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In pictures: parking garages and a pedestrian bridge boost GO Transit

Government infrastructure improvements to GTA commuter system builds on plan for mobility hubs

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GO Transit’s six-storey parking garage opened on Oct. 19 in Oakville, Ont., a community west of Toronto. This is the most recent of six GO garages to be completed – with four more under construction in the Greater Toronto Area.

EllisDon

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Built by construction company EllisDon, the garage added 1,200 parking spots to the Oakville train station. The parking garage features many energy-saving features including a heat-deflecting white roof and a 300- kilowatt photovoltaic array that may eventually capture energy for the building.

EllisDon

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To save consumers time and gas, a car-counting system tells incoming drivers how many spaces are available on each floor. As yet, the parking spaces are free of charge.

EllisDon

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Metrolinx, Ontario’s regional transit agency, aims to make commuters feel safe in all of the new parking garages. Security was a prime concern in the design of the $41.1-million Oakville parking gargage, which was jointly funded by the Ontario and federal governments.

EllisDon

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‘Oakville has 66 cameras plus and LED lighting system,’ says Scott Hunter, project manager for EllisDon. An operations centre monitors the cameras. Lights are kept on for passenger security until after the last train has left, then dimmed to about 50 per cent.

EllisDon

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‘GO also paid for glass-enclosed stairwells, so the occupant or stair user can be seen from the street if they’re attacked and the attacker can be identified. There’s also glazing [front and rear glass] in elevators and glazing in lobbies and call buttons in the elevator which communicate with the operations centre,’ Mr. Hunter adds.

EllisDon

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East of Toronto, expansion of parking at the Pickering GO Transit station provided a unique challenge. To connect the train station, which is on the south side of Highway 401, to a new office tower and parkade on the north side, an enclosed pedestrian bridge was constructed.

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It crosses 14 lanes of traffic, one of the widest and busiest sections of Highway 401 in the province. Built by A-Plus General Contractors and designed by AECOM, the pedestrian bridge opened in January. The $22.5-million bridge was constructed mainly at night when closure of the highway caused less disruption.

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The fully-enclosed 250-metre pedestrian bridge has glass-sided elevators at each end. The bridge allows ‘walkers and cyclists to cross the 401 in ease and comfort, especially in adverse weather conditions,’ says GO spokesman Malon Edwards. One-third of GO customers arrive on foot, bike or are dropped off at Kiss-and-Ride facilities.

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By investing in this sort of public infrastructure, planners and governments hope to increase the density of commercial and retail buildings around these mobility hubs.

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On the south side of the 401, Bondfield Construction is currently building a $50.2-million parking garage that will add 1,500 parking spaces. Parking garages are also in the works at the Erindale, Ajax and Clarkson stations.

Bondfield Construction

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Lit by an LED display at night, the bridge has become a distinctive beacon for the the Pickering GO station and allows commuters to cross safely north to the Pickering Town Centre shopping mall and the town’s city hall.

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