Editorial: Bravo for shuttle bus idea

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One thing all Salt Spring Islanders can agree on is that parking in Ganges on summer Saturdays is a nightmare.

Visitors attracted by the famous Saturday market flood the village with their vehicles while they shop, stroll and eat not only at the market but throughout the Ganges area.

All village parking lots fill up quickly and remain that way for most of the day, with every other inch of pavement or road shoulder also covered by cars and trucks. The mayhem often creates dangerous situations for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Islanders like to complain about parking every day of the week in the summer, but Saturday is in a league of its own when it comes to vehicular congestion.

That’s why a fresh initiative of three of Salt Spring’s local Capital Regional District advisory commissions and the non-profit Transition Salt Spring is an idea whose time has truly come. The proposal is to use a school bus the Parks and Recreation Commission leases for its summertime Camp Colossal program for a shuttle service. It would see people park vehicles in the lots at Gulf Islands Secondary School and Rainbow Road Aquatic Centre and then jump on the bus to get to the centre of Ganges.

Coincidentally, the decision shared at the Community Economic Development Commission to collaborate on a shuttle bus took place less than a week after the 10th anniversary celebration for Salt Spring Island Transit. The fact Salt Spring’s buses are so well used suggests both locals and visitors are transit savvy and should be willing to embrace an alternate kind of service for Saturdays.

Implementing an effective publicity plan and visible signage will be key to ensuring drivers know they can park up Rainbow Road and ride into town. 

Maintaining the enthusiasm and cooperation of all involved parties is also important — something that doesn’t always occur on Salt Spring or elsewhere.

We hope no unforeseen bureaucratic roadblocks arise to prevent a great idea from getting the traction it needs to succeed.

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