NORTHEAST TOWN—The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will be restricting parking along Highway 540 by the new Cup and Saucer entrance.
“This letter is to inform you that this office is processing an Ontario Regulation to restrict motorists from stopping on both north and south sides of Highway 540 in the vicinity of the access to the Cup and Saucer parking facility,” states a letter from Anna Long, a traffic analyst with the MTO. It was sent to the Northeast Town council. “Restricting this movement would provide a safer environment for patrons using this tourist attraction as well as for motorists using this highway corridor. Pending minister’s approval, we will proceed with the necessary legislative changes.”
Town CAO Dave Williamson explained that the proposed parking restriction would be on both sides of the highway for about 400 metres, both north and south of the entrance.
This news will come to no surprise to the many Islanders who took to social media this summer to post comments and photos of the cars lining both sides of the highway by the trail entrance, many noting the potential danger this new practice posed.
Mr. Williamson also noted that the MTO would be posting signs making motorists aware of the parking restrictions and, as it is a provincial highway, the Ontario Provincial Police will be enforcing the new regulation.
As well, Mr. Williamson informed council that town staff has been working with Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC) on plans to expand the Cup and Saucer (32 car) parking lot to accommodate 70 cars, as recommended by the traffic brief the town had completed, a condition of the MTO temporary permit for the access off Highway 540.
“The parking lot expansion needs to be done before the snow flies,” said Mr. Williamson, adding that the work needs to be done while the temporary permit is still in place.
Mayor Al MacNevin reminded council that the town has applied for funding from FedNor, but that the municipality and the EBC are still seeking additional support to help cover cost for the parking lot and further trail work.