Revitalization

Abundant Surface Parking Ripe for Development

By RTH Staff
Published August 09, 2007

Astounding as it may sound, some people still think we need more parking in downtown Hamilton.

Sadly, it isn't just people from the suburbs who never come downtown (therefore giving very little credibility to their opinion), but even people who should know better - like the folks running the Downtown BIA.

This photo image, originally a screen scrape from Google Maps, was found on the Skyscraper Page (credit to Flar).

Highlighted areas are surface parking
Highlighted areas are surface parking

The areas highlighted in pink aren't the location of new condo or loft projects. They are the locations of our precious parking lots.

Not surprisingly, this area is bisected by Main and Wilson Streets with Cannon St. nearby.

With the province offering to pick up the capital costs for a new rapid transit system from McMaster to Eastgate, we hope City Hall has the foresight and vision to realize that a rail line through this empty swath of parking lots would open up these urban lands for new mixed-use communities with stores, cafes, hotels and residents.

We need people with some vision, leadership and plain old common sense in City Hall.

The current bunch have done little in their first year. We just hope they don't screw up this potential for LRT.

Most of all, we hope they see all these empty lots for what they are: monuments to a screwed-up downtown. More important, they are spaces that can house the future residents and office workers in our city.

As long as we don't elect anyone from the Downtown BIA to City Hall, we have a fighting chance. We at RTH anxiously await the end of summer to get a sense of where Council's heads are at regarding this golden opportunity.

Interesting days lie ahead. Stay tuned, and don't worry: there's plenty of parking for everyone.

7 Comments

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By Joe (registered) | Posted August 10, 2007 at 09:41:29

Wow, there's an entire city block used for parking (top, to the right). The core should not have that much wasted space.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 10, 2007 at 10:06:46

someone who can play with these map programs better than I should try to highlight areas that also have underground parking too. I have no problem with underground parking, but when one sees how much of it we have it makes all these surface lots even more perplexing.

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By Laura (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2007 at 10:11:02

I think what people really think we need downtown is free parking. If you have to drive to get to some of the cool places downtown, having to pay a few bucks for parking (and then having to walk to where you're going) is a deterrent to going. I don't think that lack of parking is a deterrent.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 10, 2007 at 14:03:35

actually, too much parking is a deterrant. instead of getting out of your car in the middle of a bustling, vibrant city, you get out in the middle of parking lot in the middle of 4 other parking lots. Pretty exciting stuff for a Friday night. People in Hamilton spend a pile of gas money and drive all the way to Toronto all the time. Then they pay some of the highest parking rates in Canada and walk for hours on end to their various destinations. If people are willing to pay a lot of money for parking and do a lot of walking once they arrive, I don't think paying 3 bucks in Hamilton and having to walk 4 blocks is a deterrant. All the empty lots creating a sense of decay, danger and emptiness are a huge obstacle to getting people downtown.

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By mark (registered) | Posted August 10, 2007 at 14:56:47

Laura, you don't have to drive to get downtown. Hopon the bus. Practically every bus route will bring you downtown.

Once rapid transit is established, there will be an even more attractive alternative mode of transport downtown.

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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted August 10, 2007 at 15:57:26

Well busing to downtown doesn't work so well for everyone. Hamilton's transit system for many users is atrocious. I lived in Dundas for 18 months and quite frankly it just wasn't an option.

As for parking, I wonder how many underground lots Hamilton has? Here in TO there is an abundance of underground parking, much of it buried under the huge office towers. And much of the residential parking is either buried or located in covered lots on the buildings first floor.

As Jason says, excesssive downtown surface parking is a symptom of a dying core. If land prices were more expensive it would be too costly to use it for parking.

LRT is one of many ways to get the core moving and start bringing businesses - and people - back.

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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted August 10, 2007 at 15:57:51

Well busing to downtown doesn't work so well for everyone. Hamilton's transit system for many users is atrocious. I lived in Dundas for 18 months and quite frankly it just wasn't an option.

As for parking, I wonder how many underground lots Hamilton has? Here in TO there is an abundance of underground parking, much of it buried under the huge office towers. And much of the residential parking is either buried or located in covered lots on the buildings first floor.

As Jason says, excesssive downtown surface parking is a symptom of a dying core. If land prices were more expensive it would be too costly to use it for parking.

LRT is one of many ways to get the core moving and start bringing businesses - and people - back.

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