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.

With the study complete I see that scenario A7 is the preferred scenario with no changes to any crossing but a grade separation at Edinburgh Rd S. if that is the case then I would like details on how the completed underpass is expected to affect all residences along Edinburgh Rd south of the tracks to Waterloo. Obviously we will expect major impacts on access to our homes both via driveways and sidewalks of there is to be a lowering of the road. If there are plans for retaining walls will these have a direct impact on residences and how so? I look forward to any and all information currently available with regards to the preferred scenario.

DeePs 6 months ago

I live on Cityview Drive North and would very much appreciate an active crossing at the tracks to Cityview Drive South. My preference would be for a tunnel style (where the active crossing goes under the tracks) as that is most accessible for those with mobility issues, people with children in strollers or wagons and people on bikes. A crossing of this nature will make a huge difference in our community for families with dogs (like ours) who enjoy a variety of options for walking in the neighbourhood. Thank you for your work on this project!

JK 6 months ago

Maintaining active transportation connectivity should be the most important part of this study. I live on Allan Avenue and frequently walk and bike in my neighbourhood, to work, to activities and to downtown. The crossing of Edinburgh Road is very difficult as it is so busy - it is easiest to cross when the train is coming as the road traffic stops. The preferred scenario selected proposes an underpass at Edinburgh Road - then an active transportation bridge should be proposed that is accessible for bikes, strollers, wheelchairs, etc. The underpass would likely mean Edinburgh Road will become busier since it won't stop with train traffic. The active transportation needs to be paramount as this is a busy dangerous road. It is unrealistic for people to walk to Waterloo Street or Paisley to cross Edinburgh Road.

Furthermore, the proposed underpass is 10-15 years in the future. So a pedestrian crosswalk with lights should be installed on Edinburgh Road sooner rather than in 10-15 years. A crosswalk around the Crimea Road intersection would be ideal - this is a frequent route for people with children at daycare on Crimea as well as the other businesses on Crimea and Alma (Fixed Gear Brewery, food bank, bike shop, etc).

I would also like to note that when the train comes on Edinburgh Road, drivers think they can "beat" the train and drive down Inkerman Street to the Alma Road crossing. These cars on Inkerman Street drive very fast in their attempt to beat the train. Inkerman Street typically has lots of cars parked on the south side, making it very difficult for two way traffic on the road and for any movements from the southern streets (St. Arnaud, Meadowview, Alma). Speed bumps or traffic calming measures should be put in place along Inkerman Street to dissuade people from using this road to beat the train.

maddiecarts 6 months ago

I am in favour of doing what needs to be done in order to prioritize the safety of the community while also ensuring that this train will happen. These barriers are essential for accomplishing that. It is possible to pass around these routes, albeit challenging in some cases, if it means that this train will allow us to commute to neighboring cities and promote continued economic growth and development. We are often resistant to change but change is essential for growth and we are all able to adapt. Personally, I will state that I am biased in that I work in Toronto and would rely heavily on this train, however I am seeking a more local employment position at this time that would not have me using this train daily and am still in favour of this proposition. We are all well aware that we are facing a climate crisis and need to prioritize our environment; having more commuting options can help us reduce our carbon footprint. I do agree that pedestrians and cyclist access should be prioritized over the cars when considering the design of the city of Guelph, however I presume that those other options were not feasible and if this is the only thing delaying the project, I think we can adapt to the barriers as we have done so already. Thank you for listening.

Guelph Commutes 6 months ago

In general, maintaining pedestrian access is paramount to the health and vitality of our community. Adding any barriers to this is a flat NO. Redirecting car traffic through major corridors is fine. Personally, I don’t (can't) drive, have to walk most places, and would be upset if pedestrian access was lost along these routes. I’d like to see a commitment to preserving access in this way as those with cars can spend a few extra minutes and drive around, but we walkers, can’t. Closing these crossings to us would be borderline discriminatory as there are few other practical options.

On specific crossings:
Silvercreek Parkway where it crosses Paisley
- Adding a new rail bridge and connecting road traffic would help alleviate a lot of pressure and restore a much-favoured route to key amenities. Adding a rail bridge here would not be disruptive and alleviate pressure created in the case that Edinburgh had to be closed to add a rail bridge in that location.

