Rail Crossing Study

About the project

Metrolinx is bringing two-way all-day rail service on the Kitchener GO rail line as part of its 2041 Regional Transportation Plan. These improvements are in line with the City’s Strategic Plan: Guelph. Future ready, which supports local transportation improvements, integration with regional transit and transportation connectivity.

Increasing the frequency and speed of GO trains may require changes at several road-level rail crossings in Guelph to meet safety regulations and current design standards in accordance with Transport Canada’s Railway Safety Act. It’s also important to consider traffic flow and connectivity for all road users.

In anticipation of this, we studied five rail crossings:

  • Alma Street between Crimea and Inkerman streets
  • Edinburgh Road between Foster Avenue and Preston/Inkerman streets
  • Yorkshire Street between Foster Avenue and Preston Street
  • Glasgow Street at Kent Street
  • Watson Road just north of York Road
Rail Cross Study Map A

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Rail Crossing Study Map B

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The study also looked at and evaluated options for an active transportation (e.g. foot bridge) connection across the rail line at Cityview Drive, Dublin Street and Margaret Greene Park.

To find the best solution for each crossing we looked at the unique context of each one and our city’s overall transportation network. The options we explored for each crossing included:

  • doing nothing (leave the crossing as is)
  • grade separation between a street or path and the railway tracks (an underpass or overpass)
  • active transportation crossings for people walking and biking, either at grade or with a grade separation
  • closing the crossing

Ultimately, this study aims to:

  • provide recommendations for safe connections for people who walk, bike, use mobility devices and drive across the railway tracks;
  • assess the impacts of potential changes to the level rail crossings to the transportation network; and
  • recommend suitable solutions for more detailed study to mitigate any negative impacts.

This is a City of Guelph led project, with results being shared with Metrolinx when the study is complete.

What is the rail crossing study concluding?

The rail crossing study underway is the earliest stage of determining if and where grade separation between road and rail should be considered. Only Edinburgh Road was identified for further study.

Edinburgh Road crossing meets some warrants of the Transport Canada Grade Separation Assessment Guidelines. The warrants indicate there are safety and traffic considerations that support grade separation, but does not commit the City to building one. A technical memo posted on the engagement platform shows potential property impacts for a conceptual underpass design.

The rail crossing study recommends the City conduct an EA to evaluate potential alternatives for addressing the safety and traffic considerations. The rail crossing study findings are planned to be presented as an information report to Council in 2023.

Community engagement

We understand the importance of these rail crossings as a transportation link for people in Guelph.

Staff held two virtual open houses (November 2021 and June 2022) to share information and receive feedback from the community. The current open house comment period ends June 29.

In both instances, staff engaged with residents and community members through direct mail to homes within 300 m of the corridor and crossings, road signs, and media.

Recently, staff have heard through the comments that there are still questions and concerns and we want to help address them. To support the community, staff will host an information session for community members who have concerns, questions or feedback. Details will be posted online when they are available.

What is the process moving forward?

The next step is to commence an EA in 2023. Through a Schedule C Municipal Class EA, we will continue refining and exploring options in close consultation with the community. Options include do nothing, and various design alternatives for grade separating. A recommendation will be brought forth to City Council in 2024 or 2025 for decision.

It is possible the do nothing option is selected with no property impacts.

Learn about upcoming engagement opportunities,
provide feedback and sign up for project mailing list.

Proposed project schedule

  • Start study – October 2021
  • Transportation assessment of rail crossings – Fall 2021 to Winter 2022
  • Virtual open house – June 2022
  • Presentation of recommendations to Council – To be determined (due to municipal elections, there are no scheduled Council meeting dates from July to September 2022)

Documents and resources

Samples of active transportation crossings

Rail level crossings

Grade crossing example 1

A rail level crossing for active transportation users in California, USA. The crossing uses gates, fences, signals, signs and pavement markings to facilitate a safe crossing across the railway tracks. Source: ‘At-Grade Passenger Rail Pedestrian & Trail Crossings, Empire Corridor South’ prepared by McLaren Engineering Group.

Grade crossing example 2

A rail level crossing for active transportation users. The crossing uses gates, fences, signals and signs to facilitate a safe crossing across the railway tracks. This crossing also includes an emergency gate. Source: ‘Engineering Design for Pedestrian Safety at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings’ prepared by U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration.

Underpass crossings

Underpass crossing example 1

This example shows an underpass crossing with a paved path that has a yellow line showing the direction of travel. Source: ‘Dougall Pedestrian Underpass and Multi-use Trail‘ prepared by Amico.

Underpass crossing example 2

The view from inside a concrete underpass, including overhead lights and several cyclists biking in the underpass. Source: ‘Dougall Pedestrian Underpass and Multi-use Trail‘ prepared by Amico.

For more information

Altaf Hussain, Project Manager
Parsons Inc.
647-649-5023
[email protected]

Daniel Di Pietro, Project Manager
Engineering and Transportation Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3607
[email protected]