GO and VIA Trains meet at Brampton Station
September 20, 2016 update: Metrolinx has begun the process of demolishing its newly-acquired Downtown Brampton properties. It has applied for a demolition permit for 28A and 28B Nelson Street West, two semi-detached dwellings that were built in 2001. In the City of Brampton, demolition permits for residential properties must be approved by the Planning & Infrastructure Services Committee. The permit will likely be approved at the September 26, 2016 meeting of that committee.
On April 5, 2016, Peter Criscione at the Brampton Guardian reported on a matter that arose during the regular meeting of the City of Brampton Planning & Infrastructure Services Committee on April 4. Metrolinx, the regional transit authority that operates GO Transit and UP Express, confirmed the purchase of 1.78 acres in Downtown Brampton, land that will be used for surface parking.
Brampton Station, served by GO Transit and VIA trains, is located in Downtown Brampton, and is adjacent to Brampton Transit’s downtown transit terminal. With local shopping, restaurants, residential areas and employment, it is one of the most walkable stations in GO Transit’s system; it has a Walk Score of 90. (Bramalea GO Station, in comparison, has a Walk Score of 22.) The options of getting to Brampton Station without a car are quite good, at least as far as most GO stations go.
But Brampton Station’s two lots are full, and there are planned service improvements to Brampton, including eventual hourly evening and weekend rail service. Not everyone can be expected to take transit, walk, or get a ride to the station. But I find this land assembly troubling.
According to Criscione, and noted in the minutes of the April 4 meeting [page 25-26], the properties purchased by Metrolinx include:
- 20 Nelson Street West
- 37 George Street North
- 41 George Street North
- 26 Nelson Street West
- 3 Railroad Street (includes 3 separate parcels)
- 28A Nelson Street West
- 28B Nelson Street West
- 30 Nelson Street West
- 42 Elizabeth Street North
The planning committee asked staff to contact Metrolinx and report on the status of its recent and pending purchases of downtown lands. It also invited Metrolinx to work with city staff and officials, as well as present their plans at a future meeting.
The purchase of downtown lands for a parking lot is troubling, in my opinion. Downtown Brampton is a designated “anchor hub” — a major mobility hub where two or more rapid transit lines meet where transit-oriented development and intensification is encouraged. At no point do I see new surface parking lots are part of this vision, especially if buildings must be vacated and demolished to do so. And Downtown Brampton, not yet experiencing a building boom, has plenty of parking lots and garages that could be employed instead.
The embedded Google Map below shows where these properties are located, immediately south of Brampton Station, and west of the Brampton Transit downtown terminal.
On Friday, April 8, I visited Downtown Brampton to have a look at the properties in question.