Joanne Chianello, Ottawa Citizen
On-street parking at Lansdowne Park continues to be so confusing that Mayor Jim Watson says the city may look at banning street parking on the site if the issue isn’t cleared up by next year.
In the meantime, the city must come up with a plan to stop illegal parking in front of the Cineplex, the mayor told reporters Tuesday.
Watson is not in favour of getting rid of the approximately 50 "legitimate" onstreet parking spots at the redeveloped retail and entertainment complex on Bank Street, which has been opening in stages since 2014. He said the on-street spots can be helpful to people with mobility issues.
“They just want to pop in to the bank for five minutes, and that option should be available,” said the mayor, adding there should probably be “a few more spots” for people with disabilities.
But Watson did concede that there continues to be confusion between cars, pedestrians and cyclists at Lansdowne, with each type of traveller not sure where he or she should go, or who has the right of way. And there have been ongoing issues with illegal parking in front of the recently opened Cineplex theatre complex.
Watson hopes that when the construction on the Lansdowne site is finally complete, it will be easier for everyone to get around. However, when asked if the city should consider banning surface parking, Watson didn’t rule it out. “If we still have the same problems in a year from now, we’re going to have to look at what we can do to make everyone safe,” he said. “Right now, it’s still in the midst of being a construction site.
“You’ve got all the office construction on the front, you’ve got fit-ups of some of the stores and restaurants on either side of the Cineplex.”
The area in front of the Cineplex is public space and controlled by the city. During Monday’s Def Leppard concert at the TD Place arena, dozens of people were parked in front of the theatre. While tradespeople are allowed to park there during construction — hence the “Authorized Parking Only” signs that are erected in the area — that space “is not a parking lot,” Watson said.
“That area around the Cineplex is too confusing right now and we have to do something about it,” he said.
Measures could include better signage, or city staff directing traffic during major events like concerts. And there’s always the option of levying fines as a deterrent.
“Parking tickets would do the trick, certainly in the short run,” Watson said.