Drivers who currently use the unpaved ‘ring road’ within City Park will have to find a new place to leave their vehicles after Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, when the city plans to shut down the road for parking.
In a report being presented to Council on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, City Staff are citing damage to the road over several years, and the city’s climate emergency declaration and strategic priority to enhance green spaces, as the reasons for the permanent closure.
“It’s beyond repair in some cases and [it] would require significant investment just to maintain what we’ve got now, and we’ve got lots of other lots and on-street options for people who want to use their vehicles to get to City Park,” said Luke Follwell, the Director of Engineering Services for the City, adding an emphasis that residents can still use active transportation and Kingston Transit to get to the park.
The ring road within the park has been a location for people to leave their vehicles while using the park, but has also been used as an access road during events, such as ArtFest, which takes place every July. The report details that it is difficult to enforce the parking limitation to users, notably during peak use times during the summer.
Follwell noted that, in closing the road to vehicular traffic, events could actually see an increase in size, as there would be additional space for vendors and stalls to set up within the park. The city has been working with events in the past year on shuttle services, as well.
Staff aren’t recommending that the new pathway, which will be permanently installed through the winter and into the spring, be paved. Instead, the center of the existing road will be repaired, with the entire path being narrowed. Vehicular access will be stopped by concrete bollards for the winter, with more appropriate entrances installed in the spring.
Currently, the road also acts as overflow parking for those with Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario, who display tags in the windows to indicate their use of the space.
“We’ve already expanded the areas available to [Cancer Centre visitors] to include Barrie Street and King Street at the south end of the park,” said Ian Semple, Director of Transportation Services with the City. These expanded options are in addition to the Richardson and Waterfront lots in MacDonald Park, and the expansion of spaces covered by Honk Mobile earlier this year.
The city plans to promote the changes to the park alongside other active transportation options and further promotion of the existing Transpass program in hopes to encourage more users who use the park to bus into the area.
In addition to the changes to the ring road, municipal staff will be looking at a review of Bagot Street and Court Street to find additional on-street metered options, as well as locations for new accessible parking. That report is expected in early 2020.
The report, which is being provided for Council’s information of a Staff decision, is included in the agenda for their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.