Transportation OCP

Chapter 11

What it’s about

Moving people and goods to, from and within Whistler.

Whistler’s transportation system is integral to the livability and success of Whistler as a resort community. Whistler’s transportation system efficiently and affordably moves people and products to, from and within Whistler, while delivering a high quality experience and minimizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and negative impacts on natural areas. Whistler residents and visitors walk, cycle and use public transit, supported by excellent transportation infrastructure oriented to these methods of travel. Whistler also keeps current with transportation-related technology innovations. As a result, residents and visitors of all ages and abilities increasingly choose preferred modes of transportation over single occupancy vehicle trips.

Whistler’s local transit system continues to deliver a safe, convenient, accessible and reliable transit service appropriate for our climate, culture and economy. Our transit system is efficient and cost-effective, while maintaining affordability and the highest possible customer satisfaction. With a wide range and frequency of regional bus services, travel to Vancouver and beyond also meets these standards.

Our road system is safe for all users, all the way from Highway 99 to our neighbourhood streets. The Valley Trail and other trail connections provide a safe and convenient system for active transportation throughout the whole community.

Whistler relies on efficient transportation infrastructure to transport people and products to, from and within the resort community. Initiatives have been undertaken to promote shifts to preferred, non-automobile modes of transportation to help alleviate current traffic and parking congestion within Whistler and reduce GHG emissions. Highway 99, the municipal road network, transit infrastructure, the Valley Trail system and pedestrian and bicycle networks are regularly upgraded to ensure people have many options for travelling in Whistler. This infrastructure is shown in Schedules E1 and E3.

Whistler has relatively high participation in preferred methods of travel including walking, cycling, transit and carpooling. The Whistler Transit System is one of the top-performing systems in British Columbia, experiencing among the highest ridership in the province. However, with a growing year-round population and more visitors, Whistler has faced increasing transportation challenges in recent years, including traffic congestion on Highway 99, difficulty finding parking, crowded transit buses and delays in responding to highway accidents. To address these challenges and improve the performance of the transportation system, Whistler’s Transportation Advisory Group developed Whistler’s Transportation Action Plan that will guide transportation solutions in the years to come.

Click the ‘Objectives & Policies’ to display additional content.

11.1. Goal Provide a quality travel experience for all visitors, employees and residents, and promote a culture of safety and accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

11.1.1. Objective

Maintain and improve safety on Highway 99 to and from Whistler and on all roads within Whistler. Policy

Collaborate with the provincial government to maintain and enhance the safety and reliability of Highway 99 in all areas, including effective snow clearing and removal, access management, active transportation, land use, pollution (noise and environmental) and environmental impacts. Policy

Work with resort community stakeholders to promote road safety with residents and visitors. Policy

Reduce conflicts between all types of users, including pedestrians, cyclists, persons with disabilities and other forms of active and personal transportation. Policy

Incorporate appropriate transit infrastructure and traffic-calming measures that improve livability and safety when reconstructing existing roads or developing new roadways in accordance with the Municipal Traffic Calming Policy. Policy

Improve wayfinding for all modes of transportation. Policy

Require all new developments and road infrastructure to comply with provincial and municipal emergency response (fire, ambulance, police) regulations and guidelines.

11.1.2. Objective

Continually improve the accessibility of the transportation system. Policy

Establish routes for all modes of local travel between neighbourhoods away from Highway 99, where viable, to reduce congestion and improve safety on Highway 99. Policy

Recognizing that Highway 99 is considered a Controlled Access Highway by the Province and a key piece of roadway infrastructure within Whistler, work with the provincial government to improve access to Highway 99 from the local road network, including at unsignalized intersections, in a way that minimizes delays and congestion. Policy

Work with the provincial government to ensure that the regional uses of the highway are compatible with local priorities. Policy

Maintain roads and priority sections of the Valley Trail for year-round use. Policy

Support the development of cost-effective facilities that centralize multi-modal transportation within Whistler Village and Whistler Creek. Policy

Eliminate barriers to those with mobility challenges through the design of transportation infrastructure, such as sidewalk curbs, intersections and parking lots. Policy

During construction and maintenance activities, ensure the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and those with mobility challenges are given equal consideration to the needs of those using motor vehicles.

