AEI 6 months ago

It doesn't appear that consideration of closing some level crossings to vehicles, while maintaining a level crossing for active transportation (pedestrians / cyclists) was fully considered. I see the drawings and estimates for a fully separated pedestrian bridge, but this seems excessive and expensive given the current rail volumes. Maintaining a level crossing for active transportation would be beneficial for streets like Glasgow which has been negatively impacted by increased traffic from the Dublin closure. Closing Glasgow to cars only, but maintaining a cheaper level crossing for active transportation seems like a potential solution. This should similarly be considered for Dublin. This might also direct traffic to Yorkshire which has a wider right of way and signalized intersections that could more readily handle the increase in traffic compared to Glasgow which is narrower, especially when there are parked cars.

paulnichols 6 months ago

I am employed by a company on Crimea Street that relies on Transport Truck access daily. On a busy day we may have 4-5 deliveries plus courier pick up daily. Closing off the street to through traffic will block our ability to receive shipments and therefore greatly affect our business and ultimately my job and others employed here. Surely there is an alternate solution that will not affect so many businesses and homeowners and threaten the livelihood of all.

Sherri Southall 6 months ago

Too much money! Spend that money on other necessary infrastructure

Sdow 6 months ago

To: Jennifer Juste,
Can you please explain - and I mean ASAP and not just after June 22nd when this comments section for the study will officially be closed for further comments from the public - to all 20+ home/property owners marked in orange on page 7 of your "Rail Crossing Study_ grade separation, technical memo.pdf" in the Plan of the Edinburgh underpass, how it is possible that your department posts a Plan of impacted properties highlighted in orange without having done any environmental assessment Schedule C?

Thus far, there is no recommendation whatsoever as to whether the Edinburgh underpass will go ahead. Is that correct?

Yet, overnight the property values of all orange-marked properties and their respective owners have been affected by posting the Edinburgh underpass Plan prematurely, which was done without even directly and individually contacting the owners - Why?

The action of publishing the Plan at this stage of your so-called “study” by your transportation department is not only unprofessional, it is negligent in my opinion! The homeowners of the affected properties and the general public deserve an explanation for this action.

[For reference, the Technical Memo with the title “Rail Crossing Study_ grade separation, technical memo.pdf “ is dated March 25, 2022, Parsons Ref. #477916, and was sent to Daniel R. Di Pietro cc’ing you as well as Altaf Hussain from Parsons)

Thomas 6 months ago

The document is inaccurate. One small example, using the slower train times as a comparison to show the improvements the road changes might make. It speaks nothing of the empty trains that roll past this crossing. It seems like Metrolinx is trying to justify saving this imaginary time for 'would be' customers they hope will ride their trains. Demolishing homes and the surrounding neighbourhood is not a good use of funds that could be used for other projects in public transportation.

Jen_iffer 6 months ago

This clearly is unwanted by the community at large. I've lived on Paisley at Edinburgh for the last 10 years, and in Guelph for most of my life. The proposed crossing at Edinburgh, Yorkshire, Glasgow and Alma will have virtually no effect on alleviating traffic; these are not the points where trains pass for more than a minute or two. The train crossing at Paisley and Edinburgh is the one that consistently and continually effects traffic. Working from home for the last two years, I've witnessed this first hand.

Even with two way, all day service, none of these are close enough to the station to cause disruption (see Acton Go Station). Even assuming it will become as frequent as the Lakeshore line, that's still a 1min (at most) disruption every 30min. A fully separate underpass is overkill and will heavily effect residents living close to these locations. Enhancing and maintaining the existing infrastructure is likely the most effective and least invasive move forward.

theycallmejosh3 6 months ago

Designated buildings, structures and cultural heritage landscapes are protected by a heritage designation bylaw under the Ontario Heritage Act, or have been deemed to have Provincial significance.
The City can’t do this! They are not above the laws and can be taken to provincial court

mikesavage 6 months ago

Who authorized publicizing that our homes are at risk without notifying us? I find this unprofessional.

AEI 6 months ago

I am not in favor of the overpass at Edinburgh. Sunny acres is a vibrant neighbourhood with more affordable and reasonable homes for smaller families or those just starting out. There is great character and community in this neighbourhood and I don't want to see the walkability of that area sacrificed for big overpasses and four lane roads.

Olivia 6 months ago

This is not wanted.

Lisa1611 6 months ago

I am a proponent of public transit and support increasing our investment in train infrastructure but this is not the way to do it. This will cost millions of dollars, remove people from their homes and permanently change the character of a neighbourhood, all in the service of saving a few seconds of car commute times. Car commute times at that intersection are not a problem. A grade-level crossing remains the best option.

ctacon 6 months ago
Page last updated: 04 Jul 2022, 09:20 AM