In case you haven’t heard, TransLink is making some changes to bus routes in New West, and have been doing public consultation, You have until tomorrow(!) to go to this website and fill out the survey if you have any concerns or questions.
My quick notes (which I based on the info provided in our Council Report from staff on Monday):
These changes need to be approached carefully. Last time we had service “optimization” in New Westminster, an apparently reasonable re-orientation of the east-west routes across the north part of the City resulted in a serious erosion of service to one very specific demographic. The large population if seniors that live in higher-density housing near 8th Ave and McBride suddenly found themselves disconnected from the Royal City Centre at 6th and 6th, which was a major social hub for them – it was a significant disruption to a social network to a very transit-dependent community. So I tried to dig through these route changes to see if I could find similar breaks in social connections that may impact our community.
The change to the 106 is probably a good thing. It will make one of the primary connections between Downtown and Uptown New West more reliable, as Kingsway traffic will no longer delay the return route. There will still be the same connection to the Highgate/Edmonds Pool areas, but if you want to go further up Kingsway, you will need to switch buses.
Combining the C8 and a portion of the C3 route into the new “J” route will probably adress one of the biggest capacity concerns – the high number of pass-ups on the C3. This 24-passenger shuttle commonly has 40 people lining up at New West Station to board. with it’s destinations split between the new “J” route and “H” route, some of that capacity headed for Victoria Hill should be better served.
Similarly, re-routing the C4 into the “H” route should make the service more reliable, with the bonus of returning that direct connection between McBride and 8th and the 6th & 6th area that was undone in the last changes. The “H” route shuttle is fully accessible, which is really important for the population using that route.
The modified C9 route causes me a couple of concerns. The side-route on Jamieson Court that the current C9 takes will, apparently be eliminated, and this is a bad idea. There are two important destinations to seniors on Jamieson Court- the Glenbrook Amenities Centre and Royal City Manor. To make people bound for either of these go up to Richmond Street is quite a steep hoof for people with mobility issues. If they with to catch the bus northbound, the crossing of Richmond is not the safest spot in the City – with a steep, curvy hill and problematic sightlines. The Jamieson Court stop makes sense for all sorts of reasons, and should be preserved.
The other problem I have with this route is the plan to have the C9 go down Cumberland and turn left on East Columbia. This is already a tough little intersection, as it is where there is already a challenging crossing for cyclists and pedestrians for the Central Valley Greenway. the intersection is right turn only, so re-routing the bus will require some sort of activated signal to allow a left turn, which will completely change Cumberland. The only thing keeping this from already being a significant
rat-running alternative-route-commuter corridor is the unlikeliness of pulling off a left turn onto East Columbia during rush hour. It is the lack of a signal, not the little “no left turn” sign, that keeps Cumberland from becoming a through-route. I cannot support any changes here that will make Cumberland a rat-running alternative-route-commuter route, as that will have effects all the way up Glenbrook to the Canada Games Pool area. This streets and neighbourhoods cannot handle that traffic increase.
That is my condensed take on the good and the bad – hopefully you can take 10 minutes to look at the routes and provide some feedback to TransLink by on-line form or mail before the end of day on November 6th.