For those worrying about Bomber fans parking along neighborhood streets in south Winnipeg, it’s time to stop worrying, says a University Heights representative and the vice-president and chief operating officer for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
On April 30 Jim Bell, vice-president and COO for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, unveiled the parking plan for Investors Group Field. The nine-point plan is specifically for special events and Bomber game days.
"There’s been a lot, a lot, of planning and a lot of work that went into the announcement within the last couple of days," said Bell in an interview. "Really the whole idea and mindset behind it is that we wanted to make it as easy as possible to go to and from Investors Field on game day and concerts."
The plans ask for people to take buses, carpool, and ride their bikes to games.
"We tried to take into consideration everything," said Bell. "People coming by car, we’ve asked them to carpool, we’ve asked people to use a bus, we have a very solid transit plan for people, and one thing that we’re really proud of is the bike valet."
The secure bike valet at the field will hold up to 400 bikes for special events, not including the number of bike stands throughout U of M.
Bell said the plans take into consideration neighbourhoods such as Fort Richmond and University Heights, making them ‘no parking’ zones.
Barbara Metrycki is a representative from University Heights on the Event Day Advisory Committee. The committee was created by city council in July 2011 to assist in the development of an event day management plan. Barbara said she understands that some people in the surrounding neighbourhoods would be concerned.
"But there shouldn’t be a concern," said Metrycki. "We fought hard to (establish) no parking zones."
Bell said the parking plans work to minimize the impact of the surrounding neighbourhoods.
There will be ‘no parking’ zones north and sound of the university to stop fans from parking in residential neigbourhoods.
"University Heights is actually designated as a no parking zone," said Metrycki. "That was something we identified as something that residents here wanted."
Metrycki said that there will be permanent ‘no parking’ signs erected at the entrances to communities to let event goers know that they aren’t allowed to park there.
"At University Crescent and at Pembina, identifying this entire area, so from Bishop Grandin on the north to Thatcher on the south, and then from the river through to Pembina," said Metrycki.
There is also another no parking zone south of U of M, said Metrycki. It will be from University Crescent to south of Silverstone Avenue. In addition to the signs to be erected, Metrycki said there are already signs up stating specific dates on which there will be no parking.
The first event will be a giant community church service called the One Heart Service, but the big test will be the Bombers’ preseason game verses the Toronto Argonauts June 12 , Taylor Swift’s Red Tour concert June 22, and the grand-opening/ first official home game for the Bombers on June 27 against the Montreal Alouettes.
"We’re confident in the plan," said Bell. "We’re optimistic, we’re confident, but we also have to keep our eyes open and monitor right from event one so that we can improve the areas that need to be improved. But please be patient with us for a game or two. Allow us to experience it and to do a good job of this."