Recommendations offered to alleviate SOEC parking problems - InfoNews

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Recommendations offered to alleviate SOEC parking problems

Penticton city staff are delivering their updated report on parking conditions at the South Okanagan Events Centre to tomorrow's regular council meeting, Dec. 18, 2018.
December 17, 2018 - 2:10 PM

PENTICTON - Parking pressures continue to be an issue at the South Okanagan Events Centre complex, according to a report bound for city council this week.

Director of Facilities Bregje Kozak will present the latest of the city’s findings in its updated South Okanagan Events Centre parking study report at the regular council meeting tomorrow, Dec. 18.

Public consultation found frustrations regarding parking at certain times with many residents suggesting the relocation of the casino as a major factor in the loss of space for parking. Neighbouring property owners also said there is a difficulty finding room to park in front of their properties during special events.

The report is an update of a 2015 parking strategy, completed prior to the Cascades Casino relocation, and focuses on short- to-medium term options that can be implemented with low cost and impact.

When on-street, off-street lots and distant off-street lots are taken into account, the events centre has a total of 2,266 parking spaces available, but there is a shortfall of 19 spots for the campus as a whole. When adjacent off site lots are factored in, the shortfall becomes a surplus of 293 spots.

The report noted Cascade Casino’s contribution to parking was above and beyond city requirements. Of 80 parking stalls required, the casino has 65, but make up for the additional 15 spots through an annual payment to the city of $48.60 per stall. The casino also paid $180,000 for the Eckhardt Avenue parking lot, in addition to funding event shuttles, and park and ride services. Additionally, a shuttle provided by the casino is free to anyone wishing a ride to the events centre.

Busiest times for parking lots around the events centre were during special events which filled on-site and off-site lots, but did not fill the distant off-site lots. Nearby residents were negatively impacted during these times as was traffic congestion around the campus, but only for a short period of time. Demand for accessible spots also became an issue at this time.

Other issues identified included the lack or subpar facilities for pedestrian and bicycle connectivity, and a lack of way finding or directional signage in the various parking lots.

City staff outlined four improvement categories that support a number of different options in each to address the complex’s parking needs including:

  1. A parking reconfiguration category that would look at the facility's various parking lots and what might be done to create more parking space. It includes looking at such options as replacing the baseball diamond with a parking lot and building a multi-level parkade on the site.
  2. A parking policies and management review category for parking management that could include on- and-off street restrictions, pay parking and staff parking in certain lots for event days.
  3. A wayfinding category that looks at the need for wayfinding signage both on- and off-site the campus.
  4. A look at pedestrian facilities and connectivity that would review possible opportunities to improve pedestrian safety and connectivity throughout the events centre property, including the installation of crosswalks at strategic locations and creation of an expanded Memorial Arena loading zone.

The report also looked at the possibility for review and improvement of other modes of transportation such as an alternative to using personal vehicles to access the events centre through Transportation Demand Management opportunities.

The report recommends breaking up the suggestions for improvement into short (0-2 years), medium (3-5 years) and long-term (+5 years) recommendations in order to mitigate the cost and impact of the improvements.

In the short term, parking budget requests would focus on funding to deal with parking policies and management, way finding and pedestrian facilities, followed by budget asks for improvements to parking configuration and the possible addition of more parking lots.

Long-term recommendations would look at pricier items, such as new parking lots or the creation of a multi-level parkade.

Staff are proposing an inclusion of $100,000 into the 2019 budget to address short term recommendations.

Pending direction from council at tomorrow’s regular meeting, next steps could include additional workshops to discuss transportation demand management opportunities, budgeting for the various short, medium and long-term options, and continued work with B.C. Transit and Handy-DART services to improve transit accessibility to the events centre grounds.


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