Parking is at a premium for the shops in Lansdowne Park. (Tony Caldwell/Ottawa Sun)
Jon Willing, Ottawa Sun
Lansdowne Park is becoming exactly what the local councillor wanted to avoid when the city was designing the urban park and shopping district.
"I think it's terrible," Capital Coun. David Chernushenko told the Sun Monday. "There's far more vehicle traffic on the whole site than what was envisioned."
Chernushenko said the city will need to do something before a car "culture" becomes prominent on the site.
The most glaring evidence is the pop-up parking lot that has occasionally taken over Aberdeen Square, an area between Aberdeen Pavilion and the Cineplex.
The city put up "no parking" signs but motorists still pull in. Chernushenko said, based on anecdotal evidence from security, motorists say they are just quickly visiting a store. More barriers or traffic control staff might be necessary, he said.
Lansdowne has a paid underground parking lot and some paid surface parking. The city and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group anticipated that would be enough parking when combined with street parking in the Glebe.
Lansdowne was designed to be friendlier to other modes of transportation — cycling and walking — and to naturally discourage car traffic.
It's still early in the life of the redevelopment but Chernushenko noted some conflict between the modes.
"I'm surprised and disappointed by the evolution," Chernushenko said. "We have to do a serious rethink about the amount of vehicles allowed on the site."
A spokesman for the OSEG, the retail landlord for Lansdowne, said there have been no parking-related complaints from retailers. OSEG says it's working with the city on parking signage and enforcement in the public realm as people get used to the new Lansdowne.
Bylaw chief Roger Chapman said OSEG has deputized staff and contracted security to enforce parking, although warnings instead of fines have been issued in some cases where cars are parked illegally.
"Lansdowne Park continues to be under construction and in transition to full operations," Chapman said in an e-mail. "As such, not all parking signage is in place and therefore, where that is the case, warnings are issued to drivers, as appropriate. Additional signage will be installed shortly."
Parking isn't the only problem for Chernushenko.
He said at Lansdowne, like on Elgin St., pedestrians are starting to feel "squeezed" by patios. Restaurants have been building patios — in some cases, pulling up new paving stones for infrastructure — that jut from their storefronts.
"They are very, very big patios. I'm really getting the feeling like there's a new building," Chernushenko said.