The Auditorium Neighbourhood Association (ANA) is the only neighbourhood near the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium with an active, formal neighbourhood group. My neighbourhood is just across Weber Street so we have common interests such as parking and transportation needs of patrons using the Aud. Therefore, I was asked to lead the ANA’s committee how use of the Auditorium (especially after expansion) could affect residents.
On Monday night, the Kitchener Rangers will present a report prepared in collaboration with the city a plan for parking. We have not seen exactly what will be presented but anticipate that it will be similar to what was presented at a recent public meeting and informed by some direct discussions.
The ANA executive and the parking committee have discussed the plan and what follows is a response that I will present on behalf of the ANA Monday. Keen observers will note that it is not exactly the same as what I suggested in earlier posts.
If you live in the area where people are parking or could park if the area expands, please let us know what you think of what we plan to say.
Auditorium Neighbourhood Association – Response to Plan for Parking
The Auditorium Neighbourhood Association appreciates the time and effort taken to develop the report on how an expanded Auditorium will handle the parking and transportation needs of nearly 1,000 additional seats.
The plan presented by the Rangers and developed in collaboration with city staff goes a long way towards addressing the concerns of nearby residents who turned out in large numbers to a neighbourhood meeting in October and again last month.
We are particularly pleased to see:
- Plans to build an additional 109 parking spaces.
- A parking lot dedicated to car pooling
- A preferred paid parking lot
- Plans to run shuttles from 8 locations spread out around Kitchener-Waterloo
- Efforts to educate people on where to park and parking etiquette
- And most importantly for people already living with the reality of Auditorium parking on their streets, improved enforcement especially the ability to get immediate response
We were pleased to learn about these plans when they were presented by the Rangers at a meeting organized by the city. They are a major step in the right direction.
We’re concerned though that they are not enough.
If successful, we were told that they could add or divert 300 cars. The city’s consultant estimates the equivalent of 385 additional parking spaces are needed. Neighbours expressed concern that the actual need would be 500 spaces or more especially if enhanced enforcement eliminated spaces currently being used. Therefore to avoid parking even more cars in a wider area, 85 – 200 or more spaces are needed or cars diverted.
We recognize that some of the solutions presented could be expanded upon if successful. For example, the spaces devoted to high occupancy vehicles could be increased. We also realize that people in Kitchener-Waterloo normally use their cars for transportation and that reducing the need for parking will take time and education and awareness to change.
Yet based upon the feedback provided by neighbours at the two meetings held, we believe it is important that additional steps be taken in advance of the expanded facility opening.
We believe that public transit has the greatest opportunity to be a game-changer. Grand River Transit must be a big part of the solution. In addition to improved scheduling of existing buses, we suggest:
- Auditorium specials be run to and from both iXpress Routes, the downtown terminal and major transfer points based upon where people live
- Free bus rides be provided to people holding Auditorium tickets
Either or both of these plans could be sponsored by businesses interested in supporting the Rangers. We realize GRT is a regional service and so request that city council informally lobby for one of these options or pass a resolution asking regional council to work with the city and Rangers to pursue one or both.
We would also like to see:
- More paid parking than what is planned. A marketing study should be able to determine what price point would avoid transferring cars to residential streets and what incentives could help make paying attractive.
- Require 4 people to use a car pool lot rather than the three planned.
- An additional 85 or more new spots on the site.
And finally, we request that the city contact residents on all streets near the Auditorium with two-sided parking to see if they would like parking restrictions in the winter or if they would like them extended to include November and December. We would like this process to be completed and implemented before next November.
Thank you very much for helping residents’ voices be heard. We look forward to your assistance in helping take the plans to another level.