While Whistlerites got their first look at the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) draft 2028 Transportation Action Plan—a comprehensive, forward-looking document covering proposed transportation actions from 2020 to 2028—at an info session on Sept. 18, the plan won't officially be considered by council until Oct. 3.
"Really this is coming to the end of almost three years ... of the Transportation Advisory Group (TAG) pulling together lots of information and eventually developing this long-term action plan," said general manager of infrastructure James Hallisey, in a presentation to council.
"We looked at the short-term and more immediate things that we can do, and we actually did a bunch of great stuff already, and now we've moved into the medium and long-term actions that will take a little longer to realize the impact of, but we're still moving this forward."
The long-term plan lays out broad targets for transportation over the next decade, with proposed actions organized by seven goals: providing a quality, safe and accessible travel experience for everyone in Whistler; integrating the transportation system with land use planning to minimize the need to travel by vehicle; minimizing greenhouse gas emissions; supporting increased transit and other preferred modes; ensuring the transportation system anticipates future needs and growth in a cost-effective manner; ensuring resiliency by providing viable alternative road, railway, water and air transport routes, and; ensuring that the transportation system respects Whistler's natural environment, minimizes climate impacts, and improves the livability of the resort community.
Actions taken so far by TAG—like the reintroduction of pay parking, with revenues used to help transit and cycling initiatives—have been effective, said community transportation planner Richard Drudl in a presentation to council on Sept. 18.
Though 2018 highway traffic, visitor and skier numbers are tracking close to 2017 and 2016, parking availability has generally been better in both the village and Day Lots on days surveyed, Drudl said.
"We went over our 90-per-cent target this summer on the BC Day long weekend ... still not as bad though as what we saw two years ago—two years ago, it was a zoo in the Day Lots, especially on the long weekend. People were just parking their cars wherever they could find an empty spot," Drudl said.
But as pay parking spots have freed up, residential streets near the village have seen an influx of parking themselves.
Surveyors counted 80 cars parked in neighbourhoods near the village on BC Day this year, compared to a low of 14 on Feb. 18.
"It's clearly an issue throughout the community that there is localized problems with parking on residential streets, near popular attractions, near the village, near trailheads," Drudl said.
"The TAG is aware of this. My caution to them in developing solutions is to make sure that whatever solution is developed is something that treats the municipality as a whole on an equitable basis so that we're not necessarily targeting or penalizing some neighbourhoods and not other ones."
Overall, the RMOW is seeing good results in the village, but has room to improve in the Day Lots, Drudl said.
"We are seeing problems continuing with overtime parking, so there's a need for increased enforcement in parking lots with time limits, and private lots, as we've found before, have parking available, but it may be limited at some times," he said.
"We can still look at ways we can price parking and how we sell parking passes."
Meanwhile, free parking is once again in effect in Day Lots 4 and 5 until Dec. 15.
Learn more at www.whistler.ca/moving whistler.