Expand Tour Vehicle & Bus Parking At Granville Island

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It has been discovered that CMHC Granville Island is going to ban Tour Vehicle parking at Granville Island and charge companies thousands of dollars just to be permitted onto the island simply to drop off and pick up passengers. 

The reasoning behind this action is that tour buses are causing increased congestion during peak periods. Their own transportation management strategy, in the second paragraph, states that personal vehicles are their single largest course of congestion, yet no mention is made of this in their Tour Bus policy draft. 

It has been proven many times over that buses do not cause congestion. We are removing dozens of vehicles per bus on average from the road, all the while using a footprint equal to 3 average sized personal vehicles. Their solution is to remove Tour Vehicle parking and force every Tour Vehicle to enter and exit the island twice each trip. This forces more traffic into an already narrow entrance, and shunts the issue of bus parking into the city streets. This then becomes a City of Vancouver problem. Local residents and business will see increasing numbers of buses either circling their neighbourhoods, or staging in front of them. These vehicles have schedules, many airport related, and can not be far away from their clients when the time comes to leave. The drivers also legally require a break period as many will have been On Duty at this point for 5 hours or more, a break that parking at Granville Island provided. 

The solution, according to Granville Islands 2040 Transportation Strategy, is to increase pedestrian, cycle and mass transit while reducing personal vehicles travelling to the island. The strategy can be found here https://granvilleisland2040.ca/draft-transportation-strategy-2018/

The management says they must charge tour vehicles in order to pay for additional staff to manage the vehicles. Last summer, that effort was focused on making the tour vehicles drive down a certain route. Rarely, if ever was someone there telling the one car to keep moving to the last half of the island (where parking is prevalent). Shift you’re focus and you can use your existing staff more efficiently. Their own report states that there has been ZERO incidents with tour vehicles, while in the years 2011-2015 there were twelve with personal vehicles, including 5 casualties. The professional drivers know the island, their vehicles and help each other get parked in and out of the traffic. 

However, their first move is to the ban Mass Transit option. These companies have marketed and sold tour packages up to two years in advance to their clients. If a tourism service is advertised but not provided, people demand refunds. This problem extends to companies world wide who sell Vancouver tours. This is not simply a local problem, though island based nonprofits like Arts Umbrella will be affected as well. 

As a stop gap measure, Vehicle parking between The Kids Market and the current Bus Parking zone should be removed. Exceptions made for the current delivery zones and handicap parking. The right side of the road way becomes bus parking. A bus comes in, parks, discharges passengers to the right off the roadway and stages in the same location. No idling, no moving, and passengers know exactly where the must return. The current roadway is shuffled left one vehicle width and continues around. Current bus parking is maintained, and the area in front of the former Emily Carr is maintained as a parking, or drop zone for buses. This solution removes approximately 55 Vehicle parking spots, the same amount of seats on the average sized motor coach. Yet it opens up roughly 12-15 Motor Coach spots, with a capacity up to 850 paying tourists. 

As a side benefit, traffic delays are minimized, as passenger vehicles who stop in the middle of the road waiting for someone to load their vehicle, back up and then park are eliminated. People try to park immediately upon arriving on the island once they spot a space. This leaves unused parking spots available on the last half of the island much of the time. 

We, the members of the industry, want to continue showing off the artisans, cuisine and culture of Granville Island.

It is a beautiful, tasteful location that never fails to wow visitors. There is a reason it has become so popular. We want to continue to do so.

We need CMHC to provide meaningful engagement with industry, and to heed their own Transportation Strategy by focusing their efforts on the real source of congestion, personal vehicles, not tour vehicles.