Alma Street
- Low traffic, industrial buildings in that location require road access that is not via the neighborhoods. I don’t drive and removing this would add a very significant amount of time to walk to shoppers or my family doctor, closing silvercreek already added 20 mins, I don't need to add 20 more.

Edinburgh Road
- An underpass for traffic could work nicely with a pedestrian bridge attached to a new rail bridge which will create a safer crossing and would also make for an excellent train viewing location.

Yorkshire & Glasgow
- Closing these to vehicles will redirect through traffic, but so long as the only practical option is Edinburgh or Gordon, that should be fine, BUT pedestrian access should be maintained, either with a small grade level crossing for people, which could be gated, or with an underpass. Closing both without some access would be a mistake. If you had to close just one, I’d say to close Glasgow since a person can walk down the step at Gordon street to get around.

middles 6 months ago

Like many others here, I feel that any decision to close both Glasgow and Yorkshire would be disastrous to the community. I can understand one being closed, if it comes to that, but at least one of those two should remain open for pedestrians and cyclists. Yorkshire Street is a designated north-south bicycle route in the city and this route features the safest (in my opinion) crossing of Wellington Street at the pedestrian-controlled stoplight crossing into Silvercreek Park, from which people can connect with the trails along the Speed River and cross (either at the dam or McRae Street Bridge). Any decision to encourage cyclists onto Edinburgh Road (a frankly terrifying death-trap for cyclists in the city) between London Road and Stone Road would be foolish unless extensive (and very expensive) alterations are first made to that stretch of road. It is too narrow, too busy, and too poorly designed for cyclists to be safe next to cars. Similarly, encouraging cyclists onto Gordon Street seems equally foolhardy; the City can splash green paint on the road and put up bollards, but it can't fix stupid drivers that "shoot the gap" to make left turns with no consideration for oncoming cyclists or the continued idiocy that is the Gordon&Suffolk intersection due to the McDonald's drive through.

Youth in the neighbourhood use these crossings to get to their schools (Central Public School, GCVI, Lourdes). Pedestrians use these crossings to get to local parks (Sunny Acres, Exhibition Park) and downtown shopping and dining options. Of course, the closures would also be devastating to the sense of community in this neighbourhood. I get that nobody wants closures in their neighbourhood and rapid transit is a must as we confront climate change issues. I can live with one of the streets being closed if the other is maintained properly, as adding 200m to my walk isn't a major impediment to my ability to enjoy the city.

Edinburgh must remain open, and an underpass or overpass would be an ideal option. This is an increasingly busy north-south route, and increased train traffic will cause additional traffic snarls.

Ideally, Alma should also remain open in some form. Better crossing protections should be sufficient here, as there are no hills on either side of the crossing like at Glasgow and Yorkshire, allowing good visibility for pedestrians and cyclists.

Christian Schultz-Nielsen about 1 year ago

In terms of the streets being considered for the Study, it is important to note that the rapid growth of Guelph has resulted in pressure on these streets and corridors as is, including higher volumes of vehicular traffic, often moving at greater speeds through the neighbourhood on Yorkshire, Alma, and Glasgow - particularly if a train or traffic incident is on Edinburgh. Even if changes were not being contemplated for the crossings, the increased use of these streets poses safety concerns as is, and would require intervention of some kind. The closure of any of these crossings will only exacerbate these issues, and needs to be dealt with very delicately or risk have significant adverse impacts on the neighbourhood and community on the whole. Funneling all traffic to Edinburgh is a non-starter.

Max Kerrigan about 1 year ago

Metrolinx can't be the tail that wags the dog!

RWM about 1 year ago

Connect Silver Creek Parkway from top to bottom by providing a crossing, underpass or overpass. The current situation creates too much pressure on Paisley and Edinburgh intersection, and then on Edinburgh from Paisley down to Wellington.

