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Park and rides: let’s talk about them

CBC Video of an interview with Jason Martin, TransLink’s communications manager, about future park and ride policy.

It seems like lots of local media are talking about TransLink and park and ride policy these days!

So we wanted to take a moment to talk about our approach to park and rides, and the South Surrey Park and Ride situation.

First, check out the news video above from CBC, and have a look through these park and ride articles about South Surrey and more:

And let’s talk more about park and rides below.

Towing at South Surrey Park and Ride starts June 25, 2012: a last resort for safety reasons

View TransLink Park & Ride Locations in a larger map

A Google Map of the South Surrey Park and Ride, which features a bus loop, 481 parking spots and 13 priority carpool spaces. Buses connect riders to King George SkyTrain Station and other destinations in the region.

So, South Surrey Park and Ride is the place that’s prompted the park and ride discussion lately. That’s because starting June 25, 2012 we’re planning to start towing all cars that are illegally parked in the lot.

We at TransLink operate South Surrey Park and Ride, a free park and ride lot. And since October 2011, we’ve known the lot has been over capacity. That means many cars are now parking illegally at the park and ride, with as many as 90 extra cars crammed into the lot during rush hour periods.

As you may have guessed, the illegally parked cars are boxing in other cars and causing safety concerns. Bus operators also find it hard to drive their buses safely through the Park and Ride lot (the loop is in the centre of the lot).

We’ve tried many measures to handle the issues in the lot since October 2011, including:

  • introducing 13 carpool stalls, all now filled
  • increasing the number of spaces from 425 to 481 by repainting stalls and reconfiguring the lot
  • launching a flyer campaign to notify drivers of illegal parking problems in the lot

Unfortunately, lots of cars are still illegally parking in the lot, which has prompted us to move to a last resort: towing.

So we sent out a media release on June 15 to spread the word, spurring the flurry of coverage in the top of this post.

The costs of providing parking spots

Simply creating more parking isn’t as easy or cheap as it might seem. Creating and managing parking stalls come with a price tag. Here’s a bit of info:

  • The capital costs of surfacing for parking is, at a minimum, $3,000 per space.  The capital costs of structure parking is about $15,000 per space. The costs are for land, design, grading, drainage systems, lighting and pavement. Here’s a link to a study from the Victoria Policy Institute with information on the costs of parking stalls.
  • With no attendant, the operating cost of a lot like South Surrey is a minimum of $200 per space per year. If an attendant is needed at a park and ride, operating costs can be as high as $800 per space per year.

A broader park and ride strategy for the future

In the coming months, we’ll be working on a region-wide park and ride strategy. The goal is to figure out how we can help people reach transit services in a way where park and rides can complement, but not compete, with the transit service we offer. There can be a role for driving to transit, but where it’s possible, we’d like to emphasize walking, cycling, and taking transit to connections.

What kind of system we truly need to build for the future is the broader question regarding park and rides. TransLink encourages development to locate themselves near areas that are well served by transit like the Frequent Transit Network, to help people walk, bike and ride transit to their destinations, as well as relieving the strain on park and rides. We also encourage people to try carpooling more or get dropped off at transit (often called “kiss and ride” since often people are dropped off by family or friends) instead of parking near transit.

Since park and rides come at a cost, we’re looking at managing the demand on them by possibly charging for parking. This is already being done with various private sector partnerships. Currently, the TransLink park and ride at Bridgeport (a partnership with the Casino) costs $2.50 per day. Similarly, the private park and ride at King George Hwy in Surrey costs $6 per day. We also partner with municipalities to use community centres or other facilities to manage overflow parking.

Having park and rides over capacity means people are using our transit system, which shows the system is obviously of value to our users. However, having park and rides over capacity is an issue that needs to be addressed.

There are numerous factors at play with park and ride. As we move forward with the region-wide park and ride strategy, your thoughts on our strategy are certainly welcome.

As mentioned, this issue isn’t just about park and rides, it’s about the transportation system we want to have as a region moving in the future!

Let us know your thoughts below.


