Friday, March 29, 2013

How Is McMaster Doing with Parking?

For at least a dozen years, McMaster’s administration has been encouraged to institute measures related to Transportation Demand Management (TDM), starting with McMaster’s “Balanced Transportation Strategy.” 

In 2000 the Board's Planning & Building Committee recommended “the adoption of the strategy comprising the following components:

·      parking supply expansions limited to at-grade only (no garage);
·      participate with the Hamilton Street Railway to subsidize faculty and staff transit passes;
·      assess parking permit rates to make transit more attractive for faculty, staff and students (changes should be implemented before 2003); and
·      implement additional travel demand management 

McMaster’s Campus Master Plan (2002, updated 2008) recommends an 18 point TDM strategy which include, in part: 
  • Capping parking levels on North Campus…limiting the increase in peak hour and single-occupancy trips to today’s levels (5.2.1)
  • potentially limit on campus parking to certain groups (5.2.2)
  • improve transit, pedestrian and cycling access (5.2.3)
  • encourage City and HSR to implement a transit strategy to ensure transit routes are efficiently and effectively serving campus and surrounding neighbourhood. “This strategy may also include the development of an HSR turn-around serving the McMaster Community on or adjacent to the campus” (5.2.8)[McMaster’s demand to remove 50 bus trips per day due to a squabble with the city over construction trucks does not reflect well on this subject from a planning perspective[i]]
  • identifies a preferred location for an HSR transit turn-around as north of the Sterling Street entrance (5.2.9)
  •  reduce transit fares for the entire McMaster community, improve service levels, schedule buses to coincide with class schedules (5.2.10)
  • GO service and price improvements (5.2.11)
  • off campus housing coordinated with transit routes (5.2.12)
  • work with city to determine its potential role in accommodating more high occupant vehicle trips to campus… transit priority systems, carpool programs, commuter parking lots around periphery of campus at access points to the HSR (5.2.13)
  • classes will continue to be scheduled evenly throughout the day and week to reduce peaks in parking and travel demand (5.2.14)
  •  increase parking rates (5.2.16)
  • work with city to enforce parking bylaws off campus (5.2.17)
  • carpool program, park closer or at reduced rate (5.2.18)
Given the commanding success and popularity of the undergraduate bus pass, a major omission in the CMP is that there is no mention of 2000’s Balanced Transportation Strategy’s recommendation that a subsidized transit pass for staff and faculty be pursued.