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604Re: WorldTransport Forum Parking strategies

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  • Chris Bradshaw
    May 25, 2006
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      The idea of temporarily converting a curb parking spot to a park was tried
      in Ottawa by our Car-Free Ottawa group in the early 1990s. We did it in the
      Byward Market in the Lower Town area, and the result was anger by nearby
      merchants that they were losing customers by converting a parking spot for
      cars to a spot for parking our various "human-powered vehicles." There was
      also a visit by a parking control officer threatening to issue a ticket (to
      what vehicle owner?) for not using it for its intended purpose.

      Frankly, I am more comfortable with converting parking spaces than
      converting through lanes, or closing off a street completely.

      Last year, I lead the effort in our neighbourhood for car-free day that
      targeted neither the through lanes nor street parking spaces. Instead, we
      cordoned off -- with the City's O.K. --the portion of the parking lane that
      was closest to the corners, the 9-metre section that is not marked for
      meters, and is used for short stops be delivery vehicles and taxis. Those
      sections I have proposed for "bulb-outs," curb extensions that reduce the
      crossing width for pedestrians and provide sidewalk bulges for benches,
      newsboxes, and for people to wait to cross without blocking the through
      section.

      We converted the 10 or so spaces along our main street (Bank Street) for
      public activities, such as booths, musicians performing, and a couple
      artists. It was well received, although plans for this year have not
      started.

      It was possible only by moving the day to a Saturday, when the curb lanes
      are not converted to through rush-hour traffic, since such activities would
      have taken away the entire lane.

      Chris Bradshaw
      Ottawa
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