  • By Harry Douthwaite, June 22, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    If TransLink should introduce parking fees at their park and ride lots, then the same amount paid at the meter in the parking lot should be deducted from the transit fare paid on the bus or at the station. As a result, this will encourage people to use the park and ride for transit use, rather than just using it as an overflow parking lot for a nearby shopping center.

  • By Cliff, June 22, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    When a bus route in the city of Vancouver is overloaded, the answer is often quite simple. Increase frequency. A lot of people get around using the bus in Vancouver and it works quite well. This high number of people is the reason some routes have frequencies of less than every 6 minutes. We certainly don’t increase fares in an effort to dissuade people from using the bus!

    So why don’t we approach park and rides with the same basic concept? If the park and ride is being overloaded, why don’t we expand it to accommodate the users? Like it or not, park and rides are part of the transit system and need to be treated as such.

    South of the Fraser (And the Tri-Cities, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge) are very different animals when it comes to transit use. People out here need a car because Vancouver style bus service isn’t adequate nor justified in running in these areas. Densities are too low and distances too great.

    But people have proven they are willing to use transit when the convenience exists. And the South Surrey Park and Ride is a fantastic example of that.

    Calgary has one of the best LRT systems in North America and possibly the world. One of the contributors to this is free Park and Rides. Not only are they free, they are built in the right places. When Calgary wanted to toll the park and rides, public outrage ensued. Why should people be punished for reducing the number of cars on the road? Calgary reversed its decision.

    Harry’s got a great idea. Deduct the cost of parking from the fare. Reward those who chose a greener option despite living in an area where it is difficult to do so. Make park & rides a vital part of our transit system like the SkyTrain and the bus. Who knows? Maybe in time the number of users will be so great that local bus service to and from the park & ride will become viable, thus increasing local trips too! Promoting bicycle use in these areas is also a fantastic idea (Remembering to use common sense when creating bicycle routes; use dedicated bicyle paths and quiet streets). And to help promote it, a well lit, covered, visible bicycle storage solution for those who don’t want to rent lockers. In addition add the cost of a transit pass to those who own vehicles to their car insurance!

    When and if a new Rapid Bus (Route #333, there can be no other!) service begins over the Port Mann, I can only hope to hear that Walnut Grove has the same success story as South Surrey.

    Many park and rides are in the right spots when I think about it. Stevenson, Bridgeport, Scott Road, South Surrey, Coquitlam Centre. Areas that are either local and in a dense area or that are before a major traffic choke point. After all, sitting on a bridge and watching the SkyTrain go by on the bridge next to you unimpeded is going to pique your curiosity.

    Still, improvements can be made. Adopt the same fare structure throughout (This can be difficult with park & rides on private property, I know) and build new ones. To this day, Braid Station still sits at the edge of a barren lot. Even Lougheed Station took the left over room in the gravel triangle and has it being used as a park and ride! Why can’t something similar be done at Braid?

    What about a Park and Ride near Marine Drive station? Or even one near Lonsdale Quay?

    Anyway to sum it up, park and rides in the suburbs should be treated as the analogue to local bus service in Vancouver. Overall, they should be free to use and moreover they can be used to increase transit use in a given area. Something that I don’t think TransLink has embraced yet.

  • By SS, June 22, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

    Parking on the Calgary Transit P&R lots are free, but for the busiest stations, about half of the spaces are reserved for people who paid a $70 monthly parking pass that would guaranteed a spot. If the spot is remained empty by 10am, then everyone can park in the space for free.

  • By Cliff, June 22, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

    Oh sure, if a free alternative exists and people want to pay a premium, I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

  • By Sheba, June 22, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

    I don’t get why drivers think they should be able to park wherever they want for free. You don’t let strangers park in your driveway (or on the street, completely blocking your driveway). It’s part of your property that you pay for. Parking lots are also property that someone has to pay for – why shouldn’t the drivers who park there have to pay something towards the costs?

    Of course it’s a double edged sword as these areas don’t have adequate transit service, so people have to drive for at least part of their trip. Putting in ground level rapid transit would help, but who’s going to pay for it. Personally I think the Surrey lines should go in before the UBC line (which is busy, but at least transit there exists… ).

