Team encouraging fans to take public transit to games and avoid driving
Glebe residents and Ottawa's bylaw department are warning homeowners living near Lansdowne Park not to rent out their driveways during Ottawa RedBlacks games.
The team makes their home debut at TD Place at Lansdowne Park on Friday in a 7 p.m. game against the Toronto Argonauts.
With an eye to easing expected traffic congestion, the city and team owner Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group have introduced a number of measures to discourage driving to the games.
OSEG is encouraging fans to make use of free public transit and park-and-ride shuttle services and is also offering secure on-site parking for bicycles. But a recent survey suggested only four in 10 fans planned to take advantage of the free services.
Driving still preferable says fan
Football fan Kyle Stevenson is not one of them. He said getting his group of 16 from Renfrew, Ont., in a few vehicles is more convenient.
"It just really doesn't suit us perfectly, it's tough to run the shuttles and get everyone together," he said.
But street parking is expected to be difficult.
Residents concerned about fans taking up parking spots successfully petitioned the city to change free parking limits on some nearby roads from three hours to one hour.
So Stevenson is one of a number of Canadian Football League fans putting out online want ads for parking spots to rent. At least one ad is offering a spot for sale.
Selling spot punishable by fines of up to $5,000
Stevenson said he's willing to pay up to $250 for parking at the nine Redblacks home games this year.
What Stevenson's doing is legal, but the city's bylaw department says selling a parking spot is against zoning bylaws and punishable with a fine of up to $5,000.
Brian Mitchell, the chair of the traffic committee of the Glebe Community Association, said fans should avoid driving to the games. He said those looking for driveways or street parking on game day will likely be out of luck.
"No matter what you think there will not be the parking you need to meet your needs, there is not a big parking lot at Lansdowne anymore," said Mitchell.
"Even if there are a handful of spots, there will be a hundreds of people circling the neighbourhood and eventually realizing they need to go to a shuttle lot or else they will miss the kickoff," he said.