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More bus stops mean less parking in downtown

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Durham Region Transit (DRT) and Metrolinx are looking to add more bus stops to Oshawa’s downtown, but some councillors want compensation for lost revenue.

At the cities most recent community services meeting, Ward 5 City Councillor John Gray expressed his concern over DRT and Metrolinx’s intent to add more bus stops, as well as an additional layover, in downtown Oshawa.

The former Oshawa mayor notes Simcoe Street from Bond Street up to the R.S. McLaughlin Armoury will be without parking, as well as from Princess Street to Centre Street on Bond, if the two organizations get their way.

“It seems like an excessive amount of parking we’re going to take out,” he says, adding he can see it effecting downtown businesses.

Commissioner of Community Services Ron Diskey says Gray is right and downtown will be losing a lot of parking.

Ward 4 City Councillor Derek Giberson notes the city is already losing $62,000 annually as a result of Metrolinx moving out of the downtown bus terminal, and there will be more losses as a result of the removal of parking spots.

“I understand that to be a natural consequence,” he says, adding he is not in opposition, but is concerned about the lost revenue.

Diskey says DRT and Metrolinx have not compensated municipalities in the past after similar situations

Giberson then made two amendments, the first of which is to remove two parking stalls on the south side of King Street just east of Simcoe. The second is for city staff to work with DRT and Metrolinx to “optimize locations of street furniture and bus shelters to better align with bus doors.”

Gray reiterated his concern over the affect a lack of parking will have on businesses.

“My priority is not the loss of the parking revenue from those single spots, it’s the impact… on those local downtown businesses,” he says, adding downtown has already lost several parking spots with the new bike lanes on Athol Street.

He says if it becomes more difficult for residents to find parking downtown, it will do the opposite of what council wants in the area and will affect local businesses.

Ultimately, despite the fact neither organization has ever done so, Mayor Dan Carter brought forth a motion to refer the matter back to staff to investigate the possibility of compensation.

“There can always be a first time,” he quips.