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?