Bruce Todd, who is supposed to be retired from a 40+ year career in traffic engineering, but nonetheless branded an "instant expert" by several pro-LVEC luminaries, none loftier than William Leggett, ex-principal of Queen's University, is briefing everyone about implications of the proposed LVEC / KRSEC on the North Block.
September 18, 2006
The main points that I have trouble with are the following -
(1) IBI sticks to their assumption that people will be willing to walk 600 metres (straight line - 700 to 800 metres actual) to events, despite data which has studied the movements of people and advises a maximum 500 metres for tolerable walking distances. They don't give their sources because they don't have any.
(2) IBI uses information from the CastleGlenn Report despite the fact that that report has never received final approval, and that is not ethically correct in my opinion.
(3) IBI does not take into consideration the narrow sidewalks surrounding this site, and the consequences (safety aspects) of these sidewalks regarding pedestrian flows, and this is a major oversight for a Traffic Impact Study.
(4) IBI stresses the positive effects of people leaving the area after an event from several parking areas rather than one big one (supposedly with few exits), but says very little about the difficulties of finding parking in the first place when it is spread out in small areas. The concept of "dispersed" parking is not even recognized in mainstream traffic engineering. The big problem with such a scheme is creating hundreds of trips to parking lots only to find they are full, with the resultant driver frustration and unsafety this can cause.
(5) IBI has not shown a similar case of so-called "dispersed" parking for anyone to judge whether it can work or not.
(6) IBI insists it has studied the parking supply on a Friday night in Kingston around 6-7 p.m., despite the fact that the CastleGlenn Report did not study it, and IBI does not mention the word Friday in its report. All street parking and most of the surface parking lots are already full on a Friday night between 6-7 p.m. There are 23 OHL games on a Friday night. Where will people park?
(7) IBI says they have been told that "the City will establish a parking supply equilibrium" in the downtown core so that any parking lost by development will be replaced. But recent articles in the Whig Standard suggest there is no ability to create more surface parking in the downtown because the city has no land to develop parking. What are we to believe?
(8) IBI falls into the same trap of using London as an example of their so-called dispersed parking scheme. But London has 10,000 parking spots. There are 33 parking lots within 500 metres (the published and accepted maximum) of their arena, with very large lots and an above-ground garage nextdoor to the arena. The parking lots are laid out one right after the other in many cases, creating a giant parking lot right around the block on which the arena sits. IBI is comparing apples to apple blossoms.
(9) IBI skirts the issue of daytime event impact by saying capacity events don't occur during the day. Well, we don't need any where near a capacity event to cause parking problems in the daytime downtown. We are all aware of the recent parking study which suggested ways of trying to ease the parking shortfalls in the downtown core. So, it takes only a couple of hundred people trying to find daytime parking to attend an event for the problem of parking to be exacerbated again and again.
(10) IBI had an excellent opportunity to tell the City what traffic would be like with a completed Wellington Street Extension, and/or with a 6000-seat arena (should the city decide to expand in 10 years or so), and/or use the 2026 scenario which the Transportation Master Plan used, to give the City an indication of what could confront them down the road. But IBI did none of these things to help us understand.
In summary, IBI has unprofessionally wriggled its way around addressing any problems with this project. IBI is proposing a parking scenario that is clearly in uncharted waters. And the city and the taxpayers are left to resolve their own problems.
Even the roadway and intersection layout around the site used by IBI for its traffic analysis does not exist. It exists only in concept through the Downtown Action Plan, and already there have been some reservations about following the proposed designs within this action plan (Johnson Street conversion to two-way). So everything seems to be left up in the air.
The city should have posted the Traffic Impact Study on its website. By not doing so, the general population has again been shut out of a part of the process, leading to more bad relationships with city hall.
In my view, if all the site plan issues are not completed, Planning Committee should be reserving its right to rule on the adequacy of the site until all issues are resolved. Noise abatement and site access issues are but two areas that should be resolved before Planning Committee gives its blessing to this project.
Now we hear that city hall wants the Planning Committee to hand over all future approvals to Mr George Wallace, and bypass council and community involvement. It never ends.