Friday, December 01, 2017

Responding to Metrolinx’s Plan: “More Transit - Less Parking”

An important document for pubic transit is Metrolinx's Draft 2041 Regional Transportation Plan.

You can read that document at 

Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit (BFAST) is interested in this plan. BFAST is a group that advocates for better transit service in Burlington. They aim to make Burlington Transit more convenient, reliable, accessible and affordable and enhance Burlington’s economy and quality of life.

I was around Burlington and involved in the formation of this group six or so years ago.  Since then BFAST has done a good job making their case but have not been listened to by short sighted, narrow minded decision makers in Burlington. 
BFAST's Doug Brown 

Doug Brown is BFAST’s Chair.  Following are Doug’s comments from a recent consultation on that plan. 

In the "Big Move" 25% of funding was to go to the Greater Toronto Hamilton area (GTHA) municipalities. Of this 25%, 15% was to support local transit improvements. This funding should have resulted in an infusion of $300 million annually to local transit systems. Such a commitment would have resulted in large improvements to local transit. 

However, this commitment has quietly disappeared from the Big Move and from the 2041 draft Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).

Instead, we have more parking planned at GO stations!  It looks like the first mile/last mile will be by car for most GO users.

Even using the lower parking scenario, GO will be creating 30,000 additional spaces. Using the estimate of $40,000/space (the Clarkson parking facility cost $40 million to create 1000 spaces) means that these additional spaces will cost will more $1.2 Billion! 

It would be far more cost effective to invest this money in local transit. 
Clarkson GO Parking - $40,000 per spot

In addition, the large parking lots and parking garages surrounding suburban stations will create large barren parking zones. This will make it more difficult to develop pedestrian-friendly mobility hubs around each station. 

Also, Metrolinx should be charging for parking at GO Stations. A recent study in Hamilton clearly showed that paid parking will greatly increase the transit modal share1 . Metrolinx needs to review the extensive research on parking strategies carried out by Shoup et al2.


1. Pinder, Matt: By the Numbers: Impacts of Paid Parking at Work on Commuter Modal Share, Published July 08, 2015 in "Raise the Hammer"
2. Shoup, Donald:  The High Cost of Free Parking:  Updated Edition Paperback– Apr 1 2011

Metrolinx Meeting

There will be a report back on the Draft 2041 Regional Transportation Plan at a Metrolinx Board meeting. That meeting takes place at Metrolinx, Thursday December 7th at 11:10 a.m. Union Station West Wing, Peter R. Smith Boardroom 97 Front St W, 4th floor.

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