The Kitchener Rangers played their first home game last month, winning in front of a bigger hometown crowd than ever before. But almost 1,000 new seats at The Aud means increased parking and traffic challenges.
The Rangers organization has been proactive in their search for solutions. They’ve initiated, and funded, the Rangers Express, which sees ticketholders picked up at six restaurant locations throughout the city.
This means nine busloads of people no longer need to drive to and park at The Aud for Friday night games. It also encourages economic activity at those restaurants.
But a partnership between the City of Kitchener and the Rangers that provides game ticket holders with a free GRT ride to The Aud seems poorly planned and unnecessarily complicated. Season ticket holders can pick up bus tickets for games from now to December, but the regular Joe who buys one Rangers ticket at a time would have to make a special trip to The Aud, just to pick up a GRT ticket to get to The Aud. It’s counterintuitive, and doesn’t save the patron enough time or money to bother. And citizens who aren’t interested in the Rangers, or can’t afford to go, may wonder why the city doesn’t fund a free bus ride to the activity of their choice.
Meanwhile, neighbourhood residents face more cars than ever, and few tools to fight the rising tide. They shouldn’t have to patrol their own streets, jotting down the licence plate numbers of those who park illegally and calling the bylaw department. When there is a known parking problem, bylaw officers should be hitting the streets and handing out tickets.
The city and the Rangers have made a good start with innovative solutions. But, as hockey fans know, any team can have a good first period. It’s putting together a full 60 minutes that counts in this game.