In October 2018, different options were looked at on behalf of the RDN and the Terminal Avenue location was recommended as the best choice. This location is ideal because:
- it can handle more passengers and buses,
- provides better access for pedestrians and cyclists,
- it's close to stores and shops, and
- it fits well with the Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan, especially the proposed future rapid bus line.
Having the exchange in the 500 block of Terminal Avenue makes things better in a few ways:
- it's easy to transfer between buses,
- you don't have to cross busy streets to switch buses,
- it allows for possible expansion on Wallace Street/Victoria Road or Cavan Street, and
- it keeps traffic on Terminal Avenue moving smoothly.
A first look at the options for the 500 Terminal Avenue property showed that no matter if it was on-street or off-street, it would work just as well as the current temporary Port Drive setup or even better.
Sites Reviewed in Various Studies Downtown Nanaimo
From engagement and technical analysis, the City considered three options (including the Terminal Ave location) for a downtown transit exchange. Each option has its good and bad points, but the Terminal Avenue location has the most advantages.
Here’s what the studies found:
- Port Drive (not selected): Setting up a transit exchange at Port Drive would need a lot more investigation, and it might take more than 5 years to make it happen. Also, if the transit exchange stays there, it might make it harder to plan for the area’s future development. So, not having the transit exchange there would provide more flexibility for future changes, including the opportunity to create a more attractive street.
- Front Street (not selected): The Front Street concept would be an “on street” exchange. But off-street exchanges work better because they are safer for people walking and lessen the impacts to traffic. There also other challenges at this location related to Gabriola ferry traffic. As well, a roundabout will be considered to connect the future Port Drive lands, which could affect operation of the transit exchange.