The Town and the Province's transit planning agency, Metrolinx, are now, at long last, working on the Mobility Hub study for the GO Rail Station at the Tannery.
Metrolinx say they are aiming for public consultation in the Spring with completion by the end of Summer. If they deliver on this they deserve a thunderous round of applause. We've been waiting for signs of action for light years.
But let's not be too critical. This is a major undertaking involving lots of moving parts.
The Yonge/Davis corridors are earmarked for very significant growth in coming years with the promised arrival of 33,00 new residents and 32,000 new jobs. How are we going to accommodate all these people and how are they going to get from A to B?
What will the Tannery look like and how will it connect with the GO Bus Terminal at Eagle? Should the train and bus stations be co-located?
Getting to the station by car
Just over a year ago (in December 2015) Metrolinx published updated profiles of the two Mobility Hubs in Newmarket, at Eagle Street and at the Tannery. We learn that 2,470 people start their morning commute from Eagle Street and 5,340 end it there.
10% of the mobility hub area is used for surface parking and there are 274 dedicated parking spaces.
By contrast, 2,940 people start their morning commute from the GO Rail Station at the Tannery and 4,370 people end it there. There are 361 dedicated parking spaces occupying 22% of the mobility hub area.
Many people depend on their car to get to and from the bus and train stations. The Town wants the Tannery to move away from park-and-ride to so-called kiss-and-ride and, of course, to public transit.
The Town's Secondary Plan - agreed only two and a half years ago - says at Section 9.3.3 that the GO Rail Station at the Tannery
"will be planned as an urban station that is primarily accessed by pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders, with limited park-and-ride capacity. Park-and-ride service should be focused at the East Gwillimbury GO Rail station and the future Mulock Drive GO Rail station".
The Town may face an uphill struggle persuading people to change their travel habits - at least in the short term.
The Town's Secondary Plan goes on to say the mobility hub study should address as a minimum
* the potential for grade separation of the rail line at Davis Drive;
* the potential re-location of the Newmarket GO Rail Station access to Main Street to improve access and reduce traffic impacts on Davis Drive and
* integration between the GO Rail Station, the Rapidway, the future GO bus services and the GO bus terminal
I don't know what the Mayor thinks about any of this. Except we shouldn't rush things.
He snoozed through a Metrolinx presentation to York Regional Council on 2 March 2017, completely oblivious to the fact that questions were being asked about grade separations and the future of level crossings.
At an earlier presentation to Newmarket Council on 9 November 2015, Van Trappist told Metrolinx’s Chief Planning Officer, Leslie Woo:
“In my own mind the difference between a 15 minute and 30 minute service doesn’t change the world immensely although I think eventually we’ll need to get there. But I’d rather see us easing into that, responding to the demand as we go forward.”
Just imagine if we all said that in the forthcoming public consultation!
It would make Metrolinx sit up and take notice.