11.1.3. Objective

Improve the physical environment for everyone using the transportation system. Policy

Prioritize the preferred modes of transportation in the following order to achieve a balanced transportation system:

  • (a) walking;
  • (b) cycling;
  • (c) mass transit (local transit, highway coaches, smaller shuttle buses) and the movement of goods;
  • (d) publicly accessible transportation (ridesharing, shared vehicles, etc.);
  • (e) private automobile (high occupancy motor vehicles and leading low-environmental-impact technologies); and
  • (f) private automobile (single occupancy motor vehicles, traditional technology). Policy

Ensure convenient, safe and accessible infrastructure for those using preferred modes of transportation. Policy

Minimize removal of vegetation and natural features when implementing changes in transportation infrastructure. Policy

Collaborate with the provincial government to enhance the character of Highway 99, so that the approach to Whistler is as vibrant and unique as Whistler itself. Policy

Manage parking in designated parking areas throughout the resort community to ensure adequate availability of parking that supports Whistler’s transportation goals.

11.2. Goal Integrate the transportation system with land use planning to minimize the need for travel by motor vehicle.

11.2.1. Objective

Support compact and higher density development in proximity to existing commercial services, transit stops and the Valley Trail, and provide sufficient transit frequency to higher density residential areas. Policy

Plan and design neighbourhoods for location efficient living, working and playing. Policy

Ensure that new housing developments consider proximity to existing commercial services, existing and proposed transit routes, and the Valley Trail. Policy

Develop and acquire pedestrian and bicycle connections within and through neighbourhoods where possible. Policy

Strive to include commercial services when planning residential developments to increase walkability and reduce the need to travel by automobile.

11.2.2. Objective

Maximize the number of visiting skiers who are able to stay within convenient walking distance of the ski lifts. Policy

Plan developments and renovations to maximize the number of ski-in/ out trails. Policy

Plan ski lift staging areas to minimize skier walking distances.

11.3. Goal Minimize GHG emissions created by the transportation system.

11.3.1. Objective

Support new technologies that reduce GHG emissions. Policy

Support innovative technological advances in transportation that reduce GHG emissions and are appropriate to Whistler’s climate. Policy

Encourage increased use of more fuel-efficient private and public vehicles. Policy

Support technology that promotes more efficient transportation choices.

11.3.1. Objective

Support new technologies that reduce GHG emissions. Policy

Support innovative technological advances in transportation that reduce GHG emissions and are appropriate to Whistler’s climate. Policy

Encourage increased use of more fuel-efficient private and public vehicles. Policy

Support technology that promotes more efficient transportation choices.

11.4. Goal Support the increased use of preferred modes of transportation for all travel purposes to reduce dependence on private motor vehicles.

11.4.1. Objective

Give priority to walking, cycling, transit and other preferred modes over the single occupant vehicle and private automobile. Policy

Work with the provincial government to encourage and support preferred modes of transportation in the Highway 99 corridor. Policy

Strive to make preferred modes of transportation affordable, convenient, safe and enjoyable throughout the year. Policy

Encourage residents and visitors to shift from private motor vehicles to preferred modes of transportation through incentives, removal of hidden subsidies, education and awareness. Policy

Maintain a trail network throughout the valley, as shown in Schedules E1, E2 and E3, that encourages year-round use of preferred modes of transportation. Policy

Implement the recommendations of the Whistler Transportation Cycling Plan and the Whistler Recreational Cycling Plan in the development of the pedestrian and bicycle network on a prioritized basis. Policy

Encourage and support the development of infrastructure required for passenger arrival and departure using preferred modes of transportation to and from the resort community. Policy

Support car-sharing opportunities. Policy

When new transportation funding sources become available, use them to support preferred modes of transportation.

11.4.2. Objective

Make public transit affordable, convenient, safe and enjoyable throughout the year. Policy

Continue to operate a successful and accessible transit system in collaboration with funding and operating partners, expanding service area coverage and frequency as demand and resources permit as shown on the Whistler Future Local Transit Network Map in the Transit Future Plan Sea to Sky. Policy

Work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and BC Transit to create opportunities to prioritize transit vehicles over general-purpose traffic. Policy

Implement the recommendations of the Sea to Sky Transit Future Plan that are related to the Whistler Transit System and the Regional/Interregional Transit System. Policy

Work with BC Transit to continuously improve customer information. Policy

Work with public and private land owners to provide safe pedestrian routes to all transit stops in all neighbourhoods. Policy

Work with the provincial government and local stakeholders to improve transit frequency and affordability.

11.5. Goal Ensure the transportation system cost-effectively meets and anticipates the resort community’s future needs and population growth.

