GO Train at Gormley Station
Previously on this blog, I wrote about how new public institutions like hospitals and university campuses are built in isolated, auto-dependent areas without regard to provincial land use policies. In St. Catharines, a new modern hospital on the city’s western outskirts replaced two urban sites, despite available opportunities that would be more accessible to at-need populations. In Orillia, Lakehead University built its campus on the edge of that small city, far from other institutions or its charming downtown core. Similar decisions are being made for new hospitals and university campuses in Niagara Falls, Windsor, and Milton.
But Metrolinx and GO Transit, its regional transit subsidiary, often fail too to meet the provincial goals of intensification of urban centres and major transit nodes, containing urban sprawl, and promoting sustainable transportation. In Downtown Brampton, an anchor mobility hub, Metrolinx plans to build a new surface parking lot — demolishing several houses and two office buildings in the process — to satisfy commuters’ demands for free parking.
This failure is especially evident on the newly extended Richmond Hill Line, where one new station — Gormley — opened late last year, and another — Bloomington — is now under construction. Both stations do not support any evident land use policy (both are located on the environmentally sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine); they continue GO Transit’s heritage of building stations that serve car owners, but remain largely inaccessible to pedestrians, cyclists, or local transit users.
I recently took the train north to Gormley to inform my critique of GO Transit’s new stations. I came away even more disappointed than I had expected.