Each morning when the parking stalls at the Park and Ride fill up, BC Transit users start parking their cars in the West Shore Parks and Recreation lots reserved for either the seniors centre or the recreation centre patrons.
“I’ve seen eight cars of seniors (at a time) driving around who can’t find a spot to park,” said Linda Barnes, WSPR administrator. “If they can’t find parking they have to go home.”
While this has been an ongoing issue, it has become more apparent since the additions to the weight room and senior centre.
The additions have increased the number of WSPR patrons, creating more demand on parking.
“It was about a year ago since we noticed a big increase,” said Wade Davies, WSPR manager of operations. “(Transit riders) have always been using it, but it wasn’t a problem before.”
There are two Park and Ride parking lots near the bus stops. Each morning the nearly 175 parking spots are full around 8 a.m.
Starting this week signs have been posted around the lots explaining the parking is to be used by WSPR patrons for no longer than four hours at a time.
During the beginning stages of enforcement a WSPR staff member will be in the parking lot early in the morning talking to Park and Ride users explaining the new policy.
WSPR hopes people will voluntarily comply with the new policy, but it is prepared to issue warnings, tickets and even tow vehicles.
Parking in the lower parking lots around Bear Mountain Arena are offered for people wanting to park for more than four hours. BC Transit Park and Ride users are welcome to use the parking in the lower lots as well.
“We have been very generous to give up some our spots to Transit, this is just more about moving people,” Barnes said. “(Down below) they could have 500 spots if they wanted.
“Last March, WSPR began asking its staff to park down below. We tried to free up spots, but we are still full,” Barnes said adding the walk up the hill only takes a couple minutes. “We have lots of parking on the property, but it’s not always convenient as people would like it to be.”
This has been a tough decision for WSPR because it has been a major supporter of people using BC Transit as an alternative mode of transportation.
The City of Colwood has been working on this issue along side WSPR and BC Transit.
The City is looking to expanding the Park and Ride lots and adding bike parking as well.
“It’s great that people want to use Transit,” said Colwood Coun. Judith Cullington. “When there is change it takes a bit to settle in and then people will get use to it.”