Nfld. & Labrador

Paradise Metrobus pilot project aims to help traffic congestion

The mayor of Paradise is hoping a public transit pilot project will help relieve traffic congestion, as well as provide more options for MUN commuters looking for housing.
Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett says a new Metrobus pilot project will depart the Paradise Double Ice Complex, stop in high-density areas, and stop at the Avalon Mall, where commuters can catch connecting bus routes. (CBC)

The commute for people travelling from Paradise to St. John's has been an ongoing tale of woe for some people, but Mayor Dan Bobbett is hoping a public transit pilot project will solve some of the traffic congestion.

Ongoing road widening work in Paradise will continue through 2016, as outlined in the town's budget plan released this week.

[Students] will be able to avail of that service then it they're looking around for an apartment.- Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett

Also in the budget was a $120,000 pilot project with Metrobus for a commuter route.

"Public transit was one of the things identified in our strategic plan going forward and looking at our overall traffic plan," Bobbett told CBC's St. John's Morning Show Thursday.

"That was one of the factors that was identified — a public transit system would alleviate some of that."

Bobbett said residents identified traffic congestion as a major problem during the town's budget consultations, and one of the "major themes" was a public transit option.

The new pilot project will run start next June and run until June 2017, over two different fiscal years. If passenger volume is sufficient, Bobbett said the town will review it and consider future investment for a permanent service.

MUN students among target groups

The route will start at the Double Ice Complex in the Octagon Pond area and go through what Bobbett said are "high-density areas," subdivisions like Elizabeth Park and Valley Ridge, and then down Kenmount Road to the Avalon Mall.

Dan Bobbett is hoping the Metrobus pilot project will alleviate traffic congestion in Paradise. If enough people use it, the town will look at making it a permanent route. (CBC)

At the mall, passengers will be able to connect to the Metrobus hub and catch connecting buses to other city routes.

Bobbett said the Double Ice Complex will be able to accommodate commuters, given the building has a large foyer for people to be dropped off to catch the bus, or serve as a park-and-ride station.

He added this could help attract people looking for apartments — particularly post-secondary students.

"Memorial University has an issue with their parking right now. Obviously there's limited parking, and there's lots of students in and around the Paradise area, so they will be able to avail of that service then it they're looking around for an apartment," he said.

"Now they'll know that there's a commuter route, a Metrobus route."

Bobbett said there are still details to be worked out and the exact route line is still to be determined by Metrobus.

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