At the GTTA Board meeting yesterday (see previous post for additional information on this), GO Transit presented an overview of its plans for additional parking on the network. I won’t go into the fine details here, but broadly this contained two important directions:
- GO is moving toward parking structures, possibly in conjuction with development of its parking lot properties, as an alternative to continued outward expansion of the lots.
- The target growth rate is from 1,500 to 2,000 spaces per year.
GO currenly operates 48,500 parking spaces, and the park-and-ride sector now account for 67% of ridership. Other modal shares are kiss-and-ride (15%), walking (9%), local transit (8%) and cycling (.5% to 1%).
In the long run, parking is not sustainable at its current modal share. Assuming a 20-year growth rate in the middle of GO’s cited range (1,750), this would give 35,000 more spaces. However, GO expects its riding to double over the next 20 years, and external factors such as a stepp rise in oil prices could accelerate this. Clearly, parking will handle a lower, even if still important, proportion of total ridership. A further problem is that a route such as Lakeshore with plans for large increases in capacity through electrification and extension is not necessarily where the additional parking capacity can be easily located. Rapid growth in ridership may outstrip parking growth on this line.
This puts a considerable additional demand on local transit service to the GO stations both in quantity and in hours of service. This will be a challenge for local transit operators and, by extension for the GTTA.
As the GTTA contemplates the future role of transit, it must adapt from provision of downtown-oriented, peak Monday to Friday communting service (including the local transit component) to service that makes travel by transit within and among the regions easy. After all, much of the GTA gridlock comes not from commuters to downtown, but from travel between the regions including phenomena such as the lunch-hour traffic jams.
This is one of several cases the GTTA must not adopt a “more of the same” approach to transit.