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Plenty of parking, says Town

If the Bay Beach project proceeds, there will be 888 parking spaces available within 600 metres of the beach entrance which is more than enough to handle even the busiest days, according to a Town report.

A parking study conducted in 2006 and 2007 for the Town said peak parking demand is reached on holiday weekends with excellent beach weather, and it’s expected that peak demand won’t be reached some years.

The study by Paradigm Transportation Solutions found that 835 cars were parked in parking lots and on the streets for the August Civic Holiday weekend in 2007.

Fort Erie Waterfront Preservation Association lawyer tried to poke holes in the study saying the samples were not representative.

Civic Holiday is not a U.S. holiday and on another holiday weekend, Canada Day, the beach was posted as being unsafe for swimming, he said.

Warnings about the water quality are common during long periods of hot weather and many beaches in Niagara are posted with the same warning.

The Paradign study found that an average good weekend beach day would see between 300 and 400 cars parked, and the weekday peak would be about 300.

Jeff Mark, a traffic engineer testifying for the appellants said that 300 metres is the farthest distance people will walk to get to the beach and that there are only 736 spaces in the 300-metre zone.

“If tourists continue to find problems finding parking close to the beach, some of them will no longer continue to visit the beach,” he said. “This would likely have an impact on the economy of Crystal Beach.”

William O’Brien said it’s unreasonable that people won’t walk more than 300 metres to get to the beach.

“This will happen very infrequently and does not present a significant change or new problem for beach visitors of residents of the area.”

The Town’s public works director Ron Tripp said the parking situation is monitored daily during routine visits in the summer and there is always parking available.

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