Parks and Parking, very different words

I recently took the city course on Parks Planning, part of a series of planning courses they offer to educate the great unwashed.

I will offer some more comments on the course should I ever find my notes. But the most significant impression I took away related to parks and parking.

Now I went into the battle  course with loins girded to ask some tough questions. Like, why is so much of our precious scarce parkland occupied by parking lots? Is this really the highest and best use of parkland? I was all prepared to offer up the example of the Plant Pool Complex/Plouffe Park, where constructing the new pool necessitated removing the children’s playground and all its mature trees so that people can drive and park right at the door, the better to minimize the distance to those treadmills.

Underground parking was ruled out as too expensive, but the city park planners assign absolutely ZERO value to existing parkland. It was either build a parking lot on existing park space — the no cost option — or build a parking garage under the pool, which option was indeed costed highly.

You can guess which choice won. And who lost.

So I was greatly interested at the course when the park vs parking issue was brought up by others before I could raise it. As it happens, it was brought up by the Orleans contingent. And then vocally supported by the Barrhaven contingent.

“Why”, they wanted to know, “were the parking lots in parks so small??”

  “Why”, an Orleanean sputtered, “people coming to the park just down the street from him actually stop on park on his street! And worse, they park close to the curb, so then they step out of their cars … they actually step onto his lawn! And then they trample it again when they get back into their cars!”

It positively ruins the pleasure he should have by living close to a public park.

 Oh, the Horror. Of. It. All.

Sound of Cheers from the Barrhaven Branch.

The City Parks staff giving the course fairly oozed sympathy for one of the complainants. Tsch tsch, parking is such a problem.

Unbelievably, the dialogue then went on to discuss the merits of fencing city parks with high chain link fences that would have locked gates, the keys to which would only be distributed to local residents, thus keeping outsiders … well, outside.

I can’t wait to run some license plate checks and charge variable parking fees to parkers at Plant Pool.

So, who says taking a city offered course is dull, boring, and uninteresting? I thought this one offered lots to ponder upon.

9 thoughts on “Parks and Parking, very different words

  1. My guess is that these people do not feel they have any obligation to people they don’t know but with whom they share a community or neighbourhood or city or planet. What a shame! I live beside Fairmont Park and love to see how well loved and used it is, both by people who walk to it and by people who drive or ride their bicycles or run to it.
    When I go past another park, I don’t think “Oh I can’t use it, I don’t live close by.” I think “it is a public park, paid for by all our taxes, and anyone can use it. Isn’t it a nice park?”
    Perhaps the city people could have reminded those people that the first x feet from the curb is city land, not private land????

  2. People from the suburbs do not think like people who live downtown. They actually like asphalt and the bigger the parking lots the better. They also love big box store malls and don’t understand why people in the Glebe are so against having Winners and Future Shops at Lansdowne.

    1. No as a rule people in the burbs don’t love asphalt most burbs have lots of green space and parks.As fr landsdown i know some make it a single issue beeing the stores but if it we don’t have a new sports complex that would have a big impact on ottawa and not in a good way.

      1. If the retail is not important then we can just dump it and pay for what actually is really important, ie the stadium and overall site retail development.

  3. Yes it is extrordinary how much weight the city puts on the parking issue. It isn’t a universal attitude out here in the suburbs, but there certainly is a BANANAs (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anybody) element to the population. That element demands that any new development (including parks) contain enough parking spaces to handle even the busiest days of the year. I find it a bit silly for parks in the suburbs as it really isn’t a problem to find on street parking in the suburbs and it isn’t like people leave their cars parked there for the entire day.

    One other element of park parking is that the city will go to extrordinary lengths to avoid extra traffic to the parkinglot on residential roads. The parkinglot exit has to be on a collector or arterial road if possible.

  4. Why is there any free parking at City facilities (for both employees and citizens) ? There is a cost associated with building and maintaining asphalt and this should be recouped from the users of the parking lots. Free parking further subsidizes cars and drivers and discourages walking, cycling and public transit use.

  5. I think the taxpayer-funded private park idea arose at one of the Westboro convent site meetings, too. A pretty selfish and entitled opinion, that’s for sure. Some people can’t seem to grasp that their tax dollars are not carefully set aside from the rest of the city’s for use on projects that will benefit them and only them.

Comments are closed.