Today’s Poll

New location sought for downtown transit exchange

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
October 7th, 2020

The downtown transit exchange will be on the move next year, just exactly where that will be is to be determined this month.

Council was apprised by city staff on the options for the relocation of the current transit exchange — at the corner of Ward and Baker streets — in advance of a meeting with BC Transit later this month.

And the most likely location for the expanded, improved and amenity-laden transit exchange will be on the 300 block of Victoria Street, adjacent to the current Nelson Public Library.

Chief financial officer Colin McClure said the future of the Nelson Transit Exchange Centre has so far involved over 300 Nelsonites — plus stakeholders groups and a working committee — and there has been strong support for a move to Victoria Street because of the promise of good bus parking and increased amenities.

The current location at the corner of Ward and Baker streets has also proven to no longer be viable, explained city planner Alex Thumm, with it being a key downtown location and other improvements slated for area.

“There is lots of stuff happening here,” he said, adding that there were a lack of amenities at the current transit exchange and it can only handle four buses.

The Victoria Street location offers good access, minimal interference with business and good bus routing options, as well as minimal interference with restaurants that have patios, he noted.

That location would also have shelters, bench seating, improved route information and better lighting, bike parking and another public washroom, along with parking for up to seven buses.

“We feel it’s a good (location),” Thumm said.

There is there going to be a need for more buses and that’s what drives this now, McClure pointed out.

And with some funding opportunities based on federal and provincial government grants — that would pay up to 80 per cent of the project — and the Downtown Urban Design Strategy as the starting point, the project seems destined to move ahead for early next year, noted McClure.

The city has completed a number of planning reports that provided direction to council, city staff and BC Transit on transit in the city, including the need to move and expand the current exchange.

BC Transit has also identified for a number of years that current location is not adequate as the transit system has outgrown this location.

A request for decision will be brought to a regular meeting of council.

Where it comes from, where it goes

The City of Nelson is both the service provider and operator of transit in the city of Nelson.

However, that is not the whole of the story as, in order to do so, the city has to enter into an operating agreement with BC Transit to provide the service.

The city is also part of the West Kootenay Transit system which created a structure to integrate transit throughout the West Kootenay, and do region wide planning.

The WKT committee makes recommendations where necessary and each of the three local governments — the City of Nelson, the RDCK and the RDKB — make final decisions on changes in their service area.

— Source: City of Nelson

What is a transit exchange

Transit exchanges support transit service levels and transit network design, and are needed when the number of buses exceeds the ability of the street network to efficiently allow passengers to access multiple routes.

Transit exchanges are typically located within the activity centres of a community, such as downtown or shopping malls in order to reinforce the relationship with land use patterns.

It is important that transit exchanges provide the following: weather protection, seating, transit route and schedule information, lighting and bicycle parking.

— Source: City of Nelson staff report

West Kootenay Transit

West Kootenay Transit System (formerly known as Kootenay Boundary Transit System) is the public transit system in Nelson, Trail, Castlegar and surrounding area. The transit service operated by Nelson Transit, Trail Transit and Arrow Slocan Lakes Community Service also provides service to Slocan, Nakusp, Kaslo, Montrose and Fruitvale.

West Kootenay Transit is funded by a joint partnership between the Regional Districts of Central Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary and BC Transit.

Categories: General

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