Residents of White Gold and the new Spruce Grove subdivision will have bus service this winter, which means buses will be allowed to drive from one subdivision through to the other.
However, that does not necessarily mean the road connection linking the two subdivisions will be open to all traffic.
Whistler council Monday approved transit service through the two subdivisions after hearing the Transit Management Committee felt strongly that bus service should be extended to the area this winter. Routing will go north on the Blackcomb Way extension to Nancy Greene Drive, follow Nancy Greene Drive to Fitzsimmons Road North, then north through Spruce Grove to join the highway at the new Mons intersection.
Many residents of White Gold and some Spruce Grove residents have opposed opening the barrier which currently separates Spruce Grove and White Gold at Fitzsimmons Road North because of fears it will increase traffic through both subdivisions.
Transit Management Committee Chair Nancy Wilhelm-Morden told council members transit route approval was needed this week to ensure the route is included in this winter’s bus schedules, which are to be printed soon.
However, Wilhelm-Morden stressed the decision only affects public transit. A debate will be held in the future on whether the Fitzsimmons Road North/Spruce Grove route will be open to all traffic or limited to buses by installation of an electronic gate, as is done at Blueberry Hill.
In other transit news, there will be separate buses from the village area to Alpine Meadows and Emerald Estates during peak periods this winter. Both the 15-minute service to Alpine Meadows and the 30-minute service to Emerald will stop at Meadow Park Sports Centre. During off-peak hours Alpine and Emerald will be combined in one route.
On another front, the transit TripCards could be available by Dec. 1, providing all the bugs in the system are worked out. There have been some problems with the 30-day TripCards, although 20-ride and 5-ride TripCards seem to be working well.
The TripCards will eventually be available through vending machines and vendors. The cards are read by a scanning machine on the buses which deducts trips or days from the card.