To allow for expanded GO train service, rail track widening is needed between Guildwood and Pickering. There are only two rail tracks between Galloway Road and Frenchman’s Bay in Pickering (“Durham Junction”) and this bottleneck currently creates an operational challenge for the entire line, meaning service isn’t as reliable or flexible as it could be.
Metrolinx is proposing to add a third track in this section of the corridor, and is conducting an Environmental Assessment for the project.
The project will involve the addition of a third rail line between Guildwood and Pickering which will impact the Rouge Hill GO train station and will impact the Rouge Valley and Waterfront Trail.
Specifically, the major impacts to our community will be as follows:
- Loss of 171 parking spaces at the Rouge Hill GO train station
- Loss of at-grade rail crossing at Chesterton Shores (to be replaced by pedestrian tunnel under rail tracks)
- Installation of a series of retaining walls along the Waterfront Trail between Rouge Hill GO train station and the mouth of the Rouge River
- Installation of a second rail truss bridge over the Rouge River
- Construction of a new train station at Rouge Hill GO
In response to the plan put forward by Metrolinx, the West Rouge Community Association has made the following comments:
Proposed Reduction in Parking Spaces:
Metrolinx plans to remove 171 parking spaces from the Rouge Hill GO station parking lot. Metrolinx’s response has been to acknowledge the concerns and to continue to monitor the situation in the coming years. This response does not address the community’s concerns nor the very real issue that the loss of parking spaces will be problematic.
Request for Additional Access to Waterfront Trail:
The proposed Site Plan for the new Rouge Hill GO Station indicates the closure of public access over the at-grade rail crossing and replaces it with a tunnel connection through the new Station. Although we are supportive of this new tunnel access, WRCA believes that pedestrian safety would be enhanced by the construction of an additional crossing/access point to the Waterfront Trail east of the GO station to allow direct access to the Trail without having to go through the station. We feel this is important as it will allow non-commuters to access the Trail via another method during periods of high commuter traffic (am and pm rush). We would recommend that a tunnel connection resembling the one built at Port Union Village Common Park be constructed where the existing at-grade rail crossing is currently situated.
Proposed Retaining Walls:
WRCA understands the purpose and necessity of the proposed retaining walls, however there is concern with the aesthetics as proposed in the conceptual renderings. Although the “pillowing” effect of the concrete is designed to deter graffiti and provide texture for interest’s sake, we feel that there are other avenues that would achieve better results and ultimately naturalize the somewhat institutional feeling of the walls. The use of native vegetation such as Boston Ivy, Virginia Creeper, Sumac and Switchgrass can provide exceptional natural coverage of sterile walls.
For more information about the project, please visit the Metrolinx website at http://www.metrolinx.com/en/regionalplanning/rer/guildwood-pickering.aspx.