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.