Andrew Haydon Park in Ottawa’s west end is one step closer to being the site of a “park-and-cycle” pilot program starting next year, after the city’s transportation committee endorsed the proposal on Wednesday.
The pilot, similar to a park-and-ride lot for public transit riders, would see 10 existing spots set aside in Andrew Haydon’s parking lot for west-end residents who want to leave their vehicles there during the work day and bike the remaining distance into downtown.
If approved by planning committee and city council, the “park-and-cycle” pilot project would launch in 2020 and operate for three cycling seasons (April to November), until late 2022.
The parking spots would be available to park-and-cyclists between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Monday to Friday on a first come, first served basis. This would minimize the pilot’s interference with activities and special events that take place at Andrew Haydon during daytime and evening hours, transportation planning staff wrote in a report submitted to the committee.
City staff recommended the three-year pilot at the park off Carling Avenue in the Britannia Bay area after studying the idea over the last half-year.
Former Kanata North councillor Marianne Wilkinson got support for that study last August after a handful of residents complained about being fined for illegally leaving their cars in Andrew Haydon’s parking lot during the workday earlier in 2018.
The park-and-cycle pilot would present a legal option for those commuters once it begins. Staff said they would review the results of the pilot project after it wraps up and report back to the transportation committee.
Implementing, monitoring and evaluating a three-year park-and-cycle pilot would cost approximately $11,000, the staff report estimated.
The report said that price tag comes from the costs and staff time associated with getting the site rezoned in 2019, installing specific park-and-cycle signs, monitoring the pilot, promoting the program and informing the public as well as “project management, documentation and reporting.”
Coun. Diane Deans, who sits on the transportation committee, asked whether there was a way to save taxpayers that money, such as piloting the program before pushing ahead with a zoning change and distributing passes to interested commuters. But Vivi Chi, director of transportation planning, noted that the approach recommended by staff is the city’s cheapest option.
“We want to keep it as simple and inexpensive as possible,” Chi told councillors on Wednesday.
The city’s planning committee will have to approve the zoning by-law amendment.
If implemented, the program wouldn’t be the first of its kind in the city of Ottawa. The National Capital Commission already permits parking and cycling at 10 designated locations across Ottawa, with 350 spaces in total.
In studying locations for a municipal park-and-cycle pilot, residents were consulted about operating a program at Britannia Park, located east of Andrew Haydon Park. But the public and Coun. Theresa Kavanagh said they preferred Andrew Haydon because more parking spaces could be made available for the pilot, those spaces are less in demand during the weekday than Britannia Park’s and Andrew Haydon has closer access to the bike path.
Staff also ruled out, for now, using existing park-and-ride lots for park-and-cycle programs because most of those lots are at or near capacity — plus, they aren’t necessarily close to bike routes. Using private mall parking lots and school lots were both struck down due to cost and limited availability, respectively.
The staff report also suggested that a park-and-cycle program would not be expanded to a “large scale.”
“Park-and-cycle can be effective and affordable if implemented at a small scale, sufficient to accommodate the relatively small market of car/cycle commuters by making use of existing parking facilities at an appropriate distance from the city centre,” the report argued.
“With affordability in mind, the expansion of park-and-cycle to a large scale by way of expanding parking lots or building new ones is not desirable because it would mean relatively high costs to benefit a small number of users.”