Whitehorse Daily Star

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Transit manager Cheri Malo

Dedicated transit lane deemed a success as experiment ends

Transit riders heading out of Riverdale will once again be back in the regular traffic mix next week.

By Whitehorse Star on January 19, 2018

Transit riders heading out of Riverdale will once again be back in the regular traffic mix next week. The city’s week-long experiment with a dedicated bus lane reached the end of the line this morning.

Transit manager Cheri Malo told the Star she recognized there were fewer vehicles on Lewes Boulevard throughout the week.

Students at both F.H. Collins Secondary and Vanier Catholic Secondary schools had exams this week, and classes were not scheduled as usual.

Today was especially quiet, Malo noted. All schools – including the nearly half-dozen in Riverdale – are closed to students for a teachers’ professional development day.

Despite the unusual circumstances impacting traffic, Malo said overall, the experimental lane proved to be successful. It used the boulevard’s cycling lane, and was indicated with pylons during peak traffic hours – 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

“It went really well,” she said.

City staff were pleasantly surprised to hear from a number of transit passengers in Porter Creek who were happy to have their buses arrive as scheduled rather than being late.

Delays in other areas often ensue when buses in Riverdale have to move in and out of the congested traffic there in the morning.

The Riverdale North Porter Creek express route provides passengers with service during peak hours through the week with a schedule between that travels from Riverdale to Porter Creek in the early-morning hours.

Along with riders from Porter Creek, those getting on at other stops along the way told officials that knowing the bus would arrive on time meant not having to put on as many layers of clothing as they normally do when they don’t know how long the bus will take to arrive.

The city also heard from cyclists, Malo said.

Many commented that they enjoyed the safety offered as drivers in personal vehicles stayed out of the dedicated cycling/transit lane, she said.

Malo said there also seemed to be an increase in the number of commuters travelling by bike from Riverdale from the first part of the week to the end.

A number of those commenting on the dedicated cycling/transit route told the city “they wished the lane would stay.”

For now though, that’s not to be. The city will be looking at ridership figures and such from this week’s experiment along with the results of a survey that will close Monday.

That information will then be used to inform the city’s master plan for transit, which is expected to be presented to council in March.

From there, the city would decide if it wants to proceed: whether that be a more permanent bus and cycling lane put in place, keeping things as they are, or perhaps other options that may arise.

Bus ridership figures for the week were not available this morning.

Malo said it’s expected they’ll be available by early next week.

Comments (13)

Up 1 Down 1

jc on Jan 22, 2018 at 9:04 pm

Well, it needed to be done. Let them go over the data and make a final decision. As far a smaller buses, apparently, they are no more cost effective.

Up 4 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Jan 22, 2018 at 5:38 pm

I think too many City planners believe they are playing SIM City or a similar planning game and fail to understand the gravity of their errors. If you are going to test a theory, test it in the scenario that represents the problem you are trying to fix. To call this week long farce a test does no service to the integrity of the planning department and it's time to stop believing your own BS and do the job you're paid to do. Yes we tax payers have expectations that are not being met thus far.

Up 4 Down 2

ProScience Greenie on Jan 22, 2018 at 12:45 pm

CoW is trying to run a transit system that would work fine in a city of 100K or more but it's big time overkill for the much smaller city of Whitehorse. It's all about green feel-good optics, ego and too often completely made up BS to justify the huge amount of taxpayers money involved and to hide the gross inefficiency of it all.

They really need to hit the reset button and design a transit system from the ground up that actually does the job in an efficient manner.

Up 4 Down 1

R'Dale on Jan 21, 2018 at 7:04 pm

The bridge isn't the issue. It's the intersection of Lewes and Hospital road.
I'd suggest a traffic circle rather than the current lights, but the good citizens of our fine city have never been able to grasp the rather rudimentary skills required to navigate such hazards, hence the lights. That's the choke point, prior to the lights being installed, it was easier to leave Riverdale, but not so easy to get onto Hospital road coming over the bridge.
-Riverdale is not growing, wherever did you get that idea??
-The paved path alongside Lewes is multi-use, as is the bridge sidewalk, it was widened for that purpose.
-Parents dropping off their kids and school employees add to the congestion. Vehicles leaving the Selkirk/FHC parking lot have to cross the S bound lane and attempt to get into the traffic flow North bound, this slows it down.
-Rush minute is a joke, it's what, 10 minutes of inconvenience? Get up and go to work a bit earlier, maybe arrange with your work to start a bit later, walk or bike (heavens!!) or, gasp, take the bus which is apparently grossly underused.
Sit back and watch all the triggered snowflakes froth!

