Rail crossing study

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

We’re starting a transportation study to look at and propose changes for five road-level rail crossings in Guelph. This work supports planned Metrolinx service expansion along the Kitchener GO rail line through Guelph including all-day two-way GO service. This is a City of Guelph led project, with results being 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 an active transportation (e.g. foot bridge) connection across the rail line at Cityview Drive.

These rail crossings may need changes to meet safety regulations and current design standards. It’s also important to consider traffic flow and connectivity for all road users. The options we’re exploring for each crossing include:

  • doing nothing (leave the crossing as is)
  • grade separation between a street or path and the railway tracks (an underpass or overpass)
  • active transportation crossings for people walking and biking, either at grade or with a grade separation
  • closing the crossing

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.

Have your say

Any proposed changes to these crossings would affect many road users whether driving, walking, biking or using mobility devices. We need to hear from you about how you travel across these crossings and any challenges you face. Take a moment to complete our survey or submit comments or questions below by November 30.

We’ll use your input about how you use these crossings and your neighbourhood needs, along with technical traffic analyses and feasibility assessments, to make recommendations for each railway crossing. The City and Metrolinx are aiming to balance the needs and safety of all users, including train operators.

Once we identify the recommended option for each rail crossing, we’ll host a virtual open house to share findings and get further community feedback on the recommended options. Stay tuned for details in early 2022.

We’re starting a transportation study to look at and propose changes for five road-level rail crossings in Guelph. This work supports planned Metrolinx service expansion along the Kitchener GO rail line through Guelph including all-day two-way GO service. This is a City of Guelph led project, with results being 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 an active transportation (e.g. foot bridge) connection across the rail line at Cityview Drive.

These rail crossings may need changes to meet safety regulations and current design standards. It’s also important to consider traffic flow and connectivity for all road users. The options we’re exploring for each crossing include:

  • doing nothing (leave the crossing as is)
  • grade separation between a street or path and the railway tracks (an underpass or overpass)
  • active transportation crossings for people walking and biking, either at grade or with a grade separation
  • closing the crossing

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.

Have your say

Any proposed changes to these crossings would affect many road users whether driving, walking, biking or using mobility devices. We need to hear from you about how you travel across these crossings and any challenges you face. Take a moment to complete our survey or submit comments or questions below by November 30.

We’ll use your input about how you use these crossings and your neighbourhood needs, along with technical traffic analyses and feasibility assessments, to make recommendations for each railway crossing. The City and Metrolinx are aiming to balance the needs and safety of all users, including train operators.

Once we identify the recommended option for each rail crossing, we’ll host a virtual open house to share findings and get further community feedback on the recommended options. Stay tuned for details in early 2022.

Comments

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

You need to be signed in to comment in this Guest Book. Click here to Sign In or Register to get involved

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 5 days 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 5 days ago

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

RWM 6 days 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 6 days 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 6 days 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 7 days 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 7 days 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 7 days 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 7 days 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 16 days 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 20 days 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 26 days 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 29 days 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 29 days 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 month ago

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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month 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 about 1 month ago
Page last updated: 22 November 2021, 13:55