  • By Sheba, June 22, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    The world’s 20 most painful cities to drive

  • By Cliff, June 22, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

    Well, try to think that owning a car south of the Fraser is an analogue to the frequent bus service we find in the city of Vancouver.

    So if we provide free park and rides, people will ultimately use transit and their fares will help pay for said park and ride. After all if you or I take a bus in Vancouver, our fare goes to the continued upkeep and regular service that we enjoy.

    The goal should be to reward transit users. We do that in the city of Vancouver and we should do it in outlying areas. We don’t have a lot of options, but park & rides are a fantastic solution.

    If you want to get people out of their cars and using transit, you’ll need to throw them a carrot. Blackballing them because regular reliable service just isn’t feasible for their area isn’t fair. And don’t forget, people with cars pay for a large chunk of public transit projects and upkeep. Fuel taxes. Park and Rides are the best of both words. They pay a regular bus fare and pay fuel taxes. What’s not to love?

    Rapid transit is nice, but rapid transit works best in high density areas. SoF is not quite there yet. Commuter rail would work better, and true to that statement, it’s what we have for Port Moody out to Mission. And it’s a huge success! And personally speaking I’d say you’re largely right. I would much rather see rapid transit extended a bit further out in Surrey because they are attempting to densify. But I’d like to at least see the Millennium Line extended to Cambie first.

  • By Sheba, June 22, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

    Assuming Wiki is right (and they probably are on this) – “It is the province’s second-largest city by population after the city of Vancouver.” Admittedly it’s also physically bigger so there’s sprawl to deal with. But… you can draw roughly a rectangle diagonally that covers the northern part of Surrey and into North Delta (if you look at a satellite map you’ll see where I mean) where there is a reasonable amount of density – and not a reasonable amount of bus service.

    Growing up out there, it was a crazy dream to imagine anything better than 30/60 minute daytime service in the bigger areas and little to nothing everywhere else. That’s why so many people drive – because there hasn’t been any other option. There still isn’t if you want to travel east/west. Between 100th (where King George Station is) and 72nd (Newton Exchange and Scottsdale Mall) there are only east/west routes on: a short section of 100th, 96th, 88th, a short section of 84th, a short section of 76th, and on 72nd. That leaves huge gaps, which only encourages people to drive.

    The rapid transit I was mentioning above are the lines from Newton to Surrey Central to Guildford (ground level down the middle of the street) and extending the Expo Line down Fraser Hwy (eventually to Fleetwood Exchange).
    Those have already been talked about and are a lot further along in planning than the UBC line.

    When I talked to my parents (who spent a lot of time in Vancouver in their younger years) about the plan to put the UBC line either on or underground along Broadway you’d have thought I was doing a comedy routine. The idea of it being a bored tunnel esp – that would be cut and cover as there’s piping, etc under the street and good luck finding a map that shows where it is. So while I agree with you about extending Millennium Line out to join Canada Line, which route after that will have to be decided before anything can happen (will it join at Olympic Village or Broadway/City Hall?).

  • By Cliff, June 22, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

    It’s sad really. Every time a proposal for rapid bus comes up for Surrey, bam! No room in the budget. Of course, rapid bus these days is the logical step before a full fledged SkyTrain line.

    I’m a little disappointed at the prospect of not having transit over the Port Mann on opening day. What a waste with the transit only exits and whatnot.

    It’s not like these routes are in uncharted waters. The routes you describe have the density to deliver full bus after full bus of rapid bus customers.

    Essentially, Surrey needs one long Rapid Bus route. Guildford-Surrey Central-Newton (With a later extension to White Rock Centre). You’re right; while Surrey isn’t the most dense city, the corridors this bus would serve are just as dense as those of Brentwood and even Metrotown.

    When I tell people I’m from Vancouver, they rave about the fantastic transit system we have. Head out to the suburbs and nothing could be further from the truth. We have routes that make less than several trips a day. This is something I would expect from a town like Cranbrook. Not the suburbs of the most liveable city in the world.

    I guess I’m preaching to the choir. Unless one lives on the Burrard Peninsula, they will continue to get the budget screwjob from TransLink.

