Park and Ride

A few years ago the NCC decided to permit all-day parking at certain NCC lots, so that commuters could drive part way to work, then bicycle the rest of the way. Exercise = good.

At first, these park and ride spots were allocated to the less-prime spots in the parking lot. For example, at Island Park overlook, parkers and riders were to park on the stub away from the river edge.

I notice now that the whole parking lot is almost full, every non-raining morning. There doesn’t seem to be enough people out and about on the pathways to account for all those cars, so I guess they are park and riders.

After a few times cycling by, the cars start to look familiar, but that isn’t a scientific way of determining if they are the same vehicles there every day. And a lot of them do not have bike racks visible. Maybe it is fashionable to have folding bikes?

I am pleased so many people drive then bike. The rewards are double: free parking, some exercise. But I do also wonder if everyone is parking and riding, or if some are parking and carpooling to the paid parking lot nearer the work place. Is anyone checking?

For anything that is free is likely to be abused. And people forced to be unimaginative at work may seek out opportunities to let their creativity out by gaming the parking rules.

Anyone who thinks the City’s proposals for longer parking periods on residential streets is for the benefit of someone visiting those folks is being terribly naive.

The main beneficiaries will be those who can park all day for free and walk, skateboard (or motorized skateboard) or cycle the remaining distance. Not having to come back once or twice a day to “move the car” will make this much more attractive.

Try standing on Louisa or Arlington street near Booth at 3.30 and notice that everyone (with hip or neck badges) comes at once to drive away. Meanwhile, metered spaces in front of the NRCan buildings can usually be found all day.

For another illustration, take a street like Lisgar, which has parking meters nearest the downtown, and free parking west of Bay. Empty spaces can be found in the paid zone; the free zone is chock full. It is full, even though parkers are supposed to move their car every so many hours. Make it six hours free parking, and it suddenly becomes more attractive to drive and utilize some alternative mode for the last mile.

We seem to have a Janus-like situation, where we improve transit by building a LRT while simultaneously making it easier to drive and park. Making parking easier will encourage more driving. Widening Hwy 174 will encourage driving.

Longer free parking periods on residential streets will make it easier for motorists to drive to residential streets near their work, or drive to LRT stations like Westboro or Dominion, and park all day on the residential streets while they complete their journey on the tram.

Are we sure of the consequences of lifting the 1 hour and 3 hour parking limits?


14 thoughts on “Park and Ride

  1. Many city employees reporting for work in Centrepointe make use of the same strategy. That Baseline Station is but 100-200 metres away from Constellation and Ben Franklin is of little concern for those who choose to drive to work, and park on nearby side streets and in the parking lots of neighbouring multi-unit complexes. So, in response to your question of whether we are sure of the consequences, the answer is yes. The city employees have proposed a policy that will make their lives easier, as they will no longer have to leave their climate controlled enclaves twice a day to move their vehicle.

  2. I’m glad you assume the best motives for these folks. FRESH AIR! ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION!!! But sadly, 90% of those cars are Tunney’s Pasture employees. They park there for the same reasons they fill up any un-signed parking space around The Pasture (they are a real nuisance in Champlain Park around the school and community centre): 1) to avoid paying anything, and 2) to get on the parkway / bridge faster during rush hour. Now, they do get a couple of kilometres of fresh air either way… but these lots are clearly not meant for this use, and as you point out, they ENCOURAGE more car use overall.
    I would be DELIGHTED to see Tunney’s administration / NCC / City of Ottawa crack down on this.

  3. Still baffled why NCC doesn’t make all these parking lots paid lots at least in the summer.
    Westboro beach lot overflowing, people park on the grass – start charging small fee to park and half of those people will bike to the beach instead.

    1. Yaro: I think many/most recreational facility lots should be metered. Each parking lot is a subtraction from the park. Pave paradise … sort of thing. And yes, free parking encourages people to drive; paid parking will cause more people to walk or bike or bus it …I live three blocks from Plant Pool and I am astonished to see people who live nearby drive themselves / their kids there.

  4. The Tunneys Pasture crowd could easily fill any parking lot. They even rent space at some of the apt buildings on parkdale, so much so the rental tenants have to wait months or park many blocks away.
    I am not sure if there are signs at the IPD parking lot but there should be and the NCC should monitor abusers.

  5. Why not come up with a universal parking policy that says you always pay when you use public space, but make it easy to pay and collect…
    It is quite frustrating when one finds a meter that is not working and one has to hike to find one that IS working since in priciple the “damaged meter” excuse does not hold.

  6. Yes, paid parking at all parks/recreational facilities. With exceptions for people with disabilities perhaps? Always bothers me to see the basketball courts used as parking over winter at Plant Bath.

  7. “Each parking lot is a subtraction from the park.”
    — Like this huge parking on Riverside and Heron at Vincent Massey park, for the benefit of some government workers who of course would never stoop so low as using public transit.

  8. First time at your blog, I had no idea about this parking situation and the Gov’t employees taking advantage of the free parking, meant for other uses. Shouldn’t be allowed and I hope something is, or can be done to fix it.

  9. There was a similar effect at 1010 Somerset (Public Works). When the parking lot became paid parking, it emptied and City Centre Dr. nearby filled with parked cars and trucks on both sides. They are usually the same vehicles each weekday.

  10. Up until a year or two ago, the north side of Pontiac Street in Champlain Park offered a wide gravel strip that was always fully occupied every working day by a long rank of vehicles. It is presumed that the owners of these vehicles worked at Tunney’s as there was never any evidence of any softball games or other activity in the adjoining park.

    Then the NCC built a chain link fence or moved an exiting fence 12 feet closer to the public roadway and eliminated all the parking stalls (the parking area was wide enough that cars were able to park side by side facing north – south not along the east -west run of Pontiac.

    As soon as this “free parking for me” was eliminated the lot by the MPP went to capacity every work day.

    The NCC / City / government of the day / worried members of the public / observers of 180 mph Irma, should want to discourage single use CO2 emitters. A quick solution is to put metered parking in the lot.

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