11 Comments

Where they are parking to go to Kitchener Memorial Auditorium


Here where people are parking to go to the newly expanded Auditorium.

Illegal Parking

  • 100 – 200 cars are parked on the grass behind Shepard School (at least 2 rows)
  • More cars are parked on the grass between the driveway off Borden and the playground
  • A half dozen cars are parked on the grass off Stirling near East Ave.

These are all predictable because it is exactly what happened the last time the Auditorium expanded. Why was there no attempt to try to stop this known problem?

  • Cars are lined down McKenzie from the Aud to Ottawa in a 1 hour zone (a few may be neighbours but not all)

Immediate safety issue

Cars are legally parked on both sides of Krug Street from East to the expressway.  But doing so limits visibility for traffic crossing Krug and narrows it extremely for traffic along Krug.

Call centre refuses to take call

When I called the call centre to report the illegal cars (including another on Crescent beside the stop sign at Borden), they wouldn’t take my complaint because I needed the license plate numbers of each vehicle. Really? I got referred to an off duty supervisor.

Future safety issues

  • Randerson which a year ago had only a couple dozen cars on both sides is now 3/4 full on both sides. In the winter, emergency vehicles will be unable to make it down this dead end street. Why hasn’t anything been done to implement one sided parking in the winter yet? A similar situation is on Glendale.
  • Parking is now happening on both sides of Melrose on the far side of Krug. Expect residents to want winter parking restrictions similar to the other side of Melrose.
  • Dumfries now has cars parked from Krug to Frederick Mall narrowing an always busy stretch.

Where will they park in the winter?

Melrose and Borden both have more than 100 cars (check a previous post for how many) that won’t be able to park on one side in the winter? Where will they go?? People are already legally parking in large numbers where they have never parked before such as Sheldon, Chapel, further down Cameron, deeper into the neighbourhood streets between Stirling and Krug.

In places that weren’t in the parking study! But that I predicted even some that I didn’t. Where will all these cars go in the winter?

Positive developments

  • The car pool lot was full! As recommended by the Auditorium Neighbourhood Association, the minimum should be 4 people as presented by the Rangers to city council in February. It would also help to expand the car pool area or use a bigger lot as the ANA and I requested in the spring when we learned the planned 100 new parking spaces in the parking lot would not happen for this season.
  • Fans have embraced the Rangers Express! I understand some buses were full. There sounds like there is room for additional buses at some locations. The greatest potential for improvement is downtown where there is plenty of parking. Can people park in city lots for free? If not, could they? I’ve been asking for a year. Do people know they could park in the Manulife lot off Water for free?
  • Paid parking well used! I heard complaints on Twitter about the cost but it is reasonable for a full season plus playoffs. People are willing to pay since the lot looked pretty full. Let’s expand it!
  • Apparently there are some kind of passes available from GRT. But there were no details in the material sent to fans. It says to look on the GRT website that doesn’t appear to have any info–at least not easily found. Nor have I seen any publicity for this option as I have seen for the Rangers Express. What are the improved routes promised in the flyer? How many buses are using that route 8 stop across from the Aud that is mentioned in the hour before the game?
  • The Rangers website has great info on carpooling, the Rangers Express and paid parking. But none of it is easy to find from the front page. You need to guess that it is in the Fan Zone and then each is on a different page without any link to the other transit/parking options to being on the street or illegally parking.
  • The city distributed a good information package to local residents on Wednesday including a copy of the transportation information given to Ranger season ticket holders.

All this was predicted by me a year ago

I predicted all of these problems a year ago when I asked where people will park, questioned assumptions in the parking study and made recommendations. The positive steps are great! But they are not nearly enough. Not yet. I understand we’re just getting started but as far as I’m concerned, we’re already behind when we never needed to be.

I’ve been promised that things will get better and that the city and the fans are both on a learning curve. I knew that before tonight but the learning curve is much steeper than even I anticipated.

Let’s speed up that learning curve. Where will all the illegally parked cars park on Sunday? Next Friday??

Let’s be sure Grand River Transit is a much larger part of the solution for a sizable number of fans ASAP. That should mean shuttles from the iXpress at Charles and Ottawa and the downtown terminal as I have called for since last fall.

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11 comments on “Where they are parking to go to Kitchener Memorial Auditorium

  1. Under “Immediate safety issue” you listed “Cars are legally parked on both sides of Krug Street from East to the expressway. But doing so limits visibility for traffic crossing Krug and narrows it extremely for traffic along Krug.”

    I don’t believe either of these things are actually safety issues. I’ll address the second first, as it partially explains why neither is particularly dangerous: Narrow streets are only a problem if your concern is speed. If your concern is safety, however, then a narrower street is exactly what you want. Cars move slower and more cautiously, and as a result serious accidents should decrease. As far as visibility is concerned, when both sides of the street are lined with cars, its edge is drawn in by two car widths, which means that attempts to cross or pull onto Krug just need to pull out as far as the edge of the parked car wall, and they’ll have much slower traffic to contend with and much less Krug to cross, and it will be slightly less convenient for them. But likely pretty safe.

    I also don’t think the points you’ve listed under “Future safety issues” are safety issues at all. They’re just examples of places where people are likely to park, which isn’t inherently dangerous.

    • You make some good points about Krug though I still think there are safety issues. Based on my experience views are obstructed crossing Krug unless you pull out into the edge of traffic which can lead to an accident. I also think that drivers who are used to cruising down Krug may not slow down as described.