  • By ???, June 22, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

    It’s basically supply and demand… just increase the parking rates as the lot gets filled. Consider a valet service (tow-truck) for the most determined parking violaters as an education service.

  • By Sheba, June 23, 2012 @ 12:59 am

    A couple little tidbits out of the ‘South of Fraser transit plan’ dated Sept 2007.

    “…it appears that there is a growing desire for transportation movement within the South of Fraser and a static need for transit into Vancouver. There is also an increase in the number of trips that are desired during off peak times and going to multiple destinations.”

    “…a transit system that could link the town centres together in a strong network could prove to be attractive to the SoF.”

    That reminds me of the saying ‘and in breaking news, sun hot’. I’ve lost count of the huge number of people who’ve been saying that since Expo Line was new (and not in Surrey yet).

    …and they wonder why people still drive…

  • By Dave 2, June 23, 2012 @ 1:02 am

    Off topic, but the Broadway line could be built under 10th, much like Montreal’s Green Line has stations on St Catherines, but the tunnel is under Maisonneuve. Disruptive to the residents of 10th Ave? Heck yes, just like my street in Kitsilano was ripped up twice in 15 years, once to replace sewers, then to replace water lines. Was it worth ripping up Toronto’s Younge St in 1954? New York’s Lexington Ave in 1904? Or various London streets in 1863? Residents of those three cities would likely answer “yes”, as will Vancouver residents in 2162. Jhenifer, make a note to reprint this in a 2162 Buzzer, on my 200th birthday. Huzzah! :)

  • By Marvin B, June 23, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    I’ve read it here and I’ll repeat it. Park and rides are essential for transit use in the suburbs. Once you get into Surrey and Langley it’s too low density to justify routes like those in Vancouver. If there is no room to expand the South Surrey P & R, then the solution should be to build up. A parkade(s) should be considered to up the parking volume. Modern ticket machines could be installed where you enter the stall number. That will print a valid transit transfer for you! Don’t need a transfer? Well you select “monthly/yearly pass” on the ticket machine. Why do this? To actually keep track of the value created by this park and ride. You can do the same at every park and ride. You can’t however charge someone in Surrey who’s already paying $10 to take the bus back and forth plus another $6 to park, though this happens at King George Station. It’s too much. If you’re going to charge to keep non-transit users away, fine. But is has to be recoupable by the transit user.

    I say build up at South Surrey and get that Port Mann bus running! Once that new bridge is built, how can we not have that bus running with the infrastructure built? Build it and they will come. Translink knows this. It’d be a big shame to not have this bus. While on the topic of park and rides, why not have some more P&Rs at some other highway exits? I’d like to see that rapid bus extend out to 264th where people already use the land as a park and pool. There’s space to build a lot there and at 232nd as well. Keep the highway less congested, and more transit users than ever. Sounds delightful doesn’t it?

  • By Eugene Wong, June 23, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

    Here are my thoughts.

    The Vancouver Sun just loves to pour on hate, it seems. The mayors are using this to battle against Translink. Charging $365/year for each space is not much to ask.

    I would like to commend Translink and the cooperative riders, for “90 per day to between 30 and 40”. That is very impressive to me.

    You could allow a towing company to set up, right next to the park and ride, so that illegal parkers will not be completely inconvenienced. This will also allow people to take transit to the towing companies to pick up their cars, instead of going to an out of the way place. In fact, some might even prefer to have the towing company “do the parking”, effectively turning it into a valet service. This would be better use of workers, because the driver can be used elsewhere in the region, as opposed to just hanging around as a lot attendant. For valet parking, the customers could park in specific spots, known as a waiting area. The towing company can come to pick up the cars, when the customer is already at the bus stop. The customer could leave an estimated time of pick up on a piece of paper on the dash. The estimated time will help the towing company to organize the cars, to save space.

    Another idea is to build a parking building. I have heard of machines that take the cars and put them in the slots. Because this is done by machine, space is better used.

    Another idea is to build a big parkade, that could be converted into a shopping centre. If it becomes popular, then another building can be built as a parkade, and the older building can be converted. The idea is to build them for 100 years of use, and for conversion.

