City council to move park-and-ride terminal to Chinook Winds
Airdrie City council is moving the Co-op park-and-ride terminal to Chinook Winds Park as an interim solution for parking problems in the area starting in March. The solution will be in place until the summer of 2014.
The decision was made at a regular council meeting, Jan. 21, as a result of concerns expressed by the management of Airdrie’s Calgary Co-op, which has hosted an unofficial park-and-ride facility since Oct. 21, 2010.
According to a City staff report, the east portion of the Co-op’s parking lot, which has been set aside for transit, sees about 50 vehicles each day.
“I firmly believe at the moment (the move) is the only option,” said Mayor Peter Brown. “I think it’s a great way to use the existing city transit system. In the interim it’s a good solution.”
Brown said management at the Sierra Springs Co-op has proven to be extremely helpful.
“We really want to thank the Co-op for being tremendous corporate citizens,” he said.
Alderman Allan Hunter agreed.
“I can’t say enough about the Co-op and their willingness to help out,” he said. “That is a great corporate citizen.”
Launched in October 2010, the regional Intercity Express Service (ICE) provides a two-way public transit connection between Airdrie and downtown Calgary.
ICE ridership has grown annually with 82,422 passenger trips in 2012.
According to the staff report, this growth has sparked a number of challenges, such as the need for a dedicated park-and-ride terminal.
Staff recommended the facility be built in the last two capital budgets, but council deferred the nearly $2.2-million project because of budget constraints, said Brown.
“It was removed from this year’s budget, but City administration is actively pursuing (solutions),” he said.
“Obviously, we are always looking for the most cost-effective solution, so that could again mean partnering with another business.”
Airdrie’s official park-and-ride facility is at the Ron Ebbesen Arena and sees about 23 vehicles per day, stated the report.
Co-op management began expressing concern last February and in December, Airdrie Transit announced Route 901, which covers the east side of the city, would no longer stop at the Co-op.
The change was effective Jan. 1, while the removal of the second route (902 west) will be effective March 1.
Since removing Route 901, the City has received about 30 complaints from dissatisfied customers.
Brown said moving the park-and-ride facility to Chinook Winds, near the baseball diamond, should be seamless.
“There isn’t going to be much of a service change,” he said, adding the City is looking for cost efficiencies for transit.
According to the staff report, there will be minor adjustments to Airdrie’s local transit service to allow passengers to connect with the ICE service at the new location. The report went on to state departure times from Airdrie to Calgary will remain unchanged.
Collector streets in Prairie Springs and Windsong will also be used for the realignment of Route 902.