Park and Ride woes in new LRT system
Prospective LRT riders at Blair Station's park and ride have a long walk to the station if they’re lucky enough to hold a parking pass.
The city admits there will be some growing pains as part of the new light rail setup. Some commuters remain optimistic; while others are skeptical the system is convenient for those parking their cars, hoping to ride the rails.
“Especially in the winter, it's a long walk, it's a long walk,” said Chris Ojala “Very small and there's no park and ride at the Gloucester centre.”
“Get snow shoes I guess,” said OC Transpo rider Chantal Rebane. “I'm surprised they didn't think of that.”
Yellow signs warning drivers not park in the mall’s neighbouring lots line the perimeter of the shopping centre. The OC Transpo park and ride designated lot is nearly a kilometre away from the entrance gates to the LRT. The park and ride lot is reserved for gold permit holders only.
Before winter hits, changes to east-end bus schedules and routes will likely add to commuter confusion.
“For some people there will be an extra transfer and I’m sure members of the media will find those individuals,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “But there are a lot of other people who will be better-served.”
Mayor Watson points to efficiencies through the city, including Slater and Albert streets. Commuters like Ottawa resident Samantha Martin are not happy with the changes.
“I'm going to have to transfer now, when I can take one bus, I’m going to have to take 5 minutes out of my time, get up earlier, take the bus earlier and walk,” said Martin, who stood outside Hurdman station where there is no park and ride for commuters; those wishing to take the LRT will have to use a bus, or walk, to arrive at Hurdman. “All these changes going on, are pretty stressful,” said Martin.
Riders at Blair are wary of the potential commuter chaos for the first days and weeks.
“I'm not waiting till the last minute till I’ve got to go to work, I want to know what it's like,” Gloria MacMorran said as she walked down the stairs at Blair station.
The city promises to monitor the issues on a case-by-case basis.
“If that becomes a big problem here in the city where everybody is saying now I’m going to have to walk a lot farther there's things we can do to help with that,” said Councillor Allan Hubley; who serves as Ottawa’s Transit chair.
The ByWard Market BIA will be holding guided tours this weekend to help commuters from Rideau station. Businesses in the market, have waited years to bring tens of thousands more downtown, in minutes.
“The first day and the first week to see how things go to see is there a cancellation, is there delays, is there unexpected impacts, let's hope that everything goes well,” said Councillor Mathieu Fleury.