      The safety issue on the other streets is access by emergency vehicles in the winter that I have written about before. Parking is restricted to one side on Melrose (near the Aud), Borden (between King and Weber) because after the last Aud expansion streets became too tight for emergency vehicles especially fire trucks. Dumfries always has one sided parking ar least in part for a similar reason. On Randerson I see it as especially critical because it is a dead end street with only one access of McKenzie (which also has two sided parking).

  2. I’m obviously not suggesting that people should be parking illegally, but on wider streets like Krug and East where there is plenty of extra room that’s generally only used for speeding and passing (activities that are inherently dangerous), if there is capacity for parking and people are willing to walk to and from them, I don’t see the problem is using that capacity. The idea should be to charge a premium for the closest locations, and let those who choose to park further-out pay for their parking with their time and feet.

    The evidence that drivers will slow down in the face of a temporarily narrowed street, regardless of how used to driving fast and unobstructed they are, becomes apparent every time there’s road work being done (notice how calmed traffic on Frederick has been for months). Every road has a natural speed limit based on its geometries, and drivers that refuse to conform to the variable conditions of more complex streets are the same drivers that are even more dangerous when they have extra room to drive extra fast, and extra distractedly.

    As far as restricting emergency access on narrower side streets, illegal parking is illegal parking, and people who choose to ignore parking by-laws should be ticketed and towed accordingly, which I suspect will quickly convince many to either park legally further away, or take advantage of transit and shuttle services.

    I still think you’re conflating the nuisance of having a ton of parked cars distributed throughout the neighbourhood and the hassle of trying to drive to and from the Aud with that many cars around with genuine safety concerns.

    • My concern about Krug Street was based upon my own experience Friday night and mainly related to trying to cross it when so many vehicles obstructed the view of potential oncoming traffic. My wife who was with me mentioned it without me saying anything. You can disagree but that’s my perspective.

      The issue on side streets is very real as we experienced after the last expansion when it was difficult for emergency vehicles to access Melrose between Krug and Stirling and Borden between Weber and King. Winter parking restrictions were implemented after the problem surfaced. I’ve been trying for a year to ensure we addressed expected problem areas proactively until waiting again until the problem surfaces. The two sided parking is legal but that doesn’t make it safe for residents especially when the roads are narrowed by snowbanks. I am particularly concerned about Randerson which is a long dead end street.

      I haven’t mentioned East Ave. but since you have, i’ll repeat a concern I first mentioned a year ago that parking on East makes the line of cars waiting for the light at Krug longer and will result in traffic after games being pushed onto Glendale and Merner that are not meant to have that volume of traffic and increases the chances of accidents at Merner and Krug.

      Whether you agree with my safety concerns or not, the residential neighbourhood around the Auditorium should not be expected to be a parking lot for the facility and the expansion should not widen the residential area used for Auditorium parking. Just as the area around the Centre in the Square is not used for parking nor are Victoria Park neighborhoods used for festival parking.

  3. Additional discussion on this topic can be found on WonderfulWaterloo.com: http://www.wonderfulwaterloo.com/showthread.php?t=242&page=14

  4. Thank you for your great perspective on this problem. Have you any suggestions for how to have routine bylaw enforcement during this transition period? I had great difficulty getting through on the phone line to request enforcement of cars parked past the stop sign. I would hate for a real emergency (gas, utilities) to get stuck in a phone queue.

  5. Routine enforcement is supposed to be taking place. I recommend calling in any infractions though since it helps ensure they get attention and that common problem spots are high on the list for bylaw enforcement.

    I experienced a similar problem in getting through on Friday night. I suspect Friday will be the worst night at least until after a good snowfall or two. People should figure out where they will get tickets and avoid them. So the volume should decrease and make it easier for all calls to get through. If not, then it’s a staffing issue at the contact centre that will need to be addressed when the Auditorium is at or near capacity.

  6. I was denied handicap parking because I did not have 3 people or more in my car, even when showing a valid handicap sign. I was told only cars with 3 or more people could park in this lot and that included handicap. Can they override an handicap parking spot when ever it suit someone. Is this not discrimatory against handicap people. We han to park far , far away and was forced to walk.There were empty spots at the parking lot but I was still denied. Talk about public relation diaster about to happen.

  7. Sounds like there was a problem Gary. I thought that the handicap spaces would be closer to the building and not in the lot used for carpooling but maybe there are some spaces in there. If so, I’d think that they should be used for people in your situation. I suggest that you contact the Auditorium directly (http://www.theaud.ca/contact_us.htm) to explain what happened and find a better solution for next time.

  8. I have been using the shuttle bus’s from local bars. They are working great. I feel they will be used more in the future as the fans become more aware of them and see the advantage. My concern is that as more fans use the bus’s the more bus’s are going to be required. The dropping off prior to the game should not be too much of an issue but if you double the amount of bus’s that are picking up after the game then I can see an issue of the pick up zone’s. Traffic, safety, locating the bus, places to pick up etc. I hope they are planning for the future.

    • Excellent to hear that you’re enjoying the Rangers Express. I understand it has been popular and could attract even more fans if they know they don’t need to go to the bar or restaurant before or after the game. You have legitimate concerns about the number of buses and the logistics but that’d be a good problem to have and should be solvable if desired.

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