On Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, I met with Phil Verster, CEO of Metrolinx, here at Burlington City Hall. Phil became Metrolinx’s CEO in 2017 and it was helpful to meet him and hear about his vision for growth along the Lakeshore West GO Transit line.
We discussed issues such as the increased service goals of trains running to and from Toronto every 15-minutes on weekdays, their work toward having Wi-Fi on their trains, and the voluminous parking challenges we are facing at our stations, especially at the Aldershot GO station.
We asked Metrolinx to increase the size of parking lot at Aldershot in the short-term to provide relief, knowing many of the residents who use that station are not from Burlington and coming from fairly long distances so our transit isn’t an option, but we’re facing the impact of the overflow parking in our surrounding neighbourhoods. I gave him a letter outlining those concerns in more detail that council approved to be sent and co-signed by Councillor Kelvin Galbraith and myself. Please click this link to view the letter and memo from Councillor Galbraith: Memo – Metrolinx Aldershot GO station parking.
We also spoke about the possibility of paid parking at GO stations that was reported recently in the news, and why this would be a financial hardship for many of our residents whose busy schedules and family obligations don’t always have the flexibility to accommodate local transit options. We know there are a select quantity of paid parking spaces in premium locations already at GO stations and we support that approach, but we do not support making all spaces paid. At the Aldershot station, adding some premium reserved spaces to a new lot could help to pay for the initial capital cost of a parking lot expansion.
I learned that Metrolinx is the biggest owner of parking spaces in North America, with 77,000 existing spaces and a plan to already build more than 20,000 more. Phil listened to our concerns, explained nothing is definitive yet on the paid parking front, and is taking away our insights for further consideration as they strategize about how to best increase ridership while knowing they cannot build unlimited parking.
After our meeting, Phil and his team headed to our Burlington GO station for a public Town Hall meeting where they planned to hear riders’ questions and concerns in person. I look forward to continued conversations and solutions that optimize our residents’ ability to use GO transit service in ways that are affordable and convenient.
— Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist.