Oct 21, 2012 / 9:00 am
Another major piece of infrastructure for the Frequent Transit Network in Kelowna was revealed Saturday at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new transit exchange being constructed on Shepherd Road in Rutland.
The Rutland transit exchange is part of the plan to provide commuters with direct access to the second phase of the Kelowna RapidBus project once both are completed.
The second phase of Kelowna RapidBus is slated to begin in late spring of 2013. The Frequent Transit Network will offer transit riders the convenience of service every fifteen minutes or better during peak hours.
"Rutland is recognized as a key urban centre in the City of Kelowna's official community plan and it's been the focus of a number of key planning initiatives in the past few years to realize the vision of creating an attractive town centre in uptown Rutland," says Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray.
"This project is a $4.5 million investment in Rutland. It includes an extension of Shepherd Road to accommodate a new transit exchange, new bus pull-outs on Highway 33 and pedestrian improvements connecting high frequency service to the exchange along Dougall Road.
Gray was joined by Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick and BC Transit Vice-President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer Mike Davis during a special ceremony which announced details of the plan.
The Rutland transit exchange is funded in partnership through a $1.4-million contribution from the federal Gas Tax Fund, $2 million from the government of British Columbia and $1.1 million from the City of Kelowna for a total of $4.5 million to complete the exchange.
"It's time to recognize the fact that Rutland deserves this and I think this is going to be a great anchor for future development," says Cannan, who formally announced the federal government's contribution from the $2 Billion Gas Tax Fund.
"We have long term, predictable, stable funding that is so important for local governments so they can make plans for infrastructure improvements such as this Rutland Transit Exchange."
The provincial government launched their $14-billion Provincial Transit Plan in 2008 with the goal of doubling ridership and reducing greenhouse gases by 4.7 million tonnes cumulatively by 2020.
The plan identified nine new RapidBus lines in the high growth urban centres.
Letnick says that includes areas like Rutland.
"It's really a complex and complete community. As we see the four corners finally being built out and we see the provincial housing project in Rutland, over the years to come we're going to see the community blossom to what it should be."
Overall, the Phase 2 & 3 RapidBus project will result in four improved exchanges, five new RapidBus stations, branded shelters and real-time passenger information displays.
BC Transit COO Mike Davis it is all part their plans improve transit service.
"BC Transit is committed to building an efficient and effective transportation network for the region. This exchange is an important piece of the Frequent Transit Network and the RapidBus service that will connect people to their destinations easier and faster than ever before," says Davis
In total, the Kelowna RapidBus project - including the Rutland transit exchange - will receive up to $46 million in funding from federal, provincial and local partners.
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