The widening of Weber street is bringing a great deal of change to our neighbourhood. Streets will be closed (Breithaupt and, ultimately, Waterloo), houses have been torn down and Lippert Park will gain some land as Weber is straightened.
This is Lippert Park as it appeared a couple of years ago:
Notice the wide shoulder on the street. There was a nice 3 metre boulevard between the street and the park where people often parked their cars. The boulevard could easily accommodate three cars. Parents with children could unload strollers, food and other essentials as they guided their young charges into in the park. For events like the annual picnic this small amount of parking was useful for delivering tents, tables, food, musical equipment and other items. We have also had fire trucks and police cars park there (and drive into the park) for community events.
Weber Street is being widened and straightened so Lippert Park will gain some area (the new side-walk has already been finished). But despite the increase in size, there will be no parking in front of the park. The closest location will be on Louisa Street which is around the corner:
The MHBPNA has contacted several people from the Region of Waterloo (Weber Street is a "regional road") and the City of Kitchener over the past year to ask about parking and ensure it can be a part of the plan. The reply we received recently from Peter Linn (who is an engineer and Senior Project Manager with the Region) sums up the government's position on this issue:
"I had requested feedback from the City of Kitchener Parks Department on this issue several weeks ago. Their response was as follows;
· Current City Parks Bylaw prohibits parking on park frontages, including parking on boulevards whether paved or grassed
· Lippert Park is classified as a “Neighbourhood Park” and as such is meant to be a “walk to” park
· The City does not have any plans to develop a parking lot within Lippert Park
The Weber Street right-of-way is obviously under the jurisdiction of the Region of Waterloo. The Region does not allow off-street parking areas within its designated road right-of-ways to service abutting land uses."
Huron Park, which was the original name for George Lippert Park, was created as a result of a donation of 2.5 acres of land by a developer in 1936. It is reasonable neighbours have been able to park there for over 50 years and this has not been abused. Without any consultation (or acknowledgement the parking even existed) this convenience has been erased.
Canada Post is claiming we will all be switching to community mailboxes over the next few years and our neighbourhood association felt Lippert Park would be a perfect location.
As we can see from this "Google Satellite" image:
there is a great deal of space around the park and there will be even more after the construction is finished. Our Neighbourhood Association believes that if we had even three "time limited" parking sports they would encourage parents with young children to use the park. There is also a community garden that is several years old and gardeners may wish to bring soil and heavier implements at certain times. If the park is used to host events then equipment delivery would be made much easier with parking. This park will also be the terminus of the "Spur Trail" which will join Kitchener and Waterloo.
For the corner of Louisa and Weber the design was originally going to include an ornamental fence and a "landscaping bed". Both items have been deleted for budget reasons.
There is an opportunity here to plan for something exceptional, a flexible location with very limited parking, a community mailbox, spur trail interface and more. If different levels of government talked with each other and engaged residents we could achieve a great deal and help build community. Instead, the present road design, which has "no parking" curbs and side-walks some distance from the park itself, discourages all of these uses.
What do you think? If you have an opinion please comment on this Blog entry and/or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Neighbourhood association cannot pursue issues of park design unless we see support from the community.