It’s been staring me right in the face. Literally and figuratively.

Then today as I drove down Park Street it hit me past the old BF Goodrich parking lot. No, that’s not the solution. The lot looked pretty well used. But maybe it could be part of the solution if it isn’t fully subscribed?

What caught my attention was the line of people getting into a purple bus. I deduced that these were folks parking there but being transported to where they worked.

That’s when it hit me. I remembered at the tail end of a meeting around the Tannery District, Councillor Berry Vrbanovic saying that he was among those that thought that before the city built more parking structures to serve downtown that it should offer parking at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium and shuttle them downtown. At the time I laughed and didn’t think it’d be a viable solution, but today showed me that people would use it.

So why wait? Let’s get busy working out the logistics and see if we can have this option in place by Labour Day. Doing so would make renting out downtown office space such as that in the Macpherson Centre much easier. It might even help Cadan decide to preserve one or more (all?) of the smaller Tannery District buildings that are to be demolished in July.

I expect the Park Street parking lot could share some lessons on how to make this option work and lessen the learning curve. I would suggest a one to two year trial period that would be reevaluated based upon its success (defined by its ability to recover its costs) and the availability of parking in the downtown core.

And the beauty of this plan is that falls 100% in the City of Kitchener’s jurisdiction so if the will exists they can make it happen. And why wouldn’t they actively pursue an option with definite benefits to the city’s economic development? Empty office space in the core that is difficult to rent does nothing to help revitalize the heart of the city.

5 thoughts on “The solution to downtown Kitchener’s parking shortage

  1. I’ve seen a purple school bus shuttling people to the SunLife tower on Union. It’s pretty astounding how much surface parking that one tower relies on (and how many homes were torn down to obtain that surface parking).

  2. Good post James. I like this solution too. In my mind it reinforces the idea that the answer to the transportation and parking riddle in Waterloo Region is not necessarily traditional mass transit, but an innovative approach that combines the benefits of personal vehicles with those of group transit. Waterloo Region is unlike any other – geographically and politically – but it has always been a centre of innovative thinking. Perhaps its time to direct that thinking toward transportation issues not just parking.

  3. I agree with Dwight, in that I think the area needs particular solutions for its particular problems, I also think the new parking garages ought to have been built on the edge of town with new transit in. But am starting to think that its because the area is a centre for innovation that it does not seem to be able to do anything ordinary very well!

  4. Yep, that’s the solution. I’ll locate my business in the Tannery and tell my customers to park 2 km away and watch for a purple bus. That will work, I’m pretty sure no one will mind the hassle.

    1. This solution is for parking needed for office workers not for retail customers. It’s meant for people who want to drive to work but do not need their cards during the day. I think it could be attractive if the pricing is lower than downtown.
      If enough office workers parked outside the core though, it could free up some parking for retail purposes in the core.

Leave a Reply