MONCTON – The City of Moncton will launch a website on June 20 that would allow event-goers to figure out their transportation and parking options before heading to the Downtown Events Centre.
The website, called mybestoption.ca, is part of an updated Transportation Dispersal Plan for the centre.
The centre’s lack of on-site parking has been a controversial issue for residents, but city official say there will be thousands of spaces within walking distance of the centre.
“People have a perception of parking in downtown. We’ve had the unfortunate situation with the booting that has created a bit of uncertainty with people, they’re nervous and apprehensive,” said City Communications Director Isabelle LeBlanc.
“So hopefully, with some of the tools we’re developing, their apprehensions can be eased. It’s not as scary. You don’t have to come in four hours before an event. You can kind of map out your route and things can go relatively well.”
Details of the website will be announced at the launch and the tool will be phased in depending on users’ take-up. The city is looking at possibly creating a mobile app, among other elements.
City staff used data from a report for the centre by IBI that was commissioned in 2016 to come up with more than 100 transportation options.
“What we’re focusing on now is to put those options on the website and people can select, drop down – we don’t know how that will work quite yet. People will be able to select their circumstance and it’ll push out the best option or options for you.”
In a presentation to the City Council Tuesday night, Director of Economic Development Kevin Silliker noted there are 2,982 public parking spaces within walking distance to the Events Centre. These include metered and non-metered on-street parking, and public lots at the City Hall, Farmers’ Market and Capitol Theatre.
That’s more than the 1,800 on-site parking spots at the Moncton Coliseum, he said.
A preferred parking program is also in the works, where the city will collaborate with private lot owners to make approximately 1,000 more parking spaces available.
Some parking by-laws will also change in June to accommodate taxi stands or drop off zones, LeBlanc said.
However, Councillor Paul Pellerin was concerned residents living downtown may have a problem with on-street parking in their neighbourhood, though not all events are expected to be sold-out.
“With over 100 events and beyond, somebody at some point is going to not appreciate cars parked in front of their residence,” he said.
A change in mindset is needed, but Monctonians will get used to transport arrangements for the downtown centre, Councillor Bryan Butler said.
“At the most, you’re going to have 10,000 to 15,000 people downtown. With the roads, the infrastructure we have down there – sidewalks, parking lots, bus routes, bicycle racks … There are all kinds of different options,” he said. “There will be some growing pains of people complaining about parking, the buses … we’ll get over it.”
Changing the car-culture is something the city hopes to do.
“If we want to be a hip town and a city that inspires and a place that attracts young people, we need to be more active and we need to make it easier for people to live downtown and to walk downtown,” LeBlanc said.