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Ask a Question - Network-Wide Structures Project (Wellington and McNaughton)

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Barry Bridgeford's avatar
Feb 26, 2020 - 03:52

Please refer to original Metrolinx document at ...
https://www.metrolinxengage.com/sites/default/files/aurora_consultation_...

Page 8 of 11 - The inspection elements of this PDF file indicate that it was last modified on January 3rd of 2018. The PDF file's name is “Metrolinx-Aurora_consultation_board_v3”, indicating its the result of a consultation. This page indicates that at the time of the file's creation, the Environmental Assessment (EA) was scheduled for late 2019. Conversations with Metrolinx staff at the Feb 25, 2020 open house indicated that the Environmental assessment will now be commencing in the coming months.

Page 9 of 11 - The pending Environmental Assessment's second component “Socio-Economic Environment” includes Traffic and Transportation. The comment “Residents and businesses along the study area will be contacted upon commencement.” indicates that Metrolinx may be used to consulting only with parties in close proximity to the project. If this is so, Metrolinx may not be recognizing the impact of their project on the entire town-wide area.

Page 10 of 11 – This is the original Metrolinx consultant's concept of the appropriate underpass profile. It clearly indicates it should be “wide enough to accommodate four lanes of traffic, two in each direction”. While it states “subject to change based on public and municipal input during the EA process”, it is important to recognize that that input has not yet occurred! While the illustration shows only one lane in each direction, it clearly adds “Provision for Future 4-lane Expansion”. So even in the early stages of the consultation process, it was deemed appropriate to include sufficient width for four lanes. It appears that Metrolinx has now adopted a position of only wanting to replace what is currently there.

Page 11 of 11 – Either Metrolinx's use of the term “Community Advisory Committee” is a coincidental duplicate use of the name of the already existing Town of Aurora Community Advisory Committee, or they hope to have that already existing town's Community Advisory Committee take on that function. As a serving member of the town's Community Advisory Committee, I haven't received any formal notice of the committee being assigned that function.

Why isn't Metrolinx sticking to their originally consulted 4-lane concept?

Barry Bridgeford's avatar
Feb 25, 2020 - 15:03

I attended the open house of February 24th, 2020 in Aurora. Only one of many illustrated panels referred to the Wellington Street (Aurora) grade separation. And unfortunately, the video-slide presentation did not include an architect's rendering of the Wellington Street grade separation.

I engaged a number of the Metrolinx staff in separate conversations concerning limitations on the vehicular carrying capacity of the roadway's cross-section as presented. The Metrolinx policy was explained as replicating existing conditions in their initial concept plans. Since the stretch of Wellington in the vicinity of the planned grade separation is presently one lane in each direction with a central turn-lane, this is what Metrolinx considers appropriate to incorporate into the grade separation.

I asked them to consider a macro view of Aurora, its bisection by the rail line and its dependence on viable east-west traffic flow. I explained that Aurora's older section is located west of the tracks. Its newer section is located east of the tracks. The Wellington Street rail-crossing area is presently already a bottle-neck. Many local roads converge from the north and south to funnel across the tracks at this crossing, in close proximity to the additional vehicular congestion resulting from the parking-related activity associated with the Metrolinx train station.

Numerous trans-Aurora east-west drivers already use St John's Sideroad and Elgelhard Drive to the north and south, to avoid the bottle-neck on Wellington Street. However, once the Metrolinx weekday two-directional 15 minute frequency trains occur, these east-west roads will experience pronounced slowdowns. This will pressure many drivers to use the grade separation at Wellington, thereby increasing its volumes well beyond current levels.

Since Metrolinx already negatively impacts the traffic volumes of Wellington by its train station and associated parking traffic, and since Metrolinx will be negatively impacting the carrying capacity of Aurora's at-grade crossings and thereby increasing traffic volumes on Wellington Street East even further, it only stands to reason that the capacity of the Wellington grade separation has to be increased by additional full-time lanes .. providing at least two lanes in each direction!

To simply recreate the present bottle-neck and to expect it to handle the increased volumes of coming decades, along with the redirected traffic from our impacted at-grade crossings, will surely choke Aurora down its center! Can Metrolinx please commit to providing sufficient vehicular traffic capacity in its Wellington Street (Aurora) grade separation?

