Metrolinx’s plans to replace an aging GO Station in the city’s west end continue to chug along three years after the provincial-transit agency publicly announced proposed improvements to allow for more frequent rail service and higher ridership levels along the Lakeshore West line.
Recently, EllisDon, on behalf of Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx, submitted a site-plan approval application to the city to redevelop the Long Branch GO Station at 20 Brow Drive, in Etobicoke. The weathered, diminutive station is among the oldest in the regional transit service’s portfolio; it dates back to 1967, the same year the very first GO train hit the rails.
East of the Etobicoke Creek, the train depot -- which in addition to regional GO train service connects to multiple local TTC and MiWay (Mississauga) transit routes -- is just north of Lake Shore Boulevard West, a corridor that has seen scores of residential developments proposed in recent years.
The rebuilt station encompasses two buildings, expanded platforms, and new pedestrian tunnels. Metrolinx intends to rebuild and reconfigure the site’s parking lot and create a new passenger pick-up and drop-off area.
Plans for the station include a number of features that are a far cry from the standards that existed when the Long Branch stop opened more than half a century ago. The proposal promises UV-protectant canopies over the platforms, which would have snow-melting capabilities and “cane-detectable tactile warning tiles” at their rail-facing edges.
Metrolinx’s aim with the project is “to improve upon the existing station site’s accessibility, wayfinding, sustainability, multi-modal connections, connectivity to the surrounding urban fabric, [and] passenger safety,” according to a cover letter submitted with the application.
The project is just part of the broader Lakeshore West GO Expansion, which Metrolinx suggests will help enable frequent 15-minute daytime regional rail service between Toronto and Burlington. The expansion also includes establishing a brand new station in Hamilton called Confederation GO Station, upgrading Toronto’s Exhibition Station, and constructing a new Mimico station building to the east of Long Branch.
The city planner assigned to the Long Branch file anticipates reviewing the site-plan application to take anywhere from three to six months. The city recently determined Metrolinx also requires a zoning bylaw amendment to undertaking the project, senior city planner Thomas Rees tells STOREYS. “The existing zoning… does not permit transit stations on the subject site, even though it's already occupied by a transit station (the existing station is therefore a legal non-conforming use),” Rees writes in an email.
More information about zoning and the related public consultation process is going to be released within the coming weeks.