TAG recommendations presented 

Transportation Action Plan deemed effective, but more work to be done

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - ACTION PLAN  The RMOW's Transportation Action Plan has been deemed effective, but there are still improvements to be made.
  • PHOTO By Braden Dupuis
  • ACTION PLAN The RMOW's Transportation Action Plan has been deemed effective, but there are still improvements to be made.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is moving forward with more recommendations from the Transportation Advisory Group (TAG).

Actions for the summer include keeping commercial bus parking in Day Lot 4; continuing to monitor on-street parking in neighbourhoods; exploring new day pass products for Lots 1-5; continuing to improve electronic paper and parking maps; installing parking metres on Blackcomb Way; and launching a pilot project to display parking availability at the Conference Centre.

Free transit will also be offered on weekends and holidays, as well as secure bike parking in the village on weekends.

The issue of on-street parking in neighbourhoods after pay parking was reintroduced last summer was a thorn in the side of many, but the RMOW doesn't have enough information to address the problem just yet, said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

"We spent a lot of time actually talking about that at the TAG workshop, and we're not in a place yet without further monitoring to figure out just what we're going to do about it," the mayor said.

"I'm hopeful that people won't take advantage of parking in the neighbourhoods the way they did last summer—they probably will, but we need some more evidence before we figure out what we can do about it."

In the meantime, residents can report on-street parking violations to the bylaw department.

Pay parking returns to Day Lot 4 on June 14 (Day Lot 5 is currently closed for paving).

Steps taken so far, like the reintroduction of pay parking, increased transit service hours and a new carpool pass, have had the intended affect, said transportation planner Richard Drudl in a presentation to council on May 8.

Drudl monitored parking availability on peak days in Whistler over the winter and compared them to the same days in 2016 (the last time parking availability was studied).

In the Day Lots, the busiest day was March 3, where occupancy reached 91 per cent—just over the RMOW's target of 90 per cent occupancy, Drudl said.

"We got up to 107 per cent two years ago, so (in) the Day Lots, parking was available—every day that we surveyed we achieved our target for those days," he said.

Somewhat surprisingly, Day Lots 1 to 3, priced at $10 compared to the $5 charge in Lots 4 and 5, were at capacity on almost every day surveyed, which Drudl attributed to the number of $50 monthly passes sold.

"We sold as many as 578 in December, and in February and March when we did our parking survey, there were 450 or more passes in use," Drudl said, noting that there are only 800 parking spaces in Lots 1 to 3.

"So that means that if everybody with a monthly pass showed up they'd fill up more than half the parking spaces, so that's basically the reason we're seeing such high occupancy in those first three lots."

Adjusting pass pricing and offering different passes could shift the demand around, he added.

Other findings from the survey: Creekside's free parking was well used, with occupancies hitting 100 per cent on three of six days surveyed; private lot availability varied from 39 to 96 per cent occupancy; overtime parking continues to be an issue in the Village and on Blackcomb Way; and average daily traffic volumes on Highway 99 at the Brio traffic counter during winter were similar to the previous two winters.

A comparison of traffic volumes at Function Junction and Brio indicated fewer local trips since the Transportation Action Plan was implemented, with about 1,000 more vehicles per day entering the community at Function Junction.

Winter ridership on local transit, meanwhile, was about 10-per-cent higher than in winter 2016-17.

The RMOW has $120,000 budgeted for TAG studies and initiatives this year, with all recommended actions expected to fit the budget.

Find more info at whistler.ca/movingwhistler.


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