RWM about 1 year ago

I trust that metrolinx will share with us how the consultation feedback has been used to develop their recommendations once the recommendations are made. This would include stats on gotrain users between guelph and kitchener. So this is what i think…
Cars have options and people, on foot or bike, have fewer options. They cant walk/bike the Hanlon and Edinburgh is narrow and busy. And to walk or bike a few kilometres to go around a blocked level crossing is a few minutes for a car but considerably longer for a walker or cyclist. So while walkers and cyclists are fewer than cars on these crossings they should be prioritized. At the moment they are not. For example the Alma street crossing is very dangerous for pedestrians as the barriers dont extend to the sidewalk and there isnt a sidewalk on the west side (a city issue). And the trains are already going very fast and nothing has been done to ensure safe crossings for walkers and cyclists. So can something be done about this since we are a week away from 72 km trains along the tracks? Also, having been a gotrain regular and suffering through the painfully slow journeys to Toronto with few options for travel times i appreciate the goal of a better transit system. But is this attempt my metrolinx going to work? We cant ignore the fact that we abandoned this method of transportation decades ago and created neighbourhoods with little train traffic and now we are being told our neighbourhoods might be broken up for transportation that might not catch on. I see the mostly empty gotrains passing by and i have to wonder. Anyway- Consider making these decisions by prioritizing the people who rely on these crossings for living in Guelph not for people who rely on these crossings for travelling through Guelph. Because that makes sense.

Johanna about 1 year ago

Re Alma St. crossing:
I am a church leader (Senior Pastor at Spiritwind Christian Centre) on Crimea St., I have been there for just over 30 years and am very well acquainted with the local neighbourhood and surrounding areas. I use the level crossing every day of the week and at multiple times every day. The people who need unhindered access to our buildings on Crimea St are many and varied, from the daycare (Noah's Ark Childcare at 95 Crimea) to the Guelph Food Bank (at 100 Crimea St.) to the church at 95 Crimea St.
To close this crossing to vehicular travel would be wrong. I realize that foot traffic will be a high priority, but this level crossing is all about vehicles and much less about pedestrian traffic.
I am very concerned about neighbourhoods being chopped up into pieces by the closing off of level crossings. This runs counter to the aims of the City of Guelph which are directed at bringing neighbourhoods into a healthier, safer and more cohesive state.
The neighbourhoods around us are stable and supportive and very much family-centered. We need to do all we can to solidify their growth, not break them down by physically cutting people off from each other.
Don't close the level crossing at Alma St.

D. Worobec

DSW about 1 year ago

I'm concerned about the ever-increasing proposed speed limits on the mobile signs near the impacted crossings. It seems in bad faith to be continuously changing these (and in one bizarre case, displaying MPH instead of KPH.) What is the actual proposed speed?

mikeneame about 1 year ago

Closing the entire set of proposed crossings will have a substantial impact on the walkability of that entire area of town, and create additional traffic load elsewhere. If this is worth doing, it's worth spending to create safe crossing barriers etc to keep at least some of these streets passable.

mikeneame about 1 year ago

Hi,
I use all the crossing being consider, via bicycle.
Edinburgh, Yorkshire and Glasgow for active transport, Alma and Watson for fitness rides.
I also walk and drive on Edinburgh, Yorkshire and Glasgow. Since Dublin has been permanently closed, Walking and cycling to the new Veterans bridge into downtown and Bascilica of Our Lady have been cut off from people on Waterloo Ave and below. Any closure should not block pedestrians and cyclists from these intersections to secure the walkability/cyclbility of the core area etc. There should be a way of making these safe for people. Cars can use the other routes and residents can enjoy the reduced car traffic. thanks
Bryan Shook
59 Essex Street
Guelph

BryanS59 about 1 year ago

The Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation (GCAT) is a not for profit organization that seeks to increase the quantity, quality and safety of active transportation in Guelph. For eight years we have acted as the collective advocacy voice for our hundreds of members and social media followers.

GCAT supports the development of reliable two-way all-day intercity rail service. However, the natural limit of that support is when such service may come at the broad expense of active transportation (AT) options within Guelph. As one concerned member put to us recently, “Metrolinx must not be allowed to cut a gash across the city.” As such,

1) GCAT calls upon the City to maintain and expand active transportation (AT) network connectivity at rail crossings in Guelph, particularly infrastructure that supports All Ages and Abilities (AAA) travel.

