|Source: Campus Capacity Study, April 2011|
If we look at the possible building sites on the main campus as identified in the Campus Capacity Study (April 2011), we see that half the potential sites on the main campus are NOT parking lots, but under-utilized "temporary" buildings (which look more like airport hangars than university buildings) - the report also suggests that the "incremental" nature of the future building space needs are not pressing due to the availability of these potential sites. The report goes further to suggest "McMaster may need to consider further off-campus development in appropriate locations" - which I suppose they are doing with the Innovation Park on Longwood, the downtown centre, and the planned Health Centre at Main and Bay.
|Two "Temporary" buildings, North Campus|
The fact remains, based on McMaster's own parking data, there are over 1,000 empty parking spaces on campus lots at peak demand. McMaster has plenty of parking supply and needs to manage future demand to ensure that sustainable modes are prioritized over single occupancy vehicle use.
The university's arguments for re-paving have been weak (ex. "Unfortunately, the demand for vehicular transportation continues and the need for parking remains. We do, therefore, need to restore the parking Lot M." UPC Letter, May 2011) and are not supported by their own data which strongly suggests room for reducing parking surface area while ensuring current users retain their space.
It seems McMaster is more interested in fighting to maintain the status quo rather than embracing the potential for an innovative and multi-disciplinary on-campus research facility. This "hold the fort" approach means McMaster's PR department will get more work defending the Parking office than its own professors and student researchers with an interest in wetland recovery and other research potential in Lot M.