GO Transit picks Breslau

A Greenhouse Road, Breslau location has been tapped as the site for a park-and-ride train station under a plan to extend GO Transit services to Kitchener by 2011.

The project would see the construction of a small station and parking for 700 cars (with room for an additional 350) on land running along the existing CN/Goderich-Exeter Railway tracks running south of Hwy. 7. That line would connect Kitchener and Guelph to the current GO service in Georgetown, then on to Toronto.

Access to the site, currently owned by Thomasfield Homes, would come through an extension of Greenhouse Road, explained Len Rach of the planning firm Burnside and Associates, who’s acting as project manager for the required environmental assessment.

While the route will use the existing VIA train station in downtown Kitchener, the Breslau site provides plenty of space for cars, he told Woolwich councillors Monday night.

“Parking is at a premium at the Kitchener station. Greenhouse Road will be an attractive facility for those who want to park and ride.”

An expanded GO system is needed to meet the growing demand for public transit, Rach said.

Initially, there will be four trains in the morning peak period, and four again during the evening commute home. The transit authority predicts that will take almost 1,200 cars off the road – the equivalent of almost one lane of highway traffic.

By full implementation of the plan in 2031, the number of trains would be increased to provide 20-minute peak service and hourly during off-peak hours.

In response to a question from Coun. Mark Bauman, Rach said the train would take commuters from Kitchener to Toronto’s Union Station in two hours.

Appropriate zoning is already in place to allow for the station in Breslau, director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley said in an interview. Greenhouse Road will have to be lengthened, and some other improvements are likely to be required, as well.

The township is much happier with this proposed site than with earlier plans to locate a station on the former Challenger Hotel site in Breslau’s core. Local planners wanted to avoid having hundreds of cars on Woolwich Street, favouring access from Fountain Street, but that option proved unworkable given grading of the site.

The final draft of the environmental assessment is expected to be filed later this month, to be followed by a 45-day public feedback period.

If ultimately approved and funded, the project would see GO stations in Kitchener, Breslau, Guelph and Acton. A layover yard would also be built on Nafziger Road, near Baden in Wilmot Township.

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