2) For the City of Guelph to achieve stated climate and Transportation Master Plan modal-shift goals, it is imperative that the City maintain non-arterial AT crossings, in addition to those at arterial roads.

GCAT is concerned that a potential outcome of this Rail Crossing study will be that AT crossings in this area of the city are maintained only at major arterial roads. For many residents interested in shifting to AT, busy and congested arterial roads are not appealing. Compared to quieter local streets, arterial roads are less safe and pleasant, particularly for children and cyclists. In order to be considered AAA infrastructure, GCAT maintains that arterial roads require fully protected/separated cycling facilities. On the other hand, if non-arterial crossings are closed only to vehicular traffic, remaining open for AT users, then there is added incentive for drivers to navigate the city via its arteries, rather than cutting through quiet neighborhoods.

3) Given the increased speeds of GO trains through Guelph, GCAT calls upon the City to consider implementing pedestrian gates for grade level crossings.

4) In the event that the City/Metrolinx proposes to fully close any of the rail crossings under consideration, GCAT calls upon the City to clearly demonstrate that it has a) considered AT needs separately from those of motorized vehicular traffic, and b) why an AT-only crossing of some sort that meets the needs of residents who walk, ride, or roll, is not feasible.

5) GCAT fully supports the consideration of an AT crossing at Cityview Dr., particularly in light of the future AT connections through the Guelph Innovation District to the University and points south, or west to downtown. West of the Hanlon Expy., there are very few opportunities for AT users to safely cross the CN rail line. GCAT also calls on the city to explore the feasibility of a potential AT rail crossing in the general vicinity of Margaret Green Park and Stephanie Drive.

GCAT about 1 year ago

I support increased rail use and rail speeds. I am a regular GO user. I believe we can find ways to keep all of the crossing locations open and provide safe crossing options. These locations are critical for neighbourhood connectivity. Other jurisdictions have examples of functional and safe visual/physical barriers that provide better safety but still allow people, bikes and vehicles to cross.

There are only about 20 trains passing these intersections each day. A train takes less than 15 seconds to cross a given point, so total train traffic is less than 5 minutes per day total. I cannot in any way justify closing all the crossings in this study for these 20 daily trains.

The decision to close the Dublin Street crossing in 2020 was done very poorly - poor communication, poor listening, and poor decision. That intersection could have been left open for safe active transportation crossing. Please do not repeat what happened with Dublin Street!

Ian Digby about 1 year ago

I realize the GO train is worth while for transportation from city to city for either business or pleasure, but to cut off streets for the sake of rail does not make any sense.
I use Yorkshire daily either driving, walking or biking all year long. Now to cut off these streets to just get to Paisley means you have to use Norfolk or the Hanlon to gain access past the tracks. There are families who use these streets to walk their kids to school, church or the park to play, or kids walk by themselves to school and to take a longer walk around to get to school is absurd.
I see parents with strollers with their children, teaching the children to ride their bike or walking the dogs or just walking for the exercise for either the young or old, now you close these streets off you force closure of the city. And the traffic is already bad and this will make it worse. I wasn't happy when you closed of the tracks as I used to walk to downtown quite often as it was a shortcut, which now is illegal and then I wasn't happy when Dublin got closed off and this was allowed and now you want to close of a major street like Edinburgh as well. I have lived on Yorkshire for 19 years using the road or sidewalk daily for movement around the city and to block these streets off is very disturbing as Guelph loses but Metrolinx wins, what happened to fairness and looking for alternate solutions. The trains all want to move faster through residential areas but it has been working for years now and GO still has to slow down to pick up or drop off people in the downtown core, some things should just be left as is. The city has grown over the years considerably and the road traffic is already busy enough without putting up more blockades around the city to compound this even more.
I am not in favor of this happening and having the trains move at this rate of speed they want to I feel is absurd to say the least. Keep the roads opened and have the trains move as they have been, it's been working for all these years now and the only one that wins in this will be Metrolinx.
Steve Henry

Steve Henry about 1 year ago

Here are the main issues I think need to be looked at:

Emergency Response Times:

The first is risk of delays to potentially life-endangering minutes in emergency response times for all 911 calls. Neighbours on my street were awakened by an intruder in their bedroom who was burgling them. In this case, the man wasn't armed. The couple questioned whether what seemed like a slow police response time to a crime in progress was caused by the closed rail crossing at Kent and Dublin. If so, it doesn't bode well for this, and other neighbourhoods facing railway crossing closures. Resuscitation calls, crimes in progress, major injury, fire and other emergencies could be compromised.

