Metrolinx to review decision to approve Kirby and Lawrence East GO stations
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, September 12, 2017 5:31PM EDT
Metrolinx says that it will conduct a “thorough and comprehensive review” of two proposed GO stations that were approved even though an internal report that said neither should be built.
Last month, the Toronto Star reported that Metrolinx’s board of directors initially decided not to approve new GO stations for Kirby and Lawrence East on the advice of staff but pivoted after Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca intervened.
The Star report suggested that Del Duca’s office sent Metrolinx officials draft press releases indicating that he would announce that construction would go ahead on the Lawrence East and Kirby stations, the latter of which would be located in his Vaughan riding near Keele Street and Kirby Road,
Metrolinx’s board then, in turn, decided to approve the stations at a public meeting following conversations with ministry officials, according to the Star report.
Now, the fate of those stations appear to be up in the air again.
In a letter sent to Del Duca on Friday and posted to Metrolinx’s website on Tuesday, Metrolinx chair Rob Prichard promised to complete a fulsome review before entering “into any contractual obligations or agreements.”
The letter suggested that the review would be in addition to the “detailed analysis” already being done to examine 10 other new GO stations that have received preliminary approval.
“With respect to Kirby and Lawrence east in particular, I have asked management to initiate a through and comprehensive review of all the relevant analysis and information for each station and then report back to the board,” Prichard wrote. “This will include requesting changes in land use and new proposed land developments in the areas served by the stations, updated population and job projections, local transit plans that may affect the catchment areas and any other relevant information for the areas served by the these proposed stations.”
Report panned proposed Kirby station
An initial business case analysis for the Kirby station found that its construction, at a cost of $98.4 million, would actually result in 188 fewer people boarding trains on the Barrie line each day due to delays caused by trains having to stop at the station.
The business case found that while there could be 5,100 trips beginning or ending at the station per day by 2031, more than half of them would be made by riders who would otherwise just use the Maple or King City GO stops.
In his letter to Del Duca, Prichard reminded the minister that he has indicated that he will “support whatever conclusion the board reached” and promised that the board will likely make a final decision at a meeting scheduled for February 16.
Prichard also noted that the procurement process for the stations was not expected to begin until the spring, allowing “ample time” for the necessary analysis.
“Metrolinx will not enter into any contractual obligations or agreements with respect to the Kirby and Lawrence East stations unless and until the management and the board are satisfied that that the stations are justified,” he wrote.