11.5.1. Objective

Implement transportation demand management strategies to ensure the transportation system can meet the resort’s needs cost-effectively. Policy

Continue to monitor and implement the Transportation Advisory Group Whistler Transportation Action Plan 2018-2028  and work with resort businesses to ensure parking demand can be accommodated by the existing parking infrastructure. Policy

Shift travel demand away from critically congested links during peak periods. Policy

Shift discretionary travel to off-peak times to reduce peak period congestion. Policy

Explore strategies to enable more efficient movement of goods to, from and within Whistler. Policy

Continue to regularly review transit demand and plan for local and regional service, infrastructure upgrades and facility expansions when appropriate.

11.5.2. Objective

Maintain and construct infrastructure to ensure the transportation system can meet the resort’s needs cost-effectively. Policy

Design the road network to accommodate winter and summer average peak period conditions at reasonable levels of service to users. Policy

Provide for the efficient delivery of goods to activity centres. Policy

Work with BC Transit and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to implement a regional transit system. Policy

Consider the creation of future satellite skier parking areas at the periphery of the resort community to help preserve economic viability and positive visitor experiences. Policy

Monitor and evaluate impacts of new transportation technologies and services on the resort experience, environment, community livability and safety. Policy

Plan and design new transportation facilities (and improvements to existing facilities) to fit with the natural landscape and enhance, rather than compromise, visitors’ experience.

11.5.3. Objective

Work collaboratively with all transportation partners (including First Nations, public and private stakeholders) to monitor and improve local and regional transportation. Policy

Work with the provincial government, regional stakeholders, BC Transit, Lil’wat Nation, Squamish Nation and private sector to develop an accessible, frequent and affordable regional/interregional transit service that meets the travel needs of Sea to Sky residents and employees. Policy

Work with the provincial government, passenger carriers and regional stakeholders to maintain and enhance year-round regional/interregional public transportation for visitors. Policy

Seek cost-sharing opportunities with senior levels of government, stakeholders and other partners when possible for the transportation system. Policy

Work with the railway companies and government regulators to review and where required improve the safety, accessibility and affordability of railway crossings (roads and the Valley Trail) within the resort community.

11.6. Goal Ensure the resiliency of Whistler’s transportation system by providing viable alternative road, railway, water and air transport routes to, from and within the resort community.

11.6.1. Objective

Work with transportation partners to provide alternative transportation routes and services, including for movement of goods. Policy

Continue to encourage the provincial government and private sector to pursue the return of higher-volume affordable and more frequent passenger rail service to Whistler and to continue to maintain space, including through the purchasing of land, for future stations and other rail passenger and freight infrastructure compatible with the return of this service. Policy

Maintain space, including through the purchasing of land, for future opportunities that would allow movement of products by rail to Whistler. Policy

Support the continued operation of the existing float plane site at Green Lake to concentrate float plane activity at this location in cooperation with Transport Canada, the aviation community and the provincial government as the issuer of Crown land tenure, but discourage any additional locations for these same services. Policy

Maintain ownership/leasehold of the Municipal Heliport and continue to work with the Whistler Heliport Society to concentrate helicopter activity at this location, as a means of protecting the community from noise and other helicopter traffic impacts.

11.7. Goal Ensure the transportation system respects Whistler’s natural environment, minimizes climate impacts and improves the livability of the resort community.

11.7.1. Objective

Build, maintain and monitor transportation infrastructure, services and operations that do not negatively impact the natural environment. Policy

Minimize impact on natural and environmentally sensitive areas from improvements to or maintenance of the transportation system. Policy

Discourage further commercial and private helicopter or aircraft facilities within the developed areas of Whistler, particularly Whistler Village and Whistler Creek. Policy

Work with transport operators and the federal and provincial governments to enforce vehicle emission and noise regulations, and support initiatives to introduce stricter regulations leveraging advances in motor vehicle technology. Policy

Continue to prohibit motor vehicles (as defined by the Motor Vehicle Act) from all pedestrian areas, the Valley Trail network and parks. Policy

Minimize the impact of transportation systems on areas with social, environmental, recreational, historic, archeological or cultural significance. Policy

Maintain and enforce an anti-idling policy throughout the resort community.

11.7.2. Objective

Build and maintain transportation infrastructure and services that positively impact community livability. Policy

Ensure that the development of a safe local network road system, as shown in Schedule E3, minimizes negative impacts on neighbourhoods, subdivisions or other developed areas. Policy

Use leading practices and technical standards for designing sustainable neighbourhood road network infrastructure. Policy

Avoid road modifications that compromise Whistler’s livability, attractiveness or economic viability.

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