It’s the halfway point of the 2013 bus service optimization consultation. We thought we’d check in with one of the organizers of the open house events and the online questionnaire to see how it’s all going.
I sat down with Peter Klitz, a senior planner in TransLink’s Service Planning group, who gave me the low down on the feedback we’re hearing, some thoughts on the subject of optimization and the topics people are asking about.
Generally well received
Overall, Peter says the five in-person consultations thus far have been well received in most of the communities we’ve visited. Roughly 30 people on average have attended each open house so far, and there have been roughly 250 online questionnaires filled so far. TransLink’s meetings with two city councils and a few community groups have also been well received.
Optimization is not a substitute for area transit plans
Peter and his team have also been monitoring the comments on this subject here on the blog. He says he finds some of the comments refer to the changes not going far enough or being big enough in scope. To those comments Peter says,
“The process through which we optimize service is not meant to replace the area transit plan process. Area transit plans takes a look at the overall longer-term needs of a sub-region where you look at opportunities to significantly restructure the network. Through that process we look at the tradeoffs and benefits of making more significant changes to how the network functions.”
In other words, area transit plans are more macro in planning scale, while optimization is more micro in scale and looks for ways to fine tune and make existing services more effective and more useful to a greater number of people.
Some concerns and some great ideas
Peter told me that because of the scale and nature of the service changes in the northeast sector of Metro Vancouver, particularly the Coquitlam area, we have received a number of comments from residents – which is not unexpected. Some people are concerned they might have to walk a bit farther or make a connection between services. There’s also been some concern about the impact on local community shuttle services when conventional buses are discontinued or converted to minibus.
In response to these concerns, Peter told me that the Service Planning team is gathering all the input we receive and investigating the feasibility of modify some of the proposals to mitigate the possible impacts of these changes. Peter noted one example which came up through consultation, which is best put in his words:
“There’s a proposed change to the service of the C24. We had a gentleman tell us that this change would remove service from a section of North Road where there is a fairly wide gab between 97 B-Line stops. The resident suggested adding a stop to the 97 B-Line stop to mitigate that impact to service. Not a bad idea!! It’s a change that’s very possible for us to do and it’s something that we hadn’t necessarily thought of.”
With five more open houses remaining for members of the public to take advantage of, Peter told me why he thinks people who are interested in transit in Metro Vancouver should take advantage of these opportunities,
“If you like the proposed changes, or don’t like these changes, or if you have some ideas on how to modify them in order to reduce impact on riders, let us know. As planners, we’re not saying we have all the answers. A good idea can come from anywhere or anyone.”
For more information on this consultation or to take the online questionnaire you’ll want to go here. For easy reference, here’s the list of the last five open houses:
December 4 – 5pm – 7:30pm – Aldergrove Community Secondary School, Small gym, 26850 29th Avenue, Aldergrove
December 5 – 4pm – 7:30pm – Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre, Lobby, 12027 Harris Road, Pitt Meadows
December 6 – 4pm – 7:30pm – The ACT Arts Centre & Theatre, 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge
December 11 – 4pm – 7:30pm – West Vancouver Memorial Library, Welsh Hall, 1950 Marine Dr West Vancouver
December 12 – 5pm – 7:30 – Gilmore Community School Gym, 50 South Gilmore Avenue, Burnaby