Empty park and ride dubbed useless $8M ‘cement playground’


A multimillion-dollar park and ride in east Ottawa that OC Transpo marketed as “excellent for patrons” in south Orléans has largely sat empty since opening three years in the past.

Residents close by say it is a waste of their tax {dollars} and are nonetheless scratching their heads as to why it is even there.

“We all really feel the identical. It’s not getting used. It’s a waste,” mentioned resident Rylee Batista.

The Chapel Hill South Park & Ride sits at Navan Road and Brian Coburn Boulevard — a serious artery in south Orléans. It opened on Oct. 27, 2019, and price town about $8.2 million.

The lot has 263 free parking areas and was slated to increase to 427, based on OC Transpo’s web site.

But the cease companies solely two common bus routes — the 32 and 34 which run about each 25 minutes many of the day — and based on OC Transpo, two different buses run on weekday mornings to excessive colleges close by.

This is the place Chapel Hill South park and ride is positioned in Ottawa. (Leah Hansen/CBC)

An OC Transpo on-line pamphlet concerning the park and ride touts it as “excellent for patrons travelling from south Orléans and close by communities,” and tells clients to “park your automobile and let OC Transpo take you the remainder of the best way — 35 minutes to downtown!” 

But that is removed from actuality.

According to Google Map’s transit planner, it takes about an hour to journey through transit from the park and ride to CBC Ottawa’s downtown workplace throughout peak morning rush hour. Driving to the park and ride from a random residential tackle within the close by Avalon neighbourhood, the whole commute is about an hour and quarter-hour. 

But it takes about 53 minutes from that very same tackle on to CBC Ottawa by transit.

A sign reads Park & Ride, Chapel Hill. An empty cement lot with two cars in the distance.
An empty Chapel Hill South park and ride on a weekday afternoon in September 2022. (Reno Patry/CBC)

CBC has visited the park and ride thrice between September and October for two-hour durations, twice throughout rush hour. At most, it noticed 5 automobiles parked there, and typically none.

On every event, CBC noticed one transit rider getting off the bus and driving away of their automobile; a number of non-transit customers — like a skateboarder and canine walkers — parked there for leisure functions.

But town maintains the placement “is strategic.”

Stanimir Cvetanov runs by the park and ride virtually each day. The resident of Chapel Hill South mentioned he was so baffled by the vacancy, he wrote a one-star Google evaluate.

“Textbook instance of losing tax payers’ cash. Barely anybody used it even earlier than the pandemic,” his evaluate reads.

Cvetanov advised CBC that as a transit rider pre-COVID, he was “initially excited” for the park and ride considering extra specific buses would run from it.

That enthusiasm was short-lived.

“That acquired me upset, like, you constructed one thing so big for simply two bus traces?” mentioned Cvetanov.

A screenshot of several cheeky comments from frustrated residents on Facebook. One of them reads, 'Maybe there's another shoe to drop, but as of now, this has zero logic.'
Posts on social media concerning the park and ride present cheeky feedback courting again two years utilizing phrases like ‘huge incompetence’ and ‘big fail’ to explain town’s resolution to construct it. This is a snapshot of some feedback on OC Transpo’s Facebook web page. (OC Transpo/Facebook)

Concerns about racing, clearing forest

Batista, president of the Chapel Hill South Community Association, mentioned the lot has been primarily used as an “$8 million cement playground” throughout within the pandemic.

“We’ve come right here with our Rollerblades to play hockey,” she mentioned. 

Batista has seen youngsters on bikes, motorized toy automobiles and skate boarders use the house.

WATCH | ‘No purpose’ anybody in Chapel Hill would use park and ride, says affiliation: 

Resident says Orléans park and ride sits largely empty as bus routes stay restricted

Rylee Batista, president of the Chapel Hill South Community Association, says it’s irritating that there haven’t been extra bus routes added to attach the Chapel Hill South Park and Ride with the LRT.

At evening, although, it was used as a automobile drifting and racing spot, so barricades have been put in to attempt to stop that, she mentioned.

“You can hear them spinning out or drifting,” recalled Batista, pointing to the fencing. “That’s what this has performed — it has minimize down that noise.”

A car is parked on an empty parking lot.
A automobile parked at Chapel Hill South park and ride in Orléans in September. This automobile was one in every of three parked on the lot on the time. (Reno Patry/CBC)

The park and ride additionally changed a forest, she mentioned, inflicting some residents to fret concerning the impression it may need on the inexperienced house and ravine close by.

Batista mentioned she’s spoken to metropolis councillors about its future and different points with transportation in south Orléans.

“We’re not nicely serviced,” she mentioned. “But the place’s the subsequent step? Where’s Plan B? There would not appear to be [one].”

A yellow sign posted on a metal gate in an empty cement lot reads 'Spaces temporarily closed while use of the Park & Ride is low.'
Several of those yellow notices are posted on the barricade blocking a majority of parking spots on the park and ride. It reads: ‘Spaces briefly closed whereas use of the Park & Ride is low.’ (Reno Patry/CBC)

‘Cart earlier than the horse’ state of affairs: resident

Heather Buchanan, a resident of the close by Bradley Estates neighbourhood, calls the park and ride a “glorified transit cease.”

Buchanan sits on the event committee for her neighborhood affiliation and defined that the lot was in-built anticipation of a future Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) hall — bus-only roadways — within the space, a venture which has not materialized for the reason that Nineteen Nineties.

Most lately this March after years of research, planning and consultations, metropolis council voted to maneuver forward with one of many handful of short-listed choices — Option 7 — to increase Brian Coburn Boulevard, and to create a Cumberland Transitway via the Greenbelt which might hyperlink the park and ride to Blair Road.

But town hasn’t put aside cash for its $300-million projected price and it is working into points with the National Capital Commission, which owns the Greenbelt however refuses to launch it. Some paperwork forecast it might not occur till nicely previous 2030.

“We have been all fairly enraged that we have been going to have this ‘cart earlier than the horse’ car parking zone,” she mentioned. “This is all predicated on a BRT … that doesn’t exist.”

WATCH | Buchanan explains why the park and ride would not make sense proper now: 

Underused Orléans park and ride a case of placing ‘the cart before the horse,’ resident says

Resident Heather Buchanan says the Chapel Hill South Park and Ride was meant to serve a bus speedy transit system that doesn’t at present exist.

If town needs south Orléans residents to make use of the park and ride now, she mentioned it must first enhance the roads that get them there. 

Buchanan mentioned the cash would have been higher spent constructing a bigger park and ride on the Blair LRT station, which at present has solely 21 areas for allow holders.

A map shows a future proposed Bus Rapid Transit route.
A screenshot of a City of Ottawa presentation on the Brian Coburn Extension/Cumberland Transitway environmental evaluation research. This advisable design reveals a proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) subsequent to the Chapel Hill South park and ride. (City of Ottawa)

“That park and ride is mainly a white elephant,” mentioned Rachelle Lecours, president of the Greater Avalon Community Association, which represents communities east of the lot. 

“People are upset as a result of that cash may have gone to offer higher … bus service.”

Lecours mentioned the 2 buses that run via it do “milk runs” in close by communities, so it is simpler for residents to hop on the bus close to their properties anyway.

As an interim resolution whereas ready for the longer term BRT, she suggests implementing specific buses taking folks straight from the park and ride to downtown or LRT stations — both Blair or Cyrville station, which isn’t as busy.

A person gets on a red bus at a station.
An individual will get on an OC Transpo bus on the park and ride in September 2022. The transit rider advised CBC they stroll over from their residence close by to make use of the bus station, however have by no means used it as a park and ride. (Reno Patry/CBC)

City says location ‘strategic’

CBC requested town for an interview with OC Transpo, but it surely mentioned nobody is obtainable.

Instead, it supplied an emailed assertion from its transportation planning director who mentioned the placement “is strategic,” based mostly on the longer term BRT and inhabitants progress in southeast Orléans. 

Vivi Chi wrote the speedy transit venture is focused to open submit 2031.

Meanwhile, a press release attributed to Pat Scrimgeour, director of buyer techniques and planning, blames the pandemic, citing utilization “has nonetheless not but reached ranges seen earlier than the pandemic.” Several residents have advised CBC the park and ride was underutilized within the 5 months it was open previous to the pandemic.

“Staff will proceed to observe utilization, accumulate suggestions, and make changes,” Scrimgeour wrote.

He mentioned town would not preserve monitor of how a lot it spends on upkeep of that park and ride.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here