Thursday, March 31, 2011

STAR REPORT ON HUMBER STUDENTS PARKING AT SAM SMITH

The signs say park and facility users can park for free in the lot at the bottom of Colonel Samuel Smith Dr.
And judging by the number of cars there, the park should have been buzzing with visitors on a recent Monday afternoon. There were a few people walking their dogs, but other than that, there didn’t appear to be a lot of folks using the park and waterfront trail. Then again, it’s hard to tell who’s who — visitors to the park or students walking through the lakefront campus of nearby Humber College adjacent to the park. Chances are pretty good that most of the vehicles in the lot likely belong to students or staff taking advantage of a freebee.
And that’s got Mark Hlibchuk steamed. He recently came to the park to skate on the trail but couldn’t because all the spots in the free lot were full. He figures students “ignored the numerous signs which state that this lot is for park users only.”
Hlibchuk complained to Ward 6 Councillor Mark Grimes, whose constituency assistant Colin Johnson told him the lot is “open to all . . . including Humber College students. . . . The parks department does not have any policies in place to target drivers using the lot who are not there to make use of the park.” Hlibchuk said he was advised the posted signs are merely a “suggestion,” and unenforceable by law.
“Unless there is a bylaw, people will just ignore the sign,” he told The Fixer. Hlibchuk wants a bylaw passed, “but I don’t think the will is there with councillors, parks and rec, parking, or any other city department.”
Though he doesn’t get many complaints about the parking lot, city manager of parks Kevin Bowser said enforcing the rules at the busy park is tough. It would mean bringing on staff to mark tires and monitor who’s using the lot. That’s time-consuming and expensive. An alternative would be to charge for parking there, just as the city does in the municipal lot to the north, closer to campus. That no doubt would upset legitimate park users.
Bowser said his staff will meet with the parking authority to see what can be worked out and report back. Good thing is, the college year is almost over, which will free up spaces at least until September.

1 comment:

Jeff White said...

The parking situation was the inevitable consequence of two decisions that failed to take parking into consideration:

1. Contruction of the skate trail, which attracts more users to the area while at the same time reducing the space available for parking;

2. Construction of the leash-free dog park, which also attracts more vehicles to the area.