Parking Situation after Aud expansion

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by James Howe

I’ve been helping the Auditorium Neighbourhood Association deal with the issue of Auditorium parking especially in relation to the latest expansion. My involvement included presenting to City Council on behalf of the ANA its response to the plan for parking and transportation to the expanded Aud.

The plan for 2013-14

The plan for transportation to the Auditorium and parking is similar to what happened last year after the expansion. It includes:

  • Rangers Expres– I’m told an impressive 11,500 people last year rode a special bus from area restaurants to and from the Auditorium. This year there are 10 participating locations including one in New Hamburg. This program has been a huge success and much quicker than I anticipated. (Rangers games only).
  • Free GRT rides – The free bus ride program started last October is back and in place for the first game. Tickets are available at the Aud’s box office.
  • Car pool – The car pool lot was an instant success last year. But even the lot is full, car pooling is still a great way to get to the Auditorium.
  • Reserved Paid parking – Season’s passes for preferred parking are available from the Rangers.
  • Free parking – The Auditorium has several large free parking lots but when the building is at capacity you need to arrive early if you want a space and avoid searching for a space on local residential streets–possibly risking a parking infraction. Thirty-five new spaces have been identified off site.

Starting to add up!

These efforts are starting to add up. With 968 seats added last year that meant potentially 372 more vehicles using stats from a parking study. The good news is that there are not that many new vehicles.

Here’s how:

  • 11,500 rides on the Rangers Express for 34 home games and 5 playoff games is an average of 295 per game. Divided by the consultant’s finding of 2.3 people per vehicle, that saves 128 spots per game.
  • The car pool lot reduced parking needs by at least 92 spots.
  • On site parking for fans has increased by 35 spots due to the use by staff of off site parking.
  • The free GRT rides were considered successful but it’s not clear how many were used.

So the new parking and transportation options mean that 255 or more vehicles have been diverted from parking on residential streets.

The city and the Rangers have delivered what they promised. Congratulations to the both organizations for that significant achievement. It required a concerted effort and plenty of work.

Let’s take it over the top!

I had hoped to see more changes this year so that we’d be back at 2012 demand for on street parking–and ideally reduce it further.

Here are possible changes the Aud could consider:

  • More dedicated car pool parking spaces with an increase in the minimum occupancy from 3 to 4.
  • Have paid parking on all the onsite lots for a modest $5 or $10 (with funds split between charities and subsidizing/promoting transportation alternatives).
    • Instead of having car pool lots, let vehicles with 4 or more people park for free.
  • Have at least one downtown KItchener restaurant or bar participate in the Rangers Express program
  • Make it easier for people to use the free GRT rides for fans who attend the occasional game.
  • A shuttle from/to the downtown Kitchener bus terminal with a stop at Ottawa/Charles for iXpress transfers

A combination of these ideas could mean fewer vehicles looking for parking than before the expansion.

How to respond to parking problems

Call bylaw enforcement at 519-741-2330 to report parking problems especially those requiring immediate attention,  

If it’s a regular problem, I’d suggest it’s best to call Paul Pickard, Manager of the Aud: 519-741-2200 x 5262

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