New south Edmonton park and ride seeing one quarter of expected ridership

Nearly one year after opening, the Heritage Valley park and ride in south Edmonton is not living up to its potential.

The lot at Ellerslie Road and 127 Street was created to replace the previously crowded Century Park lot. That busy facility lost space to development.

Read more: Heritage Valley park and ride in south Edmonton to open at end of November

Unlike Century Park, Heritage Valley does not currently have LRT service.

The Capital Line LRT is expected to expand to Ellerslie Road eventually but an exact timeline has not been approved.

In the meantime, buses shuttle riders to and from Century Park for free from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays.

Click to play video: 'Unused Heritage Valley Park and Ride sits empty in south Edmonton' Unused Heritage Valley Park and Ride sits empty in south Edmonton

Unused Heritage Valley Park and Ride sits empty in south Edmonton – Aug 28, 2020

The Heritage Valley lot boasts 1,100 stalls. The city expected between 2,000 and 2,500 riders each day on average.

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Currently, the space is seeing about 388 rides per day on average.

Last Friday, both the Edmonton Oilers and Elks were playing at home. A Global News camera captured just half a dozen vehicles in the lot at game time.

The city believes COVID-19 is to blame.

“We have a large group of post secondary students who take transit,” said Edmonton Transit Service branch manager Carrie Hotton-MacDonald.

“It’s definitely had an impact on ridership and, again, looking at people whose needs have changed, so whether it’s work related, maybe they’re working from home or their job situation has changed.”

Click to play video: 'Free parking coming to an end at Century Park in Edmonton' Free parking coming to an end at Century Park in Edmonton

Free parking coming to an end at Century Park in Edmonton – Feb 20, 2020

Hotton-MacDonald said ridership is down across the network with demand sitting at about half of what it was pre-pandemic. She said that is consistent with what other large cities are seeing.

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Read more: South Edmonton LRT extension approved with elevated station at Ellerslie Road

The new city councillor in the area expressed concern over transit service as a whole in the area.

Jennifer Rice said some areas are extremely underserved while others are overserved. She heard from voters who said the recent bus network redesign made service too inconvenient.

“People don’t like to see empty buses or empty LRT. They think this is a waste of resources,” said Rice.

Rice and other new councillors have expressed a desire for the bus network redesign to be reassessed.

The Heritage Valley park and ride would not be included in any second look at the issue. Instead, the city said it expected spaces will fill as the pandemic ends and LRT service begins.

Click to play video: 'Feds commit $400M for Capital Line LRT expansion into southwest Edmonton' Feds commit $400M for Capital Line LRT expansion into southwest Edmonton

Feds commit $400M for Capital Line LRT expansion into southwest Edmonton – Jul 27, 2021

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