Perceived Lack of Parking Could Hinder Attendance At Moncton’s Downtown Events Centre, Poll Says

Rendering of Moncton Events Centre. Image: City of Moncton

MONCTON – A recent poll by Corporate Research Associates (CRA) found the perceived lack of parking at the Downtown Events Centre, set to open this fall, would negatively impact attendance.

“All things considered, a majority of Moncton residents agree that the lack of on-site parking will have a negative impact on their likelihood to attend events at the Downtown Events Centre,” CRA said in a release.

The stadium will have the capacity to seat up to 10,000 people, but won’t have an on-site parking lot.

The poll found 67 per cent of Monctonians completely or mostly agree that the lack of on-site parking will negatively affect their likelihood to attend events at the Downtown Events Centre, while 30 per cent completely or mostly disagree that the lack of parking will have a negative effect on their attendance.

“The City of Moncton will clearly have to respond to the perceived parking issue by outlining the alternatives available within reasonable walking distance from the new Downtown Events Centre,” Don Mills, CRA’s chairman and CEO, said in the release.

“It is likely that this perceived barrier will dissipate over time based on the actual experience of residents attending events at the new centre.”

City of Moncton’s Communications Manager Nicole Melanson said there are many reasons why there isn’t an on-site parking lot at the centre. She said the aim of the project is to support downtown revitalization and increase downtown property tax base.

“If we keep that raison d’etre in mind, surface parking in downtown isn’t the best use of prime land from a tax revenue perspective. And downtown alone generates 14 per cent of all the city’s property tax revenues,” she said.

However, the city understands there are concerns about parking, Melanson said.

“People are used to having a parking lot right at the door and that sort of thing,” she said. “But while the parking isn’t physically on-site, it doesn’t mean there’s actually a lack of parking in downtown.”

A city-commisioned study by IBI Group last year found there are more than 8,675 parking spaces at public and private lots in downtown Moncton. Around 4,000 of these will likely be made available to the public during evening events at the Events Centre.

It also found there are 2,895 parking spaces in public and private lots downtown within a 10-minute walk. The city is in talks with private lot owners to identify which spaces can be used for the public, Melanson said.

“By spreading the vehicles across downtown depending on which end of town you’re coming in from, traffic is being dispersed automatically at the end of the event, making the traffic flow a little more smooth as opposed to rushing to your car and sitting in your car without moving for 15 minutes when there are only two or three exits from the parking lot,” she said.

The city is also working to raise awareness about alternative options to on-site parking and encourages residents to use greener options like car-pooling, Melanson said.

The poll results are part of the CRA Urban Report, an independent telephone survey of 401 Moncton (Census Metropolitan Area) adult residents, 18 years and older, conducted between January 24 and February 7, 2018.

Overall results are accurate to within ±4.9 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.