    I disagree with letting the parking fee count towards transit fare. The idea is that if they get to park, and use transit, then they are getting better value for their money, and they are effectively getting free parking. If shoppers want to park there, then charge them for it. In fact, some of the spaces in the nearby areas could be converted into mini park and rides. I don’t mind letting some of their payment count towards transit fare, though.

    I definitely support the idea of using empty lots as park and rides, or some kind of parking. I’d rather see the small spaces put to use, even if it is only 1 space.

    I like SS’s suggestion.

    Another idea is to convert abandoned old truck scales into more park and ride spaces. The north end of the Massey tunnel might be a good example. People heading south might try it. The pavement is already there. The area is so small, that I doubt people would really use it a whole lot. It seems to be empty, and there is a turn around, so that they can head back into Richmond. It would probably get so little use, that people won’t even abuse it. I think that only altruistic people would use it, but why not?

    I agree with Sheba. She might have stumbled onto an even better idea. Why not let locals charge for parking, on already built standard driveways? Even if Translink makes nothing, then it’s still a benefit. They could charge whatever they want, and announce it, by putting a sign on the lawn.

    Another idea, is to “convert” the park and rides into truck stops at night, if they are near certain highways. I doubt that will work, but it is an idea to toy around with.

    Overall, we should see this as a money making opportunity.

  • By Eugene Wong, June 23, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

    By the way, thanks Translink, and specifically Jason Martin, for addressing this topic. Poor Jason seemed under stress during the interview. :^D

    After looking at the map, it seems that there are unused spaces inbetween the various ramps. Those triangles could hold a few dozen cars. Maybe the property owners could open them up and charge the same amount as Translink.

    I wish that the small spaces adjacent to highway exits and ramps could be used for transit.

    The most creative uses that I have seen are that dog park near 22nd St. Station, and a balloon ride pickup in Langley or Surrey.

    Another idea is to convert those lanes into one-way lanes, so that they can be narrower.

    I looked at the transit map. I bet that a lot of people are driving from the unserviced area between Crescent Rd and 20 Ave. I bet that if you allowed them to park in driveways, then the problems would disappear. You could set up a web site to match drivers to drive ways. The drivers would then get out and board the buses at bus stops before the bus even gets to the park and ride. Remember that you only have to match 40 drivers and spaces, in order to not overflow.

    On the east side of 152 St, there seems to be a large unserviced area. Those people probably would appreciate driveways along King George and along 152 St.

    Another thing to consider is trying to get parking along rarely used routes, such as the #345 & #375. For a lot of people, 152 St. is a long ways away. They might not mind parking on somebody’s property, and then taking transit. If they can’t do it, then it might be too far to walk, so they might avoid those routes. The same goes for the #26 in Vancouver, and the #531.

    Consider asking Guildford Mall to allow parking in between The Bay, and Guildford Exchange, and in between Sears and Guildford exchange. Those small parking areas would be best used by transit users. What does everybody think about this particular suggestion? Cliff, I’d like to especially read your thoughts on Guildford Mall offering space for small park and rides.

  • By Eugene Wong, June 23, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

    I keep thinking up more stuff. Help! Stop me. Please.

    Regarding residential parking, the only concern that I can think of is environmental concerns, such as dripping oil.

    Regarding residential parking fees, I bet that people might be willing to pay more, if the money doesn’t go to a corporation or government. In that situation, they might not feel bad about paying higher prices that won’t contribute to their fares.

    Perhaps the goal should be to find 50 parking spaces outside of the park and ride, but along the routes that service the park and rides. You could call it, “The 50 Space Project”. Every time you find another space, you could fill in your figurative thermometer.

    Each community could have a thermometer associated with it.

  • By ???, June 23, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

    With regards to those automatic valets that can help slot your vehicle away… there was a recent story about this feature on a building downtown. I think they said that those automatic valets cost 50% more than a regular stall. Justified when space is a premium at a pay lot. For a near free lot? Maintenance would be very high for Translink. Toll truck valet is more economical.

  • By Chris M., June 24, 2012 @ 9:38 am

    At a time when there isn’t really any money available, wouldn’t it be best to charge a fee to remove the overcrowding and then put the marginal revenues towards better service, whether that be more parking or increased frequencies?

