Burlington City Council recently received an update report from staff reviewing parking operations at Lowville Park.
Council also approved keeping the automated gates at Lowville Park and positioning them in the “up” position during off-peak periods, and putting up enhanced signage at the entrance that would include a QR code to direct visitors to the online reservation system, as well as clear communication that advanced reservations are only required on weekends. More details are available in the City’s news release here.
In their report, staff noted that parking demand at Lowville Park would need to be managed for the 2023 season, as well, the City would need to alleviate operational issues until a comprehensive strategy is developed. It was recommended the automated gates rest in the “up” position during off-peak periods to permit entry when advanced reservation is not required, and that enhanced signage be placed at the entry way that includes a QR code to direct visitors to the online reservation system (in absence of in-person support via Parking Ambassadors) and that signage include clear communication that advanced reservations are only required on weekends.
Future development of an updated Lowville Park Master Plan and related mobility management and parking strategy will better address the long-term parking demands at Lowville and our other “destination” parks across our city.
I appreciate the work of staff to really respond to concerns from the community around signage and gates. We’re in a good transitional phase, realizing the Lowville Park is part of a larger city parks discussion. I look forward to further discussions with staff on how we can make the Lowville Park experience as enjoyable as possible for our residents and visitors, alike.
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To read staff’s full report and their findings, click/tap here: TS-09-23 Lowville Park Parking Operations Update Report.
Parking management at Lowville Park has been a long-standing issue that dates back to 2013 when the Lowville Park Master Plan was completed. At that time, it was recognized that permitted picnic capacity did not match up with the available parking (240 stalls). As an interim measure, the total number of picnic areas was reduced to better align with parking capacity and available washroom facilities.
The Master Plan recommended a number of design improvements including making the entryway to the park clearer, reconfiguring the design of the parking lot to improve circulation, and installation of curbs to mitigate parking overflow onto the adjacent street. Parking recommendations made through the Master Plan were implemented in 2020/2021, resulting in a reduction of parking supply from 240 stalls to 195 stalls.
Through report RS-09-20, the continuation of temporary COVID-19 parking capacity measures at Lowville Park were recommended for the 2021 summer season, consisting of extending the ParkPass reservation system and maintaining the presence of Parking Ambassadors on-site to manage parking demands and validate on-line reservations.
Report TS-04-21 further recommended the installation of automated gates at Lowville Park to accompany the ParkPass reservation system, in conjunction with the Parking Ambassador program. The report noted that while the one-time cost associated with the purchase of the gates would be accommodated through COVID funding, additional funding to support the Parking Ambassador program would be required to effectively manage parking. The automated gates were installed in June, 2021.
Parking operations were monitored throughout the 2021 season and an update was presented to Council through report TS-12-21. It was noted that the issuance of parking tickets through the 2021 season was low, demonstrating a high degree of compliance by visitors. The report noted that Parking Ambassadors were being utilized to perform both customer service and enforcement duties, with an emphasis on educating visitors on the use of the ParkPass reservation system. Continuation of the temporary COVID parking capacity measures were carried through the 2022 season and reported upon through report TS-02-23. Staff reported that the ParkPass reservation system is now well adopted by most park visitors, however some continue to rely on the Parking Ambassadors to book a reservation on the guests’ behalf at the time of arrival as opposed to booking an advanced reservation. The current time-limited reservation poses a barrier to park users who want to stay longer than 3-hours and should be reviewed as part of a greater park strategy.
Through report TS-02-23, Council approved the recommendation to discontinue the Parking Ambassador program for the 2023 season and report back on the operational model of the automated gate system.