Public Safety

Not providing a pedestrian crossing presents more than an inconvenience to the neighbourhoods, there is a threat to public safety. Youth and young adults - student age - are already climbing the ineffective barriers at Kent and Dublin in order to take shortcuts. This crossing is near downtown and the pub route for many students and other bar patrons. Adding alcohol and high spirits to the mix is a recipe for disaster.

Accessibility

Many, many people use the footpath between Kent and Waterloo to get to the Farmer's Market. The rail crossing closure has halted this, posing an inconvenience for seniors, persons using an assistive device, persons with disabilities, and parents with young children.

Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion was a already a problem 20 years ago as the city grew and it's gotten significantly worse. The inner residential streets in the city's older, core neighbourhood are already clogged throughout most of the day and particularly at end of school and work hours. Traffic to the Basilica parking lot has been rerouted.

Connectivity/Walkability

When I covered city council for both Guelph newspapers, "walkable neighbourhoods" was a catch phrase used by both the city in it's discussions on urban design, infilling, managing growth etc. The phrase was also used by developers to pitch retail, commercial and large residential projects. It's not clear if this is still a civic goal, but it should be.

Lack of consultation

I was surprised and annoyed at the lack of community consultation on the crossing closures, especially after seeing the impact of the first closure at Kent and Dublin. When this closing was announced, I emailed Metrolix as invited with a simple, specific question: Was this a done deal, or would the city and community be consulted and the matter reconsidered. I received a lot of bumph and my question, asked at least three times, was never answered definitively. It was almost like old times on the beat, except I wasn't looking for a nostalgia trip. I wanted a clear answer and never got one. Hopefully this consultation will allow people affected by these closures to be heard.

Thank you.

Virginia McDonald

Virginia McDonald about 1 year ago

I don’t see the issue of speed being a factor in closing Rail intersections. Intersections are a fact all over the world where trains travel at much greater speed. The intersections at Glasgow, Yorkshire and Alma need to be protected with longer gates that cover both sides of the road on each side of the tracks in order to prevent cars going around Rail gates that are down, a frequent cause of collisions around the world. The Edinburgh crossing is where most of the road traffic exists and it may require a more novel solution of an underpass or overpass. There is NO WAY that modern urban practices should allow the breaking apart of neighbourhoods and bottling up traffic flows that would spill over and impact other parts of the community. Glasgow,Yorkshire,Edinburgh and Alma crossings must remain as through streets and not be closed. Yorkshire, Glasgow and Alma will adapt to the new speeds and Edinburgh will require grade separation to keep the constant traffic flowing.

Keelejohn about 1 year ago

Would love to see a pedestrian bridge or underpass at Cityview Dr. Residents to the south have almost no access to trails, municipal parks or schools. Creating a connection will allow for active transportation and safe crossing between these two communities. Currently there is no way a student can walk to school if they reside on Cityview Dr S, Beaumont, Sloan or Elizabeth so a crossing would create walkable connection for those in school. Although blocked off, the crossing is still used daily by those living on both sides of the tracks - it is unsafe and truly needs to be addressed. A pedestrian bridge would create a spectacular lookout and be a destination for residents and active transportation enthusiasts. Also consider providing a sidewalk on Cityview so that residents have safe access along the corridor all the way to York Road. If this corridor is created please consider adding a pedestrian actuated signal at York Road to allow safe crossing of the road.There are ~30 pedestrian crossings daily to access bus stops on either side of York Rd / Cityview Dr S and no safe way to cross. Altogether these items would create a showcase AT corridor connecting communities that could run all the way to the former reformatory lands in the east end.

The community is growing quickly and residents here are a bit frustrated that most active transportation consideration is in the downtown core.. while those at the periphery of the City get ignored. Please, please make this happen!

BryanM about 1 year ago
Page last updated: 04 Jul 2022, 09:20 AM