Humber parking demand is not expected to ease after LRT begins operation

Feb 21, 2024 | Campus News, GTA/Local News, News

The new Finch West light rail transit (LRT) line will provide easier access to anyone travelling to Humber’s North campus from northwest Toronto.

However, college officials say the new transit line won’t reduce the demand for college parking spots as most students live in areas not served by the LRT line.

But what could put some pressure on parking is the exchange of 440 parking spots in Lots 13 and 14 for a new basketball facility the college is currently considering.

The new $2.5 billion LRT line is gearing towards an end of development after construction began in 2019 and with years of prior preparation. This would mean one thing for certain for any Humber students who will be using the line: quicker and easier access to their classes.

Metrolinx estimates about 46,000 people would ride the LRT daily.

A sidewalk with wall and roof towards Humber College from the LRT station.

The covered walkway from the Humber LRT station, along the side access road. Cameras line the ceiling to give a safe passage way from the station to the college. Photo credit: Liam Neilson

Easier access could mean some students from within Toronto who normally drive to the college opt to ride public transit and give up paying for parking.

James Irvine, manager of transportation at Humber’s North campus, said demand for parking isn’t likely to go down, although he does welcome the idea of fewer students depending on their vehicles to and from classes.

“Most of our students come from the west, Mississauga and Brampton, and the Finch West LRT is the most western station. So generally, we don’t feel like there would be a decline in revenue because it won’t serve a large portion of our students,” Irvine said.

“We are very hopeful that it will get some people out of single-occupied vehicles,” he said. Those who live east of Humber and in the northern areas of Toronto would most likely leave their vehicles home and use the Finch LRT, Irvine said.

Metrolinx stated the new LRT will span approximately 11 kilometres with 18 stops from Finch West subway station, at Keele Street and Finch Avenue, to Humber College.

Metrolinx declined an interview with Humber News about specific dates of when the line will begin operating, construction delays or estimated counts of riders when running.

The current date available to the public on when we can expect the LRT to be up and running is the end of 2024.

Parking lot filled with cars, a sign reads, "Lot 13 Staff/Student Permit Holder Card Access Only Monday - Friday".

Humber's Lot 13, the proposed site for the new athletics building. Photo credit: Liam Neilson

Although the college projects the LRT won’t have much of an effect on parking spot demands, the building of a proposed athletics facility on Lots 13 and 14 on the northwest corner of campus might force it to seek alternate parking arrangements.

Irvine said these two lots make up about 440 parking spots for people driving to the college.

Angelo Presta, the associate VP of facilities management and development at Humber, said if construction on these lots takes place, options for alternate parking off-campus for students will be looked at if necessary.

“We have off-site parking facilities that aren’t fully used,” he said. “We don’t think that it’ll be a hit to parking by converting the lots, at least it hasn’t been in any of the preliminary plans.”

Irvine said the off-campus lot is located near the corner of Queen’s Plate Drive and Highway 27, one traffic light south of Humber College Boulevard, and is used for Humber parking pass holders.

Presta said the new line has the potential to draw in interest from future students in places that will have easier access to the