The Cooksville GO in Mississauga Needs an Extreme Makeover

The Cooksville GO station is set to become something drastically different and Metrolinx has taken steps to make sure that ball gets rolling.

Metrolinx has released something known as a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), which means the province's transit agency is looking for a number of interested parties to submit plans to design, build and finance an expansion of the Cooksville GO station. According to Metrolinx's press release, the RFQ is the first step in procuring a qualified team to deliver the project. Next, selected applicants will be invited to submit proposals by the end of 2016 or early 2017.

Here’s a look at the current station:

Basically, the RFQs are asking interested parties to do a GO transit version of Extreme Makeover. It makes sense; Cooskville GO is slated to be a major hub along the Hurontario LRT once the massive transit project gets underway. From a personal perspective, the way it looks like now is woefully inadequate even for the current ridership, let alone future ridership once the LRT is fully operational. The list of items that the RFQ is asking for in regards to the Cooksville GO makeover is extensive and quite extraordinary. They are definitely looking to try to make this (see below) a reality.

Here's what Metrolinx is looking for and my own thoughts on them:

A large station building/public plaza

The way Cooksville GO's main entrance building looks right now, an improvement is sorely needed. There's only one small kiosk for basic convenience store items in the main building, ticket booths, bathrooms and not much else (I would not consider the TVs showing the schedule and CP24 amenities!). The above artistic rendition is ideally where the Metrolinx designers are planning to go, but in all honesty, anything that anyone proposes would be better than what we currently have. Also, they need to look beyond the station building as simply a place where people get on and off a train; it needs to have fully functional Wi-Fi services, shops and a place for people to sit down and get some reading done while they wait for the next GO or LRT train to arrive.

An upgrade to existing rail platform access tunnels

Currently there are three entrances to the Cooksville GO train platform: one at the far west end near the four Hillcrest highrises, one in the middle main building that's accessible via underground tunnel, and the third one at the far end that's accessible from Hurontario Street. I think the one near the highrise condos is suitable for now since the majority of people who use that entrance are coming from those highrises and not driving in. As for the entrance near Hurontario, maybe something like a pedestrian skyway across Hurontario so people don't have to waste time waiting for the traffic light to change at the intersection with John Street would work.

A six storey parking structure

In my own personal opinion, I would give this proposal a flat out no, even though it seems the artistic rendition does have a building in the background near the train platform that is reminiscent of the Erindale GO station parking structure (see the Erindale Go station below).

Just take a look at this enormous structure and ask yourself, would you really want something like this built in the Cooksville parking lot? Generally speaking, I would prefer not to install more infrastructure in Mississauga that would incentivize increased usage of the automobile. Ironic that I would sound like a NIMBY person at this moment, but this is a very specific circumstance.

Would it not be better to increase the number of underground parking capacity at the Cooksville GO station? My extreme makeover solution would be to dig up the entire parking lot and build the parking structure, except it would be all underground instead of above ground. But again, that's just my crazy opinion.

Redevelopment of existing surface lots and new bus terminal (eight bays):

All I have to say about redeveloping the existing surface parking lot if they're not going with the parking structure route, is that they need to think of a smart way of resurfacing in order to maximize the amount of existing space. As for a new bus terminal, apparently the idea is to look at putting something like the Square One Terminal into the Cooksville GO station. My take is that they might need to forego redeveloping surface lots and actually replace them with the expansion of the bus terminal, especially if Metrolinx is looking at eight bays for buses from MiWay and GO. It's too bad; those lots were recently constructed.

What do you think, Mississauga? Cooksville is going to be one of the main transit hubs in Mississauga, and perhaps the entire Greater Toronto region. So what happens to it, whoever gets the approval from Metrolinx to do the redesign, is crucially important for the future of regional public transit in the GTHA. How would you redesign Cooksville GO if you had the opportunity?

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