At last night's council meeting, the issue of boulevard parking was raised. This refers to allowing vehicles to be parked on the paved part of the driveway between the sidewalk and the street. Current bylaws prohibit this practice in the City of Kitchener. However, after a pilot project in ward 5, it is now allowed in ward 5 each winter from Dec 1st-Mar 31st. Councillor Ioaniddis put a motion forward to allow boulevard parking during winter months throughout the city.
There was some discussion around the horseshoe on this issue. Councillor Michaud asked for a deferral however as she only received notice of the motion that day and has not had a chance to hear from her constituents on the issue. More discussion ensued and it was decided that the motion would be withdrawn and presented at Special Council on January 7th.
Several councillors mentioned that they were hearing from constituents that this is an option they would like to have. Although I don't doubt that's true, I'm not sure all sides have had a chance to speak to the issue. Personally I wonder what effect this would have on a walkable city. As a pedestrian, I am cognizant of the need to be aware of vehicles at all times. It feels like this only adds to that challenge. If we are serious about creating a city that is walkable, then we need to make that experience easy, comfortable, and pleasant. Allowing cars to park on the boulevard seems to contradict that goal.
However, I do wonder if in practice it would have much of an impact. I'm curious how many people would in fact park in the space if it were allowed. On my walk home from last night's council meeting, I didn't see any places where a car would actually fit on the apron section of the driveway. Perhaps there are fewer options for this in the downtown wards.
I am curious what you think about this proposal. Would you park your car there if it was allowed? Do you think it would impact your experience of the street as a pedestrian or cyclist? Feel free to comment with your thoughts. Also, this motion goes back to council on Jan 7th. I encourage you to reach out to your councillor to share your thoughts on this as well. In ward 9, that is Councillor Chapman who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org