Anonymous's avatar

I agree with Barry Bridgeford questions/ comments and add the following:

Why are you hiding the fact that Metrolinx is going to close the town's Centre Street roadway which in north of Wellington Street?
Is Metrolinx going to build a new bridge on Centre Street?
If not, what compensation will you offer the Town of Aurora/ residents?
How is Metrolinx going to connect to their future parking lot on Scanlon Court?
What about the timing on a future bridge at St. John's Sideroad and other crossings in Aurora?
Where are the traffic impact studies and the impacts related to all these level crossings when 15 minutes service becomes a reality?
Why weren't cycling and pedestrian facilities incorporated within both west and east sides of Yonge Street where GO crosses just south of Henderson Drive?
How are the Town's new southern Yonge Street communities going to connect, via car only? Isn't this a conflict with Metrolinx's mandate?
Why isn't it the long term goal to build the Yonge North Subway Extension all the way to Newmarket? When you start digging the hole at Steeles keep going and build the future stations later? Where is the vision? Our economy is based on growth and we need to start thinking for our future generations when we are all gone.

The rail corridor has cut the Town of Aurora in half and as a minimum we need the trail crossings as note in the Town's trail master plan.
See the link at https://trainsinthevalley.org/northampton-underpass/ for an example of what should be built in Aurora by Metrolinx now!!
Why does Metrolinx state on other parts of their web site that "Priority: Ensure safety and pedestrian/ cycling connections across the corridor" and then propose no cycling facilities on the new Wellington bridge structure?

I have heard that the new Rutherford Road Bridge/ GO Station will incorporate 4 m wide pedestrian and cycling facilities on both sides of the new bridge structure in addition to an exclusive pedestrian/ cycling bridge across the roadway with LED street lighting that links beautifully into the new station, so what gives for the bridges on Wellington and McNaughton? Where are the street scaping elements and pedestrian/ cycling links that need to be incorporated within both bridge structures? Both bridges are in/ next to heritage districts and should incorporate heritage elements and LED street lighting!!

Metrolinx needs to think about the last mile and we cannot continue to build parking lots. If Metrolinx needs money, than why don't you build some beautiful condos to hid these proposed ugly parking lots which at the same time could help you offset some of these capital costs??
And finally, build the four lane roadway as originally proposed and if you still require money, please visit the federal government who is now collecting the carbon tax to help you pay for these important long term investments.

On another note, Metolinx should consider moving their head office to Aurora as part of the solution to our traffic problems in the GTA. Decentralized government agencies and other companies from downtown Toronto will help employment and other city building initiatives in the Region as part of our overall traffic solution to live and work within our communities. Senior executives and local/ provincial/ federal politicians are you listening? If you give people a choice, they would work closer to home!!

Anonymous's avatar

Why is Aurora being treated so poorly by Metrolinx? Did you treat Toronto infrastructure improvements the same way? We are so disappointed that our community is being treated with an environmental assessment that seems to be rushed just to get something done without looking at the entire community and its impacts. We welcome the right expansion that is balanced, provides for future growth, respects heritage and a design that includes pedestrians, cyclists, car owners, local public transit and streetscaping/ landscaping elements. Where is the local transit hub loop/ terminal that buses would use to pick up and drop off commuters? Are you going to have bike boxes for cyclists? Can you also built some trail crossing over/ under the tracks as noted by other residents below? Will we be able to get an additional discount if we cycle or take the bus to the GO station? We expect better design in Aurora, please do not disappoint residents as we may be small but we know how to fight!!

Anonymous's avatar

I know this study is specifically about grade separations, but please please please consider putting in official pedestrian crossings, be they grade level or separated, in places where people already can't help trespassing.

For instance on the Barrie line, at Bridgeland Avenue and Floral Parkway. I hope you'll agree that it's crazy that someone could live a few metres from their job across the tracks, but have to walk over 3 km to get there legally.

Anonymous's avatar
Feb 26, 2020 - 07:35

Will there be provisions to improve cycling to the Aurora Go Station with these changes and the grade separated. Currently from the east - there really is no legitimate way for cyclists to access the station? Most cyclists that I see ride on the sidewalk!