Parking Probe

A very useful resource to get an understanding of what is going on with McMaster Parking, and as it relates to the goal of creating a naturalized buffer between McMaster parking and Ancaster Creek, is found an MA Thesis by Jessica S. Becker: Understanding Commuting Decisions: A Case Study of Students and Staff at McMaster University, from 2007.

Tidbits like the fact the "outermost lots are rarely full, even during the fall and winter when the [University] policy is to oversell the permits of all lots by 10%" (Becker, 2) are helpful,  and are supported by the experience with the temporary closure of a section of what is now known as Zone M: i.e. the closure did not result in problems for parking elsewhere on campus since it was shut down for construction of a Combined Sewer Overflow tank in 2009.

This finding supports Restore Cootes' concern that the University will needlessly repave this area for parking, thereby creating extra parking demand. As research shows
"providing more parking will make it easier for those already driving regularly to campus to park, and also risks the strong possibility that those who do not drive already will begin doing so since there will be that increased space"(Becker, 92)
In 2007 there were 4,714 parking spaces on the main campus, with the largest parking zones located west of the main campus in what were formerly Zones 6 and 7, now lots "M" and "N".(Becker, 9).

2010-2011 Parking rates for these lots are $180 per term, or monthly $45 and only $5.00 per day during peak hours, and $2.50 for evening (after 4:00pm) and weekend parking. (

The research also records that the university hired an external consulting firm who "strongly suggested the development of a...TDM [Transportation Demand Management] scheme" to reduce car use, while the researcher comments "It is unclear whether or not such a scheme was ever created."(Becker, 2)

Becker cautions planners at McMaster to "avoid focusing only on the needs of those that drive" in order to move people from single-occupancy car use to other modes. She notes that
"Improvements in access to alternative transit and facilities have not been met with the anticipated participation increase due to lack of management policy that discourages driving and rewards modal changes." (Becker, 12)
Becker's research attempts to "focus on the behaviour leading to parking demand" (11) and she makes several recommendations on how to reduce travel to campus by car. We will take a look at her recommendations in a future post.