A new Quidi Vidi housing development is going to worsen the neighbourhood’s parking problems, says the area’s property owners association.
Randy Walsh, spokesman for the group, told the Telegram on Wednesday that five new units — two duplexes and another house — that just began construction on Quidi Vidi Village Road point to city council’s hands-off approach in dealing with the area.
“My son, it’s criminal,” said Walsh. “There is a Quidi Vidi development plan, but that’s thrown out the window when it comes to development. … It’s council that dropped the ball.”
Walsh says it’s not the developer, Equity Capital, that’s the problem — “The developer’s playing by all the rules,” he said — but that council isn’t requiring developers to make concessions to help alleviate traffic congestion on the neighbourhood’s narrow and crowded roads.
“This development should have been required to build the houses farther back from the curb, which would have allowed two parking spots in front,” said Walsh. Instead, he added, there will be more vehicles parking on the street.
“That would lessen the congestion coming down and two cars could pass there,” he said. “They didn’t do that. … The traffic entering the village is going to be tremendous. They’re pumping things into the media like ‘heritage’ and ‘tourism’ and everything else. We can see that, but the bottom line is trying to guide us through to the different opportunities we have here, and one of the biggest opportunities we have was to put a parking lot there.”
City council approved a parking lot decades ago near where the new houses will be going in, said Walsh, but nothing ever came of it.
Ward 2 Coun. Jonathan Galgay told the Telegram there is room for two off-street parking spots for the new houses.
“They have an in-car garage, so they have a space there for two vehicles,” he said. More broadly, said Galgay, the city will soon have a report on capital projects that could alleviate traffic and parking congestion.
“Traffic and parking fall under two separate areas within the city. One falls under Public Works, and the other falls under Community Services,” said Galgay.
“So there are two separate departments which are conducting detailed analysis of the entire village in terms of how we can address these issues.”
Galgay said the city manager will be providing city council a report “within the next couple of weeks” that will identify the capital investments required.
“They stem from guardrails, pavement, enhanced lighting, potential for development on land … there are areas in the village which are privately owned land, which we may have some discussions about,” he said.
Galgay acknowledged that a report identifying solutions isn’t the same as providing them.
“They have identified two or three areas in particular that are going to need some investment, and as the ward councillor I’ll be pushing for it, but you need six votes from council,” he said.
“In certain areas you need a guardrail to prevent vehicles from going down an embankment. There’s other areas that would have to be paved and painted to ensure vehicles stay off certain portions of the roadway which is quite busy.”
Given the parking problems were highlighted in the spring when a pub owner said customers at Mallard Cottage restaurant were clogging up her parking lot, Galgay said he’s disappointed the city hasn’t moved fast enough to provide some solutions before this summer.
“While I did indicate it was my intent to have many of these issues addressed in time for the summer season — it’s the busiest season in the village — obviously that’s not going to happen this year in terms of major infrastructure, because it takes time, it takes contracts, etc. But it is the intent that once this goes before council and we get into the debate — and I anticipate that many members of council will support this, depending on the cost — I think we’ll see some significant modifications in the very near future.”