By Michael Traikos
If school president Claude Lajeunesse has his way, Ryerson students may be parking their keisters where they once parked their cars. Ryerson’s proposal to tear down the parking garage at Victoria and Gould Streets would benefit the influx of business students expected from the double cohort. But if the university doesn’t find students a similar spot to park their vehicles many continuing education students will face yet another obstacle on their way to getting a degree.
The parking lot, which was initially supposed to house an AMC theatre, can hold about 370 cars. For $10 a day, it’s a safe place for commuters to store their cars while attending classes. And unlike the multitude of parking lots strewn across the downtown area, Ryerson’s parking garage is an indoor, monitored storage that’s only a few steps away to most buildings.
Frank Cappadocia, the general manager of CESAR, has already voiced his concerns about the lack of student parking when the university removed the parking lot on Gould and Church Streets to make room for the Centre for Computing and Engineering building.
Now that the university is looking at destroying another parking option, Cappadocia’s continuing education students may have to compete with the rest of Toronto for limited parking spaces.
Ryerson is generally thought of as a commuter school that, in addition to the GTA, serves the 905 area. Most of those coming from suburbs outside of Toronto already hunt for a limited amount of parking spots around campus. By taking away another parking garage and at the same time bringing in more students because of the double cohort, the challenge of finding a parking spot that is walking distance from campus is downright impossible.
And with the need for available spots increasing, supply and demand principles may lead independent parking lot attendants to raise the price of storing your car.
Lajeunesse doesn’t appear to be worried about Ryerson’s carpooling population, and told The Eyeopener this week that he’s “running an academic institution not a parking lot.”
But what type of academic institution do you have when not everyone can make it to class because they’re circling the downtown streets in search of a parking spot?
The new business building fills a void on campus by bringing ITM, retail management, and hospitality and tourism students under one roof, but at what cost? There isn’t too much room left untouched in the Yonge and Dundas Streets area, and the university had its hands ties when looking for a place to plop down the business building.
The challenge that Lajeunesse now faces is not only a way to get the government to approve funding for the building, but to find a replacement parking option for students. After all, it doesn’t matter how many students the business building can hold if students can’t reach it.