An article in InsideToronto seems to have sparked concern about the future of the GO station in Weston. Despite rumours to the contrary, it appears that the GO station will be built. It will not be a ‘mobility hub’, however.
The InsideToronto article implied that GO might not be committed to building the new Weston GO station because the agency estimates low ridership. One quote in particular was troubling, though (or perhaps because) it was expressed in bureaucratese: ” ‘Metrolinx will review its current ridership estimates to determine if further analysis and refinements are required to support delivery of the project,’ said Metrolinx spokesperson Ian McConachie.”
Mike Sullivan, longtime Clean Train Coalition Chair and now the federal NDP candidate in YSW said in a recent email,
Metrolinx has now hinted that the future of the station will depend on increased ridership. Metrolinx points out that only 5% of the Georgetown passengers currently use GO to and from Weston
Laura Albanese questioned Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne in the House about the possibility that Weston might lose its station. Wynne denied that the station is threatened:
Laura Albanese: It has come to my attention… that word is spreading in the community questioning GO’s commitment to this station. Can the minister please assure my constituents that the planned new Weston GO station will go ahead?
Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I want to thank the member for the question about the Weston GO station, for which she advocated, and I want to assure her and her constituents that we are proceeding with the construction of the new Weston GO station. That is on track. It’s because, as I say, of her advocacy that the consultation took place in the community…
That construction of the GO station is going to be phased. The first phase will be to shift the existing station platform from the north of Lawrence Avenue to just south of Lawrence Avenue. Then, as we proceed with the station building and additional parking, Metrolinx will be speaking with local stakeholders and updating them regularly.
Kathleen Wynne minced words under further questioning, though. She said, “Metrolinx will also be adopting the mobility hub guidelines to inform the station development.” Mobility hubs are a kind of ‘super station’ and, according to Metrolinx, “the hubs will be centres of activity, attracting opportunities for live, work, and play, all connected to the greater region through reliable, rapid transit.”
A mobility hub would be a great benefit to Weston, drawing commuters and business to the area. Jane and Eglinton was a candidate for one, though that plan is likely dead now that the Eglinton LRT line will not be coming to our neighbourhood. Sites are selected, in part, because they are at the intersection of two or more one major transit lines.
Wynne did not mean that Metrolinx will actually build a mobility hub, only that the guidelines would ‘inform development’; Ian McConachie, a Media Relations Specialist for Metrolinx, said in an email
“The Weston GO Station and Air Rail Link (ARL) stop in Weston would not fit into the category of a mobility hub for several reasons. Most importantly, the ARL station in Weston will not be a connection between two or more rapid transit commuter systems, which is required to be characterized as a mobility hub.”
Mike Sullivan said,
“I asked Leslie Woo why a place with NO people (Jane/Eglinton) is a hub and a place with lots of people and jobs (Weston), and 11 bus routes, and 2 GO routes, and 1 ARL route would not be a hub. She said that the defining criteria was now ‘two or more higher order’ ‘intersecting’ at Jane Eglinton (Jane LRT and Eglinton LRT)…. I She was nice about it, but refused to change her mind that Weston doesn’t qualify and Jane/Eglinton does.”