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Park and rides: let’s talk about them

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.


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