The RMOW has reversed a decision to allow parking on a section of Blackcomb Way after residents spoke out about the potential safety risks to both drivers and pedestrians. Earlier this summer, the municipality began allowing parking on Blackcomb Way in the vicinity of Lost Lake Road. But the RMOW will no longer permit parking on the street after it began hearing from neighbourhood residents — the decision was made without prior community consultation.
"It didn't require public consultation in the sense of it being illegal to change parking regulations without consultation," explained Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, "but when you change something like parking, it's always good to talk to the neighbourhood first."
Forest Creek resident Matthew Cicci was one of the community members who spoke out, writing a letter to council that outlined his concerns over allowing parking on the narrow stretch of road.
"I was compelled by the danger that those new regulations presented to pedestrians and bikes on that part of Blackcomb Way," he said. "All of Blackcomb Way is not the same. The further north you go up that road, the thinner the road gets and the shoulder disappears, so with cars parking on both sides, there's not enough shoulder, so (pedestrians) have got to trespass onto the road."
Wilhelm-Morden was unsure if staff would consider allowing parking on Blackcomb Way once again, but said there will be extensive public consultation done if that's the case.
With Whistler enjoying another record-breaking summer, the use of community parks has ramped up, said Wilhelm-Morden, and the decision to allow parking on Blackcomb Way was designed to deal with congestion at nearby Lost Lake Park. In the meantime, the municipality is encouraging the public to park in the day lots and take the free shuttle bus when visiting Lost Lake Park.
"Overall we know that demand for parking has increased this summer and there's been higher occupancy rates in all of the municipal parking lots," Wilhelm-Morden added. "I know that (municipal) staff has been meeting amongst themselves to discuss what parking next year might look like because we've heard about parking issues at Lakeside and we've see spillover at Rainbow."
While the RMOW doesn't have confirmed revenue figures from on-street parking this summer, July day-lot revenues were consistent with last year.
Wilhelm-Morden said the Transportation Advisory Group, a municipal committee tasked with the planning and implementation of transportation options that has been dormant for several years, will be restarted this fall to look at "a number of traffic flows and parking issues both within and immediately outside the municipality."