  • By Sheba, June 24, 2012 @ 10:26 am

    I think the idea of having mini parking lots near bus routes instead of only huge fields of parking is a great idea Eugene. I’m sure there are many areas that would be well served by having parking for a few dozen cars instead of trying to find the land for a few hundred.

    Also is it really such a surprise that the South Surrey lot is full. If you look at the map, you’ll see it’s the only one out there and there are only five in all of Surrey. Why aren’t there any park and ride lots near Newton, Fleetwood and Scottsdale?

  • By Cliff, June 24, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

    A park and ride at Guildford could work. However, it needs buses that cross the Port Mann and maybe even go to Vancouver. After all, why would anyone park there when they could just drive to King George or Scott Road and have SkyTrain access without having to transfer buses?

    Also, keep in mind, having a park and ride at Guildford would only work for people going a long distance. Nobody is going to park at Guildford and take a bus to Surrey Central. Even if it rapid bus. Even if it were free.

    Then there’s the cost, red tape, and proximity of other park and rides in the area to consider.

    It may also be worth considering, once the Canada Line P3 contract is over, re-introducing express bus service from South Surrey to downtown Vancouver. The only reason we had it set up this way way was to make sure our contractual obligations to the P3 could be met.

  • By Margo, June 24, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    I live 5 blocks north from a Skytrain station in Burnaby. I noticed recently on a Holiday the streets were devoid of cars. It then dawned on me there are HUNDREDS of cars parking here everyday belonging to people walking to the Skytrain.

    No matter what system you implement, people will just seek out a quiet neighborhood devoid of meters and parking permits to park their vehicle.

  • By Sheba, June 24, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

    I live near a Skytrain station in Burnaby too, and the only time the streets aren’t packed with parked cars is in the middle of the night. That’s not the big problem with the South Surrey park and ride. It’s nowhere near the Skytrain or any residential streets, and it’s the only place in the area to park.

    Technically there’s a Guildford park and ride – it’s just that it’s about half a dozen blocks from the mall and bus loop. If you zoom in on it on the satellite map you’ll see that it’s half empty while the lots at King George and Scott Road Stations are full.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, June 25, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    Dave 2: Marked in my 2162 calendar. :D

  • By Cliff, June 25, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

    Vancouver 2162 problems:

    The Pattulo bridge will be over 150 years old and well past its best before date. Mayors of the still unamalgamated Vancouver region bicker and argue over the location of a new bridge. New Westminster attempts to block the project saying that they want to maintain their small town feel. They add that the 10-lane McBride expressway can’t be widened further.

    Planning is under way for a SkyTrain extension to Abbotsford. This SkyTrain will be the next line built after the much delayed Expo line extension to Langley only recently completed in 2136. SkyTrain construction continues to be slow in the region with much debate on alignment and funding.

    The recently completed Boundary Road crossing has been completed ahead of schedule, but the rapid bus slated to cross the bridge has been nixed from the plan after funding falls out. The new bridge opens without rapid bus, unlike the highly successful Port Mann bridge of 2012, where in the last minute, funding was secured. That service, so successful, a SkyTrain line was built to connect Guildford with Lougheed Station in 2035. The bridge continues to defy expectations as usage has been largely unchanged since the introduction of commuter rail to Chilliwack in 2050.

    South of Fraser funding continues to be a problem. After the recent conversion of virtually all bus service in Vancouver to either streetcar or LRT, Surrey bus riders are wondering why they’re still using bus service when their population nearly matches that of Vancouver.

    And Vancouver Mayor Sunbeam continues to be the butt of jokes after nearly coliding with a streetcar after running a red light while riding in the recently constructed dedicated unicycle lane. Proponents of the lanes say that they help protect them from bicycles and other road users that are the source of much of the traffic in the downtown core. Opponents of the unicycle lanes say that there are few enough bicycle lanes as it is and that continuing down this path result in traffic chaos in downtown. They add that unicycle users should obey traffic rules and get insurance just like bicycle riders.

    Some things never change.

