Monday, June 17, 2013

Investors Group Field: A Problem with NO Solution unless...

Investors Group Field, Southwood Gold Club just north
There is no solution for the logistical nightmare of Investors Group Field.

Blame the federal Conservative Party of Canada and the Stephen Harper government and particularly Vic Toews and Rod Bruinooge for this. When the predominantly female crowd at the Taylor Swift concert this Saturday have one very bad day getting to the venue...the heat will really rise.

Lost in all the recriminations is the fact that it was Vic Toews who rejected all other sites for the stadium in exchange for the $15 million federal dollars. The argument was he could justify it for university sports but not a CFL team. Of course it had nothing to do with it being a Conservative riding they were hoping to hold in the next election.

Anyway, let's set aside that for now. Stadium is built. By all accounts the building was accepted by fans if they actually got into it.

At the moment, there seems no way to alleviate impending doom of concerts, Friday games, university in the fall and carmageddon.

The screams will only get louder.

In short:

* It will take a lot of buses for the city to serve concert and football games. They need a clear route through for park and ride to the stadium and then out again.

* Bikes are a new aspect of concert and football attendance. They too need clear routes and enough stands to park. Even at the best of times they can be congested as it will probably take several minutes for a bike to be locked and unlocked and a group of people to enter and exit the site. Still, not a bad day if you have time and space. However, it won't be popular in snow in October or November.

* Walking. A mainstay of the old stadium. People used to park across the river and walk 30 minutes to Polo Park. People used to park in the industrial areas, the West End...all over for Canad Inn Stadium. The ability to park in neigbourhoods is limited in Fort Garry. There will be spots along Pembina. Some will become the favourites for fans. But you have to know where they are, how to get to them, be able to get to them and then have a clear way to walk to the stadium.

Bomber management and the city are left now to deal with the federal decision on the location and the provincial decision to fund that location at all costs.

It seems unlikely a solution can be found because the bottlenecks are almost too numerous to count.

As many have said, what is needed is a lot of parking nearby. 5000 spots that spread out over campus and a few thousand more spread out along Pembina are still too few.

I know University of Manitoba is loath to do but here is the solution:

Turn the entire Southwood Golf Club between Markham Road and Snow Street and University Crescent into a gravel parking lot beside the Investor's Group Field.

It is no secret that Markham Road has long been used by Victoria Hospital employees and University of Manitoba student to avoid paying for parking. Don't believe me. Look:

Markham at University Crescent...Student heaven

Markham cuts right through the old golf course.

The city and province already favour this route or something along this line as a transit corridor to the university. It is forecast that $18 million will be spent. I think that is lowballing it since major work needs to be done on Pembina to make it an effective rapid transit route. Nevertheless, the road is there now. How hard to run buses down and have a path to the stadium?

Oh my...stadium off close
Markham is already a parking lot.

Cars, cars, car as far as the eye can see on Markham
Should not the golf course between Markham and the stadium be at at least considered for temporary parking?

Look at at all that space
Look at all those cars
It seems the province and city should work together, promise the University of Manitoba other logistical solutions regarding the transit corridor will be worked on but in the mean time: Pave that golf course! Or at the very least put gravel on it.

My personal bet is that you could put thousands of cars there and runs hundreds of buses down Markham.

I realize many people might not like this idea and the University probably fears the permanence of it. It need not be that way.

I still think at some point there will be parkades across from the stadium with overpass or underpasses.

Parkade me, please!
No doubt this could serve university interests and Bomber interests but the price tag for parkades on those two lots are probably a shade under $100 million.

It is going to be hard to stick to your guns on not using the golf course when disaster repeats itself over and over.

Well, there you have it. A solution. It has its own problems but one thing is certain: The Southwood Golf Course will be developed. Why not create this temporary measure on unused property now.


Anonymous said...

This is not a good long term solution.

If anything there should be fewer parking spots. If it becomes too difficult to drive people will find another way to get there. All the cars going into the uni is what prevented many buses from running efficiently. Get rid of the cars and the buses will be able to freely come and go.

TL;DR Fewer cars; more buses

portage & main said...

You almost lost me at "IT'S ALL VIC TOEWS AND THE MEEEEEEEEEEEEAN OLD TORIES FAULT!!!!" but you make some valid points once you get past the initial Harper derangement syndrome. BTW - nobody made the Bombers/provincial government take Toews' measly $8 million dollars, and it's doubtful building a stadium in a spot nobody wants is much of a help in holding the seat for the Tories. But I digress...
I hope you're talking tongue-in-check about paving over a golf course to create another parking lot that will be used 9 times a year. Once you pave that over, you'll never get it back for greenspace. Cycling is never going to be a major option. Maybe for a few die-hards who don't mind navigating Pembina Highway traffic, or people who live close in Fort Richmond (but too far to walk). But there's never going to be a lot of people cycling. Park & Ride is the future of that stadium. The city/Bombers need to double or quadruple the number of buses, and then sort out the traffice issues so they can get in to the stadium in a timely way.

Anonymous said...

Very bad idea. Cannot endorse turning those lands into surface parking lots.

We needed a rapid transit link to the stadium in order for this location to work. We have a mass transit issue here, not a parking issue.

Anonymous said...

One problem with the old golf course and that is it is a swamp, a muddy wetland that would need to be fixed at a major cost. But I agree that the University should allow parkades to be built on existing parking lots but golf course will cost way too much.

Also transit corridors on Markham? It is a gravel road not even two lanes wide, so again another major cost.and a no go.