Proof that McMaster is overbuilt with parking comes via this recent (April 2011) consultants' report on McMaster Campus Capacity: at the peak of parking demand, 2,803 spaces are required out of a possible 4,276 spaces - that's 1,473 unused spaces at peak usage. That's a lot of concrete and asphalt wasted even at peak, with of course far less demand the majority of time.
There are 1,349 spaces in lot M at present, the site of the parking lot that abuts Ancaster Creek and the focus of our concern at Restore Cootes. Where we are pushing for at least a 30m buffer between parking and the creek, it turns out a lot more could be done. In fact, given the data, the possibility exists to remove the majority of spaces there, enabling us to realistically act on the potential to re-establish a natural area so important to the health of the local watershed, including the Cootes Paradise marsh which Ancaster Creek feeds into.
As we know, the parking lots located west of Cootes Drive are built on land that up until 1965 was owned by the Royal Botanical Gardens and known as Coldspring Valley trails, home to Binkley's Pond and several hiking trails that traversed the floodplain of Coldspring Creek (AKA Ancaster Creek) - a spot of beauty and habitat to species including endangered turtles and amphibians, as well as deer, coyote and beaver.
Over four decades ago, McMaster prioritized parking over nature. We have a wonderful opportunity to reverse that priority by addressing innovative ways to restore the natural beauty that was buried for car parking.