The Pan Am Stadium is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We chose to build it at the West Harbour. Now it's time to stand behind our choice. Show your support.

The Myth Of The Inaccessible Stadium

Posted August 17, 2010

A few weeks ago, the supposed lack of parking at the West Harbour stadium location was the key criticism of the site leveled at it by the supporters of the East Mountain location.

On July 21, Raise the Hammer published Plenty of Parking for West Harbour, which listed all of the parking lots we could find within a ten-minute walk of the West Harbour location, coming up with a total of 4,766.

These numbers were later confirmed by city reports, and the fact that the West Harbour location had easy access to 4,700 parking spots took hold. The myth that the West Harbour had no parking mostly evaporated.

However, a new myth has taken its place: the idea that the West Harbour location is inaccessible.

This mantra is repeated over and over again by the Bob Young and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats ("a 30,000 person stadium in an inaccessible urban and residential area is a huge mistake") and Tiger-Cat backers like Ron Foxcroft, who claimed in a radio interview that the West Harbour location has "one lane in, one lane out". (He also claimed there was only parking for about 600 people, showing that some people will perpetuate myths no matter what the evidence indicates).

Another oft-repeated claim is that the city prepared reports showing the West Harbour didn't work as a stadium location, with its supposed inaccessibility ranking as one of the top factors for its unsuitability. These reports were ostensibly ignored by City Council which approved the site anyway.

Of course, none of this is true. The West Harbour location is highly accessible by multiple transportation nodes. The city's reports show this and in fact, a traffic study was carried out by IBI Group, which examined the site from a perspective of up to 27,000 event attendees on a regular basis, spiking up to 32,000 attendees for peak events.

In the West Harbour report, the Transportation Impact Assessment commences on page 113. A presentation by IBI Group is also summarized here.

However, most people won't want to spend their time paging through city reports, for good reason: they're long and boring and that's why we have councillors. Unfortunately, this has made it harder to counter the myth that the West Harbour location is inaccessible.

That's why we've created a map showing the accessibility of the West Harbour stadium (A miniature version is shown below, but the full version is required to get the complete picture, including the legend.)

View West Harbour Stadium Accessibility in a larger map

This map demonstrates the many ways in which people could access the West Harbour location: by highway (the 403 is just 2.6 km / 5 minutes away), by GO transit (Ticat research says 39% of season ticket holders and 53% of single game ticket purchasers would use GO), by proposed LRT lines, by a dense network of city streets including many with capacities of 4, 5, and even 6 lanes, and even by boat!

Compare this to a proposal like the East Mountain, where the only way to reach the stadium is by car.

As we've previously noted, an event at the East Mountain with 25,000 attendees will generate around 9,700 car trips. It will take more than 1.5 hours for those cars to seethe down the RHVP and Linc, and longer still to funnel through the interchange and into the parking lot. It will take the same time to get out (also note that the parking lot will hold a maximum of 7,000 cars and there is nowhere else for the rest of the cars to go).

The city's report backs up this conclusion, noting in the traffic impact study that traffic would have to be staggered to get everyone to the East Mountain, and events would have to start later than 7:00 pm.

That's not an issue with the West Harbour location, where a dense network of city streets, combined with easy access to major arteries and the 403, would disperse traffic rapidly.


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