May 5, 2007

Parking lot plan drives councillor mad

Go Transit is a popular form of transportation within the GTA. Is possible, with their obsession for large parking lots, that they are driving customers from local DRT buses?

Thanks to the News Durham Region for the following report.

Plans to build a three-level parking garage at the Whitby GO station is "absolute madness", says a local councillor.

"They're adding 900 more cars," said Councillor Joe Drumm in an interview. "Henry Street, Brock Street, Baseline Road and Victoria Street are at full capacity now."

"It's going to be absolute chaos."

GO Transit has been working on the project for a couple of years, said spokes-woman Stephanie Sorensen.

It plans to tender the garage this summer with construction to be complete by fall 2008.

The three-level structure will be built in the northwest corner of the south parking lot adjacent to Henry Street and house 900 new parking spaces, she said.

GO Transit currently leases 200 parking spaces for overflow parking at Iroquois Park Sports Centre, as well as 10 parking spaces for commuters at the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin.

It also added some parking several years ago when the Whitby Jail on Victoria Street was demolished.

"It's definitely one of our busier stations," said Ms. Sorensen, adding, "Many of our lots are at capacity. It's why we're always looking to add parking spaces."

Once built, the parking garage will be a "long-term solution" to any need for more spaces at the Whitby GO station, she said.

Coun. Drumm worries about adding more cars without first upgrading exits and entrances from the station.

"I've always said they should put another GO station at Lakeridge Road that could service east Ajax and west Whitby," he said.

Brooklin commuters could also use it easily by traveling along Lakeridge Road, Coun. Drumm argued.

Whitby Town council once recommended the Lakeridge station be put in the Region's Official Plan, but the request didn't go anywhere, he added.

"Our population isn't going to go down and we're certainly not attracting the type of industry we need out here," Coun. Drumm said.

GO Transit has tried to encourage commuters to leave their cars at home by creating a fare integration system with local buses and by expanding their kiss-and-ride program, said Ms. Sorensen.

For customers who absolutely need their vehicles, there is a reserved parking program. A set number of spaces located close to the station are available to lease for $59.47 each month for a minimum of six months.

"It's a service becoming increasingly popular," added Ms. Sorensen.


Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Andy that we should pump more money into Local Transit but Local Transit needs to start responding to people's needs too.

The first issue is that some local transit, Burlington Transit for one does not offer student fares so my son has to pay $100 a month to get to school or I have to drive him. If I am already driving him then I might as well go the little bit further and park at the train.

Second issue: The local transit does not line up properly with express go trains, they duplicate service with the go buses in some cases, so people are left either waiting for the bus or waiting for the train for long periods of time.

Third issue: I am already paying for two transit passes costing me over $300 a month to get to work. Another $100 pass would make that $400. Already the $300 I pay for my transit is too high for the goverment, so they sent me a paper demanding I fax in my transit receipts because that is too much to pay for transit. Once we get a decent discount plan that will help too.

The interesting thing about the expanded parking lot in Burlington is that they are also putting in a walmart south of the go station meaning traffic is going to be very chaotic.

Anonymous said...

Parking is a nightmare at the Whitby GO Station. By 6:30am the North lot is completely full, and by 7:30am it's becomming very slim pickings in the South lot (despite the extra spaces generated when they tore down the jail a few years back).

I currently catch the 4:10pm train leaving Union Station so I can make a fairly speedy exit from the lot. The next 2 trains (4:25 & 4:53) provide a greater challenge because when the 4:25 pulls into Whitby, commuters are stuck behind us 4:10 commuters still trying to exit the South lot. Same story for those on the 4:53, etc, etc... So 900 more spaces will only create a log jam of cars unless the infrastructure is invested to better the exit routes.