Up 2 Down 1

stephen on Jan 20, 2018 at 9:03 pm

Don't be fooled by all this. In Vancouver they did a test with bike lanes in the summer. They did not show between October and March the bike lanes are little used but Mayor Moonbeam continues to create bike lanes at large costs to the public and the bikers pay nothing.

Up 2 Down 3

yukon56 on Jan 20, 2018 at 3:30 pm

The busing in Whitehorse is a joke most buses with 3 or 4 people riding
costing US nothing but higher taxes.

Up 3 Down 3

yukon56 on Jan 20, 2018 at 3:22 pm

What a waste of money WE the taxpayer are paying for. Cheaper to have taxis than the under utilized behemoths of under utilized buses.

Up 3 Down 2

Mr M on Jan 20, 2018 at 3:19 pm

The bridge needs to be widened to help with the growing population in Riverdale and the growing population going to the Hospital. Cheri said in previous Newspaper articles that the amount of people riding the bus has doubled. What from 1 person to 2. I think the City needs to get smaller buses and quit spending money on the big buses. As well as the schools being out for exams this week of course the traffic would not be as bad on Lewes Blvd. Waste of tax payers money.

Up 4 Down 1

Studious Citizen on Jan 20, 2018 at 4:51 am

I conducted my own study of this experiment from Mon. thru Thurs: My findings were that the many bike riders she is referring to amounted to a max of five on any given day with two one day and that's going both ways during the 1 1/2 hr time slot. Given a 1/2 hr loop from main thru RD and back to main with extra 1/2 hr buses on for this period we have overlaps on Lewis between Super A and Grey Mtn that are totally inefficient.
Coming out of the hosp on Thursday there were two buses within 10 mins of each other. I only saw one 8 o'clock bus approaching 3/4 full. I suggest instead of two overlapping routes that one figure 8 Alsek-Lewes-Nisutlin-Lewes-Hosp-Main 1/2 loop be accomplished with far greater efficiency.
This is what happens when you have clerks in a bureaucracy getting promoted to managers when this talent was never discovered in any other forum. All done with Bill's approval supporting his spend, spend, spend recklessness as though we had twice our population. She'll probably get a promotion for this waste of taxpayers dollars. We also need bridge expansion.

Up 5 Down 1

Sunny on Jan 19, 2018 at 9:28 pm

How could this be deemed as a success? The 2 high schools were out all week and we had lower than normal traffic patterns. Friday was a PD day for all Elementary Schools. I didn't see a bus all week and saw 2 out of the 6 bike riders using the *sidewalk* alongside the walkers trying to walk safely in the ice - and not in their own special lane.

And we are expecting a french school where everyone in city limits will be able to attend - more traffic congestion, guaranteed.

There will be a positive success story by COW (of this I am sure, no matter what) but they are the only ones crowing about how amazingly successful the pilot project was. The rest of Riverdale and the parents of the Riverdale students aren't singing the same tune.

Up 6 Down 0

Jer on Jan 19, 2018 at 5:29 pm

I'm not sure what was so successful about it. Doing it in an off week for the school makes the little experiment absolutely ineffective and uninformative.
The problem is obviously the bottleneck at the bridge.
4 lanes for all traffic from the round about right into second is the obvious solution.
Having a lane dedicated to the bus doesn't do a thing about the congestion.
Maybe just makes people think more about public transit which is something else entirely.
Let's not call this a solution for the traffic problem because it's not and won't be.

Up 7 Down 1

Dumbfounded on Jan 19, 2018 at 3:56 pm

Wow. The COW is really chugging back that Kool-aid. On the Radio this AM George Maratos and a city rep were reporting from inside the 8:30 morning bus out of Riverdale describing how successful the trial had been. They were the only two people on the bus. I wish I was kidding.

They went on to describe how light the traffic was. It was a PD day with no school buses on the road and several hundred vehicles carrying kids in and out to the half dozen Riverdale schools conspicuously absent.

Meanwhile earlier in the week, the 2 high schools had exam week also lightening traffic and pushing much of it to off peak hours.
Down at the planning branch at COW it'll be all pats on the back and high fives for coming up with the genius plan to assist the 160 Riverdale transit riders. Yes 160.

No plan in sight for the thousands of cars that travel across the Yukon River every day and sit idling along Lewes boulevard in the morning and evening.

Up 6 Down 1

Steven on Jan 19, 2018 at 3:51 pm

What a spin by the CoW! *Now* they call it a week long experiment with a dedicated bus lane, whereas last week it was an experiment in helping with the traffic congestion. Of course the bus lane was a success! But that wasn't the original point, was it?

Traffic is still terrible leaving Riverdale, and will remain so until the bridge is widened, and no positive-notes-only spin is going to change that.

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