Today’s Poll

Bus exchange tackles parking problem as construction deadline looms

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
March 25th, 2024

What the downtown will lose in parking when the new transit exchange is constructed this summer it will gain later this year, say BC Transit representatives.

David Lenton — and Elise Wren — from the provincial transit authority spoke about the preliminary schematics of the new transit exchange and how it would address parking concerns over the new exchange, slated to be constructed on the 300 block of Vernon Street in June.

Despite the enthusiasm for the project’s potential to improve public transit accessibility and efficiency, concerns were raised by local businesses and residents regarding the implications for parking, traffic flow, and the overall character of the neighborhood, said Wren. A few residents questioned the location, she added, and, predominately, had concerns about the loss of parking spaces.

In response, the City of Nelson directed BC Transit to carry out additional engagements on the exchange design, amenities, and the opportunity to optimize parking availability in the area. Exchange and adjacent parking areas were modified to address the issues that were raised.



In response to these concerns, multiple design options were explored, said Wren, although Nelson City council proceeded with the project based on a preliminary design (August, 2022). It was felt the option balanced operational needs with community concerns, offering a design that minimized parking loss while enhancing safety and pedestrian access.

In several stakeholder workshops last year — conducted by Watt Consulting Group at the behest of the City and BC Transit — several themes for the 300 block of Vernon Street emerged, with the loss of parking to create the bus stops at the top of the list.

Despite some work on reconfiguring parking prior to the workshops, business owners on the street and in adjacent areas had reservations in losing parking to make way for spaces to park transit buses.

There was appreciation that some changes had been made to address a loss of parking from the initial plan presentation, said Tania Wegwitz of Watt Consulting at the time. Work had been done to explore different options in terms of what parking could be located on the 200 block of Victoria through reconfiguration, as well as other streets such as Kootenay, and try to maximize options there, she added.

In the revised plan all parking on the southeast corner of Kootenay Street at Victoria Street was restored and made standard size.

Coun. Rik Logtenberg was told by City staff that the idea would be — once the old transit exchange was taken down — to get to net zero on the parking spaces currently being offered in the downtown. It would not get the parking space numbers back in the immediate vicinity of the new exchange, but overall it would, City staff related.

“That was the intent, because in the end, we didn’t lose any parking through reconfiguration,” he iterated.

Multiple different options for parking reconfiguration were explored on other parts of Kootenay as well, with a proposed option adding five spaces over previous plans.

The public washroom for the exchange was moved to the other end of the block — on corner of Stanley at Victoria by library and police station — after much concern was expressed regarding the first washroom location.

The project will now be reviewed by BC Transit’s internal stakeholders and City staff and move to a 95 per cent detailed design and an additional review, moving along to tender drawings and documents.

Next month the project will be posted by BC Transit for construction tender to BC Bid, with a May to June construction start. Lenton said there would be five to six weeks of construction, “not a significant amount of time.”

The end of July construction is expected to be completed and exchange in-service (ICIP-funding deadline was pushed back to Oct. 31).

Further exploration in detailed design

Several items were pulled out of the workshops for development in greater detail:

  • detailed safety assessment of crosswalk placement options and trade offs;
  • opportunity for alternate approach to placement of crosswalk, curbing to retain loading zone closer to existing location and parking trade offs;
  • type of shelters to be used and detailed assessment of their placement;
  • implementation and enforcement of parking, loading zone; and
  • ongoing monitoring of how overall area is working.

Source: City of Nelson

Virtual workshop

City staff and BC Transit had engaged the Watt Consulting group to look into the following stakeholder concerns, including:

• parking loss;

• location of the public washroom;

• Victoria/Kootenay intersection improvements; and

• loss of the loading zone.

Stakeholders were contacted and invited to attend one of two zoom meetings to review the results of the work completed by the Watt Consulting Group.

Source: City of Nelson

Categories: General

Other News Stories