UXBRIDGE: On the heels of issues being raised by local residents, councillors recently altered plans for parking on Main St. South as part of the current road reconstruction project.
Originally, plans called for there to be 14 angled parking spaces, which was later reduced to 10 spaces. But, in a report to councillors included in their agenda at the May 11 meeting, Public Works Director Ben Kester explained that his office had received notice of concern from area residents about the proposed parking lot.
“This is a small piece of land and what I consider to be an important park that pays homage to our fallen soldiers,” a letter from resident Colin Clark said. “Paving over essentially half of it with parking spots simply eliminates half of what is already a small park to begin with. Perhaps lowering the number of spots and relocating them would be less invasive to the park.”
Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger agreed with Mr. Clark, adding that he had spoken with residents in the area, and offered the alternative of four parallel parking spaces on the west side of Main St. South.
“After meeting with the residents, I agree that it’s too much pavement and too many parking spaces. I would worry about those people backing up onto Main St.” explained Councillor Ballinger. “I spoke with Ben (Kester) and came up with that instead of 10 angle parking spots, we could have four parallel.”
The concerns over potential traffic safety issues were echoed by Ward 4 Councillor Fred Bryan, the area’s repesentative on council.
“I think we need to have four parallel spots because the problem with angled parking is backing out might create some traffic hazards,” added Councillor Bryan.
Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor noted that since the street will have curbs and gutters installed as part of the current project, these will be the only parking spaces in the immediate area.
“The neighbours need to understand that if they have visitors, that there are no parking spots except for these,” said Mayor O’Connor.
Additionally, Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet expressed concern for the safety of parallel parking, as well as questioning the amount of space that would actually be saved as part of the change in plans.
“I understand what you’re trying to achieve by introducing it, but the issue is if you have parallel parking you’re in the roadway, whereas if you have designated parking that’s angled, you’re off the thoroughfare,” commented Councillor Highet. “When you have cars end-to-end that equates to six to eight spaces if they were on an angle, you’re still looking out your window at cars, just in a different configuration.”
Eventually, a motion would pass to change the parking plan and establish four parallel spaces.
Later, Mayor O’Connor opined that the changes to the plan may also present some cost savings on the $2 million project, which is scheduled to finish in late-August.