Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In the Year 2012: More Park and Rides

For the past few days, I have picked a few tidbits from the 2012 OC Transpo business plan. Today, we will look at the ideas for new Park and Ride locations.

OC Transpo's business plan promises more park and ride spaces in the city. This year, there are plans to expand the existing lots at Trim, Strandherd stations and to build a new lot at Strandherd and Woodroffe, which will be a 3-minute drive from the existing Park and Ride at Strandherd and Greenbank. Once the Strandherd-Armstrong bridge is built, the Strandherd/Greenbank lot will only be a five-minute drive from the Riverview lot. While the short distance between lots is great when one lot fills up, it just doesn't make a lot of sense to have lots so close to each other, especially when there is room to expand at the existing Riverview lot.

In 2013, if everything goes according to schedule, new Park and Ride lots will appear in Chapel Hill in Orleans, which will be part of the Cumberland Transitway linking to Blair station in 2021, Hazeldean Road between Kanata and Stittsville, and one in Kanata North, presumably on the route 93 line. In 2014 or 2015, Millenium Park and Ride will be expanded and a new lot will appear on Cambrian Road.

OC Transpo wants to continue down the path of providing more parking lots for customers because the spaces fill up quickly.  But, most of the spaces are free, so, of course, there will be overcrowded parking lots.   Who doesn't want free stuff?  If OC Transpo wants ideas for revenue, they may want to look at expanding their price system for the Park and Rides.  Why not charge for spots in the morning and leave the weekends free?  Those parking on a weekday morning can enjoy dealing with less crowded lots once people figure it's no longer free.

It's disappointing to be reading plans about proposed Park and Rides when there is no mention about improved local service. Improving local service would be drawing people away from parking their cars and encouraging people to take transit from their home.  It's probably more expensive to run more local buses all year long, but Park and Rides aren't cheap either; The facilities must be maintained and secured.

If there is one thing OC Transpo is quick at doing, it's building Park and Rides.  There will be more of them as long as there is available land and there is plenty of that in Ottawa's suburbs.


Dean said...

This would be a perfect place for the use of presto cards. Have a presto card and a monthly pass then you have parking in the park and ride included in the price. If you don't have a monthly pass but a presto card then you can get discounted parking. Have the the park and ride fee taken off the presto card. And to prevent people using park and ride as cheap parking just add the condition that the card must be used on the bus between entry and exit of the park and ride.This system could even allow for park and ride lots closer to the core. Seems like an obvious idea to me.

Antemeridian said...

A lot of this would work well in a true hub and spoke system. Have a few central park and ride lots for people who want to park, but run regular local service during peak hours (every 10-15 minutes) to funnel traffic to the lot. When the main option to take a bus to a park and ride lot only comes around once every 30-60 minutes, that just doesn't work for people who need even the slightest bit of flexibility, which would be pretty much everyone.

And as to where to get the buses for the local? By reducing the big meandering express and cross-town non-express routes, buses would be freed up.

Then start running the 95 et al in two or three forms, being a local (every stop on the transitway) to a semi-express and express with limited stops.

If this was combined with developing transit stations that made transfers straightforward, and local service that was actually convenient, making a transfer or two isn't a big deal.

Transfers become an issue when it's a pain to change routes and when missing a connection by just a minute or two can cause a delay of 30-60 minutes due to infrequent service.

Ziad Nasrallah said...

I'm always happy to hear that our city transit is being improved. I agree that it would be better to improve the local service, but there are many places where it is already difficult to get good parking for the transit. I think that this is a necessary first step before focusing on adding more routes.

Marcelo Sieben said...

How were the projects going? Good thing they decided to expand parking lots for the cars. Internal car parts are sensitive, they should have even thought of it before.