By Mike Williscraft
After years of talk, speculation and lobbying, Town of Lincoln is officially in the game…the GO Transit game that is.
Lincoln officials have been working for years to get on the map when it comes to transit expansion and with the announcement Monday that Metrolinx has approved a business case for a Beamsville GO station location that goal has been achieved.
Metrolinx, with support from Infrastructure Ontario, has completed an Initial Business Case (IBC) in partnership with the Regional Municipality of Niagara, Town of Lincoln and a third-party partner for a proposed GO Station in Beamsville.
While there are still many hurdles to clear, if a business case was not approved any Lincoln option would have been dead in the water.
The release of the IBC was the first – and vital – step in the planning process of building a new GO Station in the Town of Lincoln and is good news for local commuters, say local officials.
“The population of Niagara West is rapidly growing in every community, including Beamsville and Vineland. The need for modern, clean, and efficient transportation options is an issue I have heard about from my constituents, and I’m pleased to see continued plans for expansion along the Niagara GO Line,” said Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff.
“I know that Metrolinx and the Ministry of Transportation have worked closely with partners in Lincoln through the Transit-Oriented-Communities strategy to get to this important step towards another GO Station in Niagara West. I will always advocate for the local modern infrastructure investments needed to keep Niagara West the best place to live in the entire province.”
The proposed transit station would be located along the Lakeshore West Line, west of Ontario Street in Beamsville, and strategically located between the proposed Grimsby GO Station at Casablanca Boulevard to the west and the existing St. Catharines GO Station to the east.
“Today’s announcement is excellent news for the community and a positive step towards future GO train service in Lincoln. The community benefits are many – including economic growth, expanded transportation options for residents, and further leveraging Lincoln as a premier tourism destination in Niagara,” said Mayor Sandra Easton.
Metrolinx will explore opportunities to deliver the proposed new GO Station in Beamsville through the Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) program that will better connect people to transit.
“I’m pleased to see the release of the initial business case that demonstrates the feasibility of GO service expansion to Lincoln. We will continue to work closely with our partners in government and the private sector to move this important community project from concept to reality,” said Lincoln CAO Mike Kirkopoulos.
The Beamsville IBC compares the benefit of developing the proposed GO Station in Beamsville against the service concepts recommended as part of a 2019 Niagara Falls Extension IBC.
The IBC shows the proposed station could attract 48,000 net new annual trips to the GO network by 2041, which will provide better access to the GO network for local residents. This will improve access to businesses, housing, jobs, and destinations in and around Lincoln.
2041 is the future date used in the IBC to project ridership and not a timeline for when the station would be built. A timeline for station construction is still to be determined through the planning process and associated TOC project agreements.
A new GO station in Beamsville would attract between 7,000 and 8,000 tourists per year to the area in 2041 who would have the option to take the GO rather than driving, saving money and providing a safe and convenient alternative to explore the area.
Possible amenities could include GO customer parking, a pick-up and drop-off area, bicycle parking, and an area for transfers to local and regional transit services.