  • By Sheba, June 25, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

    I’d comment on that Cliff but I’m laughing too hard!

  • By Cliff, June 26, 2012 @ 12:00 am

    I should have said the Pattulo bridge would be 140 years old, because I meant to imply that it would be an even newer bridge that was up for debate. (Gen 3 bridge)

    I always find that projects in Vancouver take forever to plan and build. They’re always treated like a political football; a piece of candy always dangled in front of voters. Other Canadian cities have no nonsense ways about the way they do urban planning. Edmonton is wrapping up its ring road and several LRT lines are either on the drawing board or under construction. Real progress is happening!

    I really want to see park and rides treated with the respect they’ve long been neglected with. Build them, connect them, and watch ridership rates soar. And make them free. You know what happens when you don’t? Well, just take a drive down Fraser Highway after the morning rush. Cars and cars all parked up and down the road. These are all people that are using SkyTrain… despite the fact that a Park and Ride exists at King George Station! Over 800 spaces! And even more at Scott Road!

    We need to stop viewing it as catering to the automobile and start thinking about it as the automobile adapting to public transit.

  • By mike0123, June 26, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

    The main problem with park and rides is the high marginal cost. Each additional space in a parking lot costs much more than each additional seat on a bus. Given a fixed budget for additional transit, if the objective is to maximize transit ridership the money has to go to additional bus service over additional park and ride space.

    Even large lots have relatively little capacity. Those large lots sit next to transit stations, the land that is usually best suited for high-density use. There are some exceptions on flood plains, under flight paths, and in industrial areas.

    If Translink were to change its objective from maximizing ridership to serving all areas equally, park and rides could be justified on the basis that they are used by people who live far from good bus routes. It would do this knowing that it would cost them more to serve fewer people.

  • By Cliff, June 26, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

    Well, yes. TransLink should be serving all areas equally. They are a regional entity, not a CoV one.

    And TransLink doesn’t need to devote a piece of property just to Park and Rides. The property can be built up. Parking lots can be elevated or buried. Stores and residences can be built.

    The way we treat SoF is unsustainable and if we continue down this road, then we’re going to have generation after generation living in a city where commuting with a SoV is justified and normal because alternatives don’t exist.

  • By Donald, June 27, 2012 @ 10:09 am

    I don’t think $1 a day would hurt for these bus park & rides, that would at least cover the annual cost of maintaining these lots. The $3 they charge at West Coast Express Stations is too much.

  • By Eugene Wong, June 28, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

    Sheba, thanks for your support regarding the mini park and rides.

    Sheba, where is the 5th Surrey park and ride? I only found Guildford, King George, Scott Road Station, and South Surrey.

    Scottsdale, Newton, Fleetwood, and Cloverdale probably have expensive land. Mini park and rides would help.

    Also, part time park and rides might help. I could be wrong, but the peak periods for most shopping might be after work, and on weekends. Maybe the property owners could let people pay to park in the morning and midday, and then let the parking be free at night. Encouraging/Requiring property owners to do this would give them financial incentives to fill the parking spaces. I’m thinking of Home Depot. There seem to be plenty of lots that are always empty. Maybe Translink could skim an advertising fee to promote the paid parking. If the spaces only cost $2, and if Translink took $.50, then I think that everybody would still be better off, especially since the spaces are already made, and since Translink would not have to buy property.

    Cliff, people would park at a Guildford Mall park and ride, because the lots in Scottsdale might be crowded. Since we are expecting the GVRD to grow, we should try to squeeze every lot out of the place. Also, the mall is located on the frequent transit network, so they might be more willing to leave a car at a connection. That being said, you are right in that most people would not be interested in riding only a few stops. Maybe they could leave it at the mall, during a Canucks game?

    Everybody, I took a closer look at the north end of the tunnel, and it seems that we could actually fit around 2 dozen cars there for a mini park and ride. It would be a great service to those in parts of Richmond that do not have great service and are passing through the tunnel to Surrey and Delta. Coming back might be a bit of a pain, but if a person cooperates, then why not. It would be interesting to see if there are any people interested in this. Too bad we can’t pull them over and ask. :^D

  • By Eugene Wong, June 28, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

    Kiss and rides have been mentioned. Maybe we need to hype these up more than the park and rides. The park and rides seem to be a bigger problem, because of the huge space that they take, and because people typically don’t line up for many minutes to use the kiss and rides.

