Transit connection in the downtown core 'never going to go away'
'Downtown still maintains and still will always become the anchor of our transit service'
Transit Windsor says its new master plan continues to prioritize the downtown core, with the addition of a new route.
"The services in the new plan streamline our routes and have a little bit more of a direct pattern travel approach to the places that people are going, but the downtown still maintains and still will always become the anchor of our transit service," said Pat Delmore, the executive director of Transit Windsor.
With the new plan, riders won't need to make downtown transfers as often as they do now.
"There is still the services that provide multiple routes that will travel into the downtown, but there's also a focus that people want to travel to different areas, and they shouldn't have to spend additional time having to go downtown to make a connection."
For example, Delmore explained, currently, if you live in the east end of the city and need to go to St. Clair College, you'd have to transfer downtown first in order to reach the school, but with the new Master Plan, a direct route is an option.
Planning for future demands
Dorian Moore, vice-president of Archive Design Studio in Detroit and an instructor at the University of Windsor, says he thinks that overall, the master plan is a good one.
"Any increase in bus-lines or bus frequency can only be for the good."
He notes that, Windsor might be 'behind the curve' when it comes to the influx of people moving to the downtown area. Subsequently, he said, when you don't have a lot of people in the core, the demand for transit to and from the area is lessened.
He said it's important to plan for that potential future demand in the downtown.
"Millennials like the downtown lifestyle. They also like transit. That's an emerging demographic that's going to be important for us to consider," said Moore.
Moore said that right now, the master transit plan is considering a lot of cross-town traffic, which he thinks is great given the current situation, but says in order to deal with the downtown core, the city needs to plan for the future.
He said that a good aspect of the plan is the addition of direct routes from one side of town to the other, but says he's heard concerns about there being a lot of plans moving between the east and west, and not enough moving north and south in some areas of town, but he says a lot of that can be fleshed out during this process.
"Over the last 25 years plus in Windsor, I've been a frequent rider of the bus system. I know it pretty well. And I think it's great that they're addressing this at this time."
He noted that part of the reason why a lot of people choose not to use public transit is the length of time it takes sometimes, and he says that minimizing the amount of stops and making trips more efficient might encourage people to choose buses over driving vehicles.
In response to Moore stressing the importance of public transit in the downtown core, Delmore said his comments are "very valid."
"In addition, our new plan actually references one of the comments that he makes, is that when you can shorten the travel time to downtown, it makes it more attractive for people to go to, and that's exactly what this new plan is doing."
He stressed that the transit connection in the downtown core "is never going to go away."
'Not a happy camper'
Some of the proposed route changes for Transit Windsor accommodate the new location for the west-end terminal, which some Sandwich residents had tried to argue against.
West end resident Terry Kennedy said the plan doesn't equate to better ridership.
"I'm not a happy camper," said Kennedy.
He lives in Sandwich Towne and thinks that the people in that neighbourhood are being "shoved aside."
Part of his concern has to do with the relocation of Transit Windsor's west end terminal.
"We had four specific meetings ... three of them were held in the afternoon when people were still at work, still at school," said Kennedy. "It's not helpful to the people in the west end."
- A previous version of this story suggested that Transit Windsor was moving out of Windsor's downtown core. In fact, Transit Windsor is adding a route to the downtown area. The story has been corrected to reflect that.Jun 21, 2019 6:22 PM ET
- The previous version of this story also wrote that Dorian Moore said that Windsor was 'behind the curve' when it came to incorporating transit into downtown. In fact, Moore said that Windsor may be behind the curve when it comes to the influx of people moving into the downtown core. The story has been corrected to reflect that.Jun 21, 2019 6:50 PM ET
- The previous version also stated that Moore cautioned against moving transit out of Windsor's downtown core, when in fact he was cautioning against neglecting future transit demand in the downtown.Jun 21, 2019 6:50 PM ET