Volume 93, Issue 83

Wednesday, March 8, 2000


NEWS

Bus might stop for graduate students

McGill gets sued over dismissal

Feds sorry about money mix-up

Council to vote on White Paper position

Border officials get new powers

CBC program sparks a gene therapy debate

Downtown parking a developing concern

Briefs

Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus 1

Caught on campus 2

Caught on campus 3

Downtown parking a developing concern



By Tola Afolabi
Gazette Staff

A night on the town with nowhere to park the car was a hot topic with London's city council, who debated the issue at Monday night's council meeting.

The need for more parking space stole the spotlight, in light of a new arena scheduled for the Talbot Street block in the downtown core, said Ward 2 councillor Rob Alder. He explained the City commissioned a report to look into potential parking related problems which may result from the new building, scheduled to open in Sept. 2001.

The report's findings showed London would be in an enviable position when it came to available parking space, he said. "We have a report that indicated there is ample parking for a full capacity event within a five minute walk [of the complex]."

However, Alder explained parking may become a serious problem in the future, when more businesses enter the downtown core and draw shoppers. "The reality is that our gut feeling [indicates] there may be a concern."

Since more downtown shoppers was something London desperately needed, city councillor Orlando Zamprogna said the potential lack of parking space was an issue council should deal with before it became a problem.

Zamprogna said a problematic situation may surface if the owners of existing parking lots stopped using their space for parking and instead, sold it to businesses planning to build. However, he added such a situation would be bittersweet. "That would be a delightful danger. The whole idea is to see that we rejuvenate downtown because it's being used less and less."

The document identified 1,365 parking spots within a two minute walk of the new complex, 3,753 spots within a four minute walk and 5,117 spots within a five minute walk, Alder explained.

The City also considered building parking garages in the downtown area, Alder said. "There is land around the centre that is coming available across the street to purchase and build a multi-level parking facility."

However, Ward 3 councillor Frank Tranquilli, said more construction would be a step in the wrong direction. "There are no parking garages necessary. The reason parking downtown is so cheap is that there is an incredible surplus," he said.

Still, London mayor Dianne Haskett said despite the ample amount of parking space cited in the report, she had a hunch it would not last as the downtown grew. "Over the course of the next few years, those sites will be developed. It would be far better to be practical," she said.

Alder said public awareness was another facet of the parking problem. "People perceive there's no parking and don't know where to park," he said.

Deputy Mayor Anne-Marie DeCicco said although parking was currently ample for the complex, the City would monitor any progress. "We'll monitor very carefully to see what the experience is once the arena becomes successful," she said.


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Copyright The Gazette 2000