    However, maybe kiss and rides could be the secret to getting more carpooling, and to reducing parked cars. I think that the ideal place would be at on-ramps and off-ramps, since these tend to be the bottle necks.

    When it comes to having kiss and rides near major connections, I wholeheartedly support the use of bus bays. In a previous comment, I had called down fire and brimstone on the idea, but on a highway or ramp, it is a safety issue, which is fine.

    For example, the #301 could easily drop people off at #6 Road, in Richmond, on the overpass, but because of rules or whatever, Translink does not do that. Having a bus stop there, with a kiss and ride, would make a possible connection for the #301, and the #410, thus adding frequency to that portion of the highway.

    Another kiss and ride would be useful on Annasis Island.

    Another kiss and ride would be useful on both sides of most bridges, especially at Nordel Way.

    I’m going to ask Jarrett Walker to see what he thinks about this.

  • By Eugene Wong, June 28, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

    Jarrett said that he agrees with the idea of letting the kiss and rides be the main and first focus.

    Regarding park and rides at the highway interchanges, he said that other companies have tried the ideas already. I think that the overall cost savings would be in the price of the land. Since the cities, or whoever owns it, would not need the property, they could give/lend it out for free to the transit agencies. Not having to maintain the grass would save money, and other land could be sold for higher priced things.

    He did not comment on other things.

    Another great location for a kiss and ride would be at Matthew’s Exchange. It doesn’t need new property. It just needs a sign for a common meeting place, I think. Now that the #351 comes every 15 – 30 minutes, there is a strong incentive to drive people to Matthew’s Exchange for travel to various locations.

  • By Sheba, June 29, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

    I counted the Walnut Grove one as well, as it’s just over the border in Langley (by all of two blocks).

    Malls tend to have huge fields of parking. At least at Surrey Central they added a Best Buy (not my favorite store) in one corner where nobody parked. I much prefer malls to have either underground or rooftop parking – much better land use.

    King George Station has parking as well as a kiss and ride – I know because I use it when I visit my parents. I could see that at a lot of the Skytrain stations (can we get a map of them Jhen?). Newton Exchange is going to be redone so I could easily see one there, with maybe a mini park and ride for a couple dozen cars.

  • By Marvin B, July 2, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    I was just reading news reports about charging for all park and rides. If it comes to this, I think a smart idea is to charge more for park and rides the closer you are to Vancouver. It makes no sense to park for $2.50 at Bridgeport station when there are many good bus routes in Richmond (especially during traditional commute times. Then it’s really good.) Surrey and Delta is more where there are less routes and more people coming from far away (people park from Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack). Why should someone who commutes downtown from No.1 Road in Richmond be charged less than someone with little to no options? I work in Vancouver and travel from Abbotsford. I can’t use transit without 2 separate bus systems and then a 3 hour commute. Right now only the South Surrey park and Scott Road make sense to me. King George Station is way too high cost. If I could take a bus, I would. Don’t penalize those of us who don’t have that option by subsidizing parking for those with a really good option.

  • By ???, July 10, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

    Here’s Germany’s approach to solving the parking problem…

  • By Eugene Wong, July 11, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    I think that as long as it really is a publicity stunt, as mentioned, then it should be good. Tighter spaces means more parking in the same parking lot, which is a good thing.

    Perhaps Translink should consider doing something like this. Offer a few tight spaces for a few skilled drivers. Paint the width of the space [i.e. “7 ft”], so that it is easier for drivers to estimate how hard it is to get into. Having a narrow space is essentially a reserved parking sport for the skilled. Maybe these spaces can be placed near entrances, as a reward for good parking skills.

  • By Eugene Wong, July 12, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    Maybe Translink should build personal storage at all stations, exchanges, and park and rides. This would help to bring in revenue. I assume that Translink already owns the property, so much of the cost is already paid for. It’s a “sunk cost”. It’s only a few more million for a change at a long term revenue stream.

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