When Rogers Place opens… parking downtown

By: Jodi Tauber | transformingedmonton.ca

While it’s true that a lot of new parking spaces aren’t being built as part of Rogers Place, there’s a very simple reason why. It didn’t need it.

That is because there will be more than 18,000 parking stalls within easy walking distance of Rogers Place – nearly half of them are within a five-minute walk and the others are within a ten-minute walk. Plus with lots of other options like transit and LRT, a major event at Rogers Place is only expected to use 6,000 stalls.

Right now most Downtown parking stalls sit empty in the evenings and weekend. This is one of the big advantages of having a Downtown arena. Rather than having to build acres of new parking lots, Rogers Place takes advantage of the many parking facilities that already exist Downtown.

Making it easier to park Downtown

By the time Rogers Place opens, there will be more tools in place to help people park Downtown.

The City just completed installing the new ePark machines, replacing 3,300 parking meters throughout the City with 375 EPark machines. You no longer have to hunt for change as these machines allow you to pay by credit card as well as change. If you frequently park on the street, there’s also the convenient ePark app.

To help you find your way to one of the 18,000 parking spots Downtown, we’ll also be sharing updated parking maps showing you where parking facilities are and how to access them.

Finally, the Oilers Entertainment Group is working on a service where you can pre-purchase your parking Downtown. This will eliminate last-minute searching for a spot and will help ease traffic congestion as less people circle the block looking for a parkade.
More information on all of these programs will come later this summer before Rogers Place opens. If you want the latest news, subscribe to the City’s monthly Downtown newsletter.

Remembering the community

The City is working on a residential parking management programs for the Downtown core. These programs already exist near Commonwealth Stadium and the University of Alberta. The City just finished a detailed study of each of the neighbourhoods to understand how much on-street parking is being used now, and how much is available for residents.

Next, the City will look at each neighbourhood to determine what sort of program would work best. In some areas, it will focus on preventing event-goers from parking on the street. In other areas, it will be finding ways to preserve short-term parking for nearby businesses.

Some property owners will also be tempted to illegally rent their private property as event parking. This brings disruptive traffic to an area and is not allowed through City bylaws.

Bringing it all together

Thousands of vehicles parking Downtown is not a new thing. About 20,000 vehicles travel to and from Downtown during our peak hour weekday traffic. Now, we’ll see a portion of that vehicle traffic on evening and weekends too.

That said, event parking is different than commuter parking. Commuters are more familiar with Downtown and stick to a routine. Event goers only come for a short time and each crowd changes with the event.

We’re also dealing with a changing Downtown. For example, when the Valley Line LRT opens, we know more people will choose transit to go to Downtown events. As more condos, office towers and hotels are completed, we know that will change how many people will walk to an event after work rather than travelling from home.

All of these factors mean that parking strategies will need to change and adapt as our Downtown evolves.