Queen's Marque construction a royal pain for parking

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Queen's Marque bridge to be installed more than a month behind schedule

Queen's Marque bridge to be installed more than a month behind schedule

As Queen's Marque construction continues downtown, so do the challenges facing drivers trying to find a place to park.

The massive waterfront project, complete with a boutique hotel and luxury rentals, is going up next to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, taking the Queen's Landing and Cable Wharf parking lots out of commission.

Parking is now at even more of a premium on the waterfront.

Starting to affect business

Kitty-corner to the project sits Strange Adventures comic book and collectibles shop. Manager David Howlett said the ongoing construction is already taking a bite out of business.

"It's definitely been quieter," he said. "That was one of the only places people can park down here and now it's out of commission for years to come."

In fact, 150 parking spots disappeared when construction began and won't be replaced until at least 2020 when the development is expected to be completed. 

Jennifer Angel, Waterfront Development's acting president and CEO, said there is a plan to create more than 300 underground parking spaces in the new development that will include a boutique hotel and luxury rentals. However, how many of those will be open to the public is not known yet.

"The specific allocation is to be determined but it will be a mix of commercial, residential and public," said Angel in an email.

Shrinking lots

Work on the massive waterfront project is expected to be completed by 2019. In the meantime, parking lots are not only disappearing, but also being cut down in size. Seasonal kiosks and buildings have been moved from what is now the construction site to neighbouring lots to make way for a new, public open-performance space and local small business opportunities.

However, parking will still be limited.

"On the water side of the foundation lot, in behind the Waterfront Warehouse, a portion of that lot is being repurposed for this new public gathering space. But there still is a substantial amount of parking in and around that lot and in the neighbouring Salter lot," explains Angel.

Strange Adventures had just moved to its Lower Water Street location to get away from the Nova Centre development up the hill and the planned redevelopment of the building in which it was a tenant.

"So we thought we better get out now rather than searching for a location while we're under the gun," said Howlett. "So we moved to get away from the construction and now we're back where we started."

Fewer pedestrians

It isn't just the loss of parking that's causing him problems. As work has increased on the Queen's Marque project, Howlett said he's seen the number of pedestrians drastically reduced as people try to navigate temporary sidewalks on Lower Water Street.

The Waterfront Development Corporation administers parking in the area.

There are plans in the works for a floating pedestrian boardwalk this spring and summer.

Just how Waterfront Development plans to deal with the onslaught of tourists expected for Canada 150 celebrations, such as the Tall Ships Festival this summer, is still up in the air. However, parking on the waterfront will not be an option.

"We're beginning early talking about alternative park and ride locations, we're talking to the ferries. So we will be developing a bit of a transportation program around the event itself. There won't be on-site parking available at all during that event," said Angel.