West End Bus Terminal on the Move
Despite push back from the community, Windsor council has voted in favour of relocating the west end bus terminal from College Ave to the Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare campus on Prince Rd.
The hospital has agreed to offer the site to the city for a dollar a year which will include the use of the lobby and cafe.
Bill Marra is Vice President of External Affairs at Hotel-Dieu Grace and says the change will enhance the neighbourhood while also improving access for patients, staff, volunteers and students.
During his time as on council, Marra spent several years on the city's transit committee.
He says work to find a new location has been underway for quite some time.
"I offered the opportunity for them to investigate our property. I went through the proper channels, there's no financial benefit to us, then I handed it over to administration and they decided, from a planning perspective, whether it made sense. Clearly it does. So this has been in play for about 18 months. It was identified in the plan 12 years ago. We've not rushed to judgement. This has been a very, very long process."
Marra says many other communities have similar transit hubs.
"If you look all over the world, hospitals, colleges, universities, major public institutions host transit hubs because they are fare generators. We already generate activity there, this will create an added opportunity for people to use public transit, mitigate the barrier that some people face day to day."
Vice President of External Affairs at Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Bill Marra speaks with reporters after a city council meeting on March 4, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)
He says the hospital will be looking to address any concerns going forward.
"Clearly there are people that are not happy. So one of the first things we're going to do is reach out to those groups and organizations. Transit is one of those unique services where you can't section it off neighbourhood by neighbourhood. It's a systems improvement. I was on council for a long time, I was dreaming of a day where we could talk about regional transit and this will feed into that."
Council heard from nearly 20 delegates Monday night, many against the move citing concerns about reduction in service and the impact it may have on the surrounding neighbourhood.
According to the Transit Windsor report, the change will not impact service at the College Ave stop — buses will still arrive every 15 minutes during normal hours and every 10 minutes during peak times.
The report also states the new site will provide an opportunity for future growth and the potential for expanding routes to neighbouring communities like LaSalle.
Construction will begin in the spring on the new $1.6-million bus terminal which is expected to be completed by September 2019.
The city's Environment, Transportation and Public Safety Standing Committee voted against the relocation at its February 20 meeting.