Neighbours to LRT riders: Your cars are not welcome

People who live near Edmonton's southernmost LRT stop want to put the brakes on parking by transit riders. Late-morning commuters turned away at the filled-up Century Park lot are parking with increasing frequency in nearby neighbourhoods.
LRT commuters are filling neighbourhoods like this one near Century Park on a daily basis. The community league in Blue Quill wants the city to ban parking for all non-residents. (Laura Osman/CBC)

People living near Edmonton's southernmost LRT stop want to put the brakes on parking by transit riders.

Late-morning commuters are parking with increasing frequency in nearby neighbourhoods after being turned away from the 1,230-stall lot at Century Park, which fills up daily by 7:30 a.m.

Blue Quill resident Elnora Hibbert worries the log jam of cars on her street will make winter snow plowing almost impossible. (CBC)
"It's an ongoing aggravation," Elnora Hibbert told CBC News from the front step of her 26th Avenue home.

Hibbert, along with several residents of Blue Quill, said their streets are almost completely jammed with cars all day every weekday.

"If we have visitors, or even if we want to pull up in front of our house and just run in, there's no room," Hibbert said.

Members of the Blue Quill Community League plan to ask the city to put in parking restrictions, a move supported by the Coun. Don Iveson.

"It's been getting worse and worse, and I think it hit a breaking point there this fall with back-to-school," Iveson told CBC News.

Iveson said restrictions will likely mean drivers can park for up to two hours, or will need a special pass provided only to homeowners.

Walk, bike, take a bus or move: Councillor

LRT commuters reacted to the news with frustration.

"I think the city probably should have had some foresight in having adequate parking for people here," said Dan Bowker, who parks and walks daily to the LRT.

"If there's no parking or no buses that go to your house for you to take it, how are you supposed to get there?" added university student Krysten Kinsella.

Bowker said he might be able to make arrangements to get dropped off at the Century Park LRT station, but will probably go back to driving downtown to get to work if he can’t park.

Iveson said LRT riders should not expect the city to provide free parking. He said they should instead consider taking a bus or bike to the LRT, or even moving closer to the rail line.

"Parking isn't the thing that really feeds an LRT network in the long-term."

Iveson said if parking restrictions get the go-ahead, landowners might open private parking lots close to Century Park.

In the long term, he said the city plans to build a large surface lot near Ellerslie Road once the south leg of the LRT is completed.