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.

It's hard to imagine the impact of closing many of these rail crossings on our community and the city as a whole. What makes Guelph special are its neighbourhoods, and the Junction is no exception. Alma Street is a busy throughway for many and I cross the tracks there (as well as many of the other crossings by driving, walking, or biking on a daily basis for school and work. I understand what Metrolinx wants to do, but if they are working cities and communities, they need to invest in real solutions; severing neighbourhoods and north/south throughways is not good enough, and they need to hear that from a strong city council who value the quality of life of their residents. If there is no way to leave crossings as is for safety reasons, building an underpass/overpass on many of these crossings is what needs to happen.

Meredith Grant 10 months ago

Living on Oxford for 25 years I have used all of these crossings many times by car, bike, and on foot. The closure of the Dublin Street seems to me to have been avoidable with some capital spend. Good barriers are needed - not bits of 2x12 with lights on them. Thirty years ago we stayed in a linear village along the Rhine that had very high speed trains go through it. The tracks were fenced - like they are now in Guelph - but the barriers that went down at the roadways looked like a tank wouldn't go through them. All of the roads across the tracks in the village closed up before the train got into the village (2 or 3 km long) and it went through at great speed. This could be done along the downtown crossings. I don't expect that there will be that many trains that it will be a big issue and keeping the crossings open (and re-opening Dublin) would be well worth it. I support the trains - and would like nothing better than high speed rail to TO and Montreal - and think that they can co-exist with people using their neighbourhoods as they do now. It doesn't have to be either or. The Spadina Expressway was killed for reasons exactly like this. The Gardiner in Toronto has been lambasted for cutting part of the city off from the rest. Why would we re-visit the same discredited urban planning ideas?

Jonathan Crawshaw 10 months ago

As a resident in the area of Alma, Edinburgh, Yorkshire and Glasgow, I agree with others that closing those crossings to all traffic would be disastrous. Obviously, Edinburgh needs to remain open to cars, as it is one of the few crossings of the Speed River. The case for cars on the others is not so compelling. But all four of them should certainly remain open to pedestrians and cyclists. Otherwise, most people will, as a practical matter need a car to cross the track, since few will choose to walk all the way to Gordon. Of course, Dublin should be re-opened, at least to pedestrian traffic. Closing it to all crossing was an error. Also, the pedestrian crossings need to be level crossings, rather than bridges or tunnels. Few pedestrians will choose to climb up a bridge (and unless carefully designed bridges—stairs—are impossible for the mobility impaired, parents with strollers or cyclists) or descend into a dingy tunnel. Finally, the Edinburgh crossing needs to be replaced by a tunnel if, as planned, train traffic increases significantly.

Finally, with a bit of foresight all these issues, and more, can be avoided. The long-term plan seems to be for much more frequent train service, including someday high-speed trains. This is excellent. But pushing this through a substantial residential space—downtown Guelph—is not viable. Instead, the track should be moved from downtown to somewhere more suitable. The industrial space north of Woodlawn or the still largely rural space just south of town comes to mind. Or, the track should be buried as it runs through downtown.

Robert Ford 10 months ago

You can't continue to divide neighbourhoods in Guelph and expect residents to take up more active forms of transportation. I used to be able to walk from my home to Royal City Park and it would take less than 10 minutes - now that Dublin street is closed it is almost double the time and forces pedestrians and cyclists onto very busy roads. Two way all day transportation is very much needed in Guelph, but not at the expense of walkable neighbourhoods. Don't divide the City any further than you already have.

I also find it odd that the City is assessing these crossings in fall/winter - when it is obvious that more pedestrians and cyclists travel these routes in the summer/spring months - the counts will be skewed in favour of closing the crossings.

scottmcnair 10 months ago

I am 100% for faster, more accessible public transportation. Ontario's public trans system is abysmal. Part of the problem is that yes, not fast but also comparatively more expensive. There are numerous larger cities than ours, throughout North America and the rest of the world, who have trains that travel faster than ours through denser urban neighbourhoods. I don't even understand why closing crossings is on the table. You create public safety through education and campaigns, and reinforce it with equipment that is designed for the conditions that exist. When folks start hopping the fences and walking the tracks because they are trying to save time and get where they need to faster, then you have safety issues. Same goes for cars that start to speed because there is more traffic and fewer thruways. I agree with D. Davidson - the only entity benefited here is Metrolinx.

TMoore 10 months ago

Closing the Yorkshire and/or Glasgow Crossings would be an awful outcome for the neighbourhood, forcing local neighbourhood traffic onto already busy Norfolk/Gordon and Edinburgh collectors. It would also make the cycling/pedestrian routes far less safe and way too long, especially for children and young adults who walk/bike to the several schools in the area. The Dublin St closure, although less than ideal, is feasible because of the proximity to Glasgow. Cutting off all access from Norfolk/Gordon to Edinburgh would add add up to a km of distance to navigate around the closure.

DanC 10 months ago

Closing any crossings at Glasgow, Yorkshire, Edinburgh or Alma would divide neighbourhoods, discourage active transportation downtown and inconvenience hundreds of children walking to downtown schools.

kathrynfolkl 10 months ago

We should find a way to put railway overpasses or road underpasses, or ensure that trains go through really quickly, because this will be hugely disruptive of traffic on major routes especially at Edinburgh.

JohnPrescott 10 months ago

Closing any of the crossings in the old city will divide neighbourhoods. The reason most of us chose to live in the old city is connectivity with others - being close to the downtown and schools and yet live is a quiet close-knit neighbourhood. Also, by closing any of them you will divert traffic to the open crossings and inflict those areas with additional traffic - not desirable as it creates a lose-lose situation. The only winner would be Metrolinks.

d.davidson 10 months ago

I am in favour of improvements to public transit along the rail link but concerned that more road closures like the one at Dublin will inhibit incentives for active transportation by blocking walking/cycling routes.

Leilan Baxte 10 months ago
Page last updated: 04 Jul 2022, 09:20 AM