Enhancing Transportation

2016 Parking Study ReportThe Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and its partners are moving ahead on several initiatives to improve transportation within Whistler and across the Sea to Sky Corridor.

Photo by Mike Crane

Regional Transit Open House

BC Transit is hosting a public engagement session on March 2 from 4:30 - 7:00 p.m. at the Whistler Public Library. The goal is to better understand the feedback shared through the recent online survey. Information about portential rate fares and service funding options will be presented for discussion.

More information can be found at www.bctransit.com/seatosky

Transportation Community Feedback

Thanks to the 200 community members who attended the Transportation Community Forum on January 17, and  the 512 people who provided feedback through the online survey.

Whistler’s Transportation Advisory Group will use the input collected through the survey, as well as discussions at the forum, to develop future action plans.

Whistler Transportation Community Forum photo credit: Justa Jeskova  View the Transportation Community Forum presentation.

  View the forum action strategies:

Transportation Advisory Group

The Transportation Advisory Group (TAG) has been re-activated in response to transportation and parking pressure in and around Whistler. TAG is composed of a group of diverse stakeholders representing the RMOW, Whistler Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, BC Transit, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and four citizens-at-large.

TAG is in the process of finalizing its short-term action plan based on months of research on the use of Whistler’s highways, roads, parking and transit. Medium and long-term actions will be released in late 2017.

Research undertaken to inform the short-term action plan includes:

Key research highlights

TAG’s research highlights that will be presented in more detail at the Transportation Community Forum include:

  • Traffic levels in Whistler were significantly higher in 2016 compared to historic levels. While trips coming in from outside of Whistler both north and south have grown, a large portion of daily traffic measured by the  Highway 99 traffic counters was generated by trips within Whistler. This presents an opportunity to reduce congestion by shifting behaviour so people take fewer vehicle trips when in Whistler.
  • Parking should be managed to ensure a better customer experience, with the goal of 10 to 15 per cent availability during a regular busy day. Read the release and the full report.
  • Transit ridership in Whistler is high compared to other communities in British Columbia however, there is still room to grow ridership. Additional hours will be added to the system in April 2017, as well as additional buses to the fleet in 2018. The 2016 free summer Saturday pilot project, which provided more free transit until 8 p.m., resulted in a 52 per cent increase in ridership, with many people citing the hassle of finding parking as a major reason for choosing to take transit on those six Saturdays.
  • The RMOW has partnered with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to develop a traffic simulation computer model to help gauge how future scenarios will impact transportation on Highway 99 from Horseshoe Bay through to Pemberton. A detailed report will be provided to TAG in 2017.

2017 short-term actions

TAG’s proposed short-term actions that will be presented at the Transportation Community Forum comprise the following:

Winter actions

  • Efficiencies on Highway 99 such as optimizing signal times.
  • Refinements to the transit winter schedule, including increasing the number of buses on the Staff Housing Route 7 after 8 p.m. The complimentary shuttle times from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. are sponsored by Whistler Blackcomb, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Gibbons Life.
  • Improving peak day operations, in collaboration with resort partners, for parking, traffic flow, transit and communications.
  • Better parking management, such as car counting for parking lots and message boards on Highway 99.
  • Ensuring peak travel information is communicated to the public as effectively as possible. 

Summer actions

  • Additional peak day planning.
  • Additional Whistler Transit System improvements.
  • Integration of the results from the Sea to Sky Highway Road Closures Assessment.
  • Better parking information and management. The parking study has put forward a number of findings to achieve that goal, including reducing time limits in high demand areas, consider charging for parking in Day Lots 1 through 5, reconsidering monthly parking pass pricing and helping encouraging the public to use private lots and other modes of transportation. Read the release.
  • Enhanced peak travel information communication with the public.

Other highlighted strategies and announcements

Transit photo by Mike Crane
Sea to Sky Transit Future Plan

BC Transit, in collaboration with local government partners, has developed a 25-year Transit Future Plan for the Sea to Sky Corridor. Learn more.

Transit photo by Mike Crane
Multi-year transit expansion starting April 2017

Between 2017 and 2019, a total of 8,250 extra hours and three new buses may be added to the Whistler Transit System, providing enhanced bus service to commuters throughout the Whistler valley. Learn more.

CNG announcement photo
Natural gas compressor coming to Whistler

The Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia recently announced a $3.2 million investment in the BC Transit facility in Whistler. The funding will allow BC Transit to install a new natural gas compressor and fuelling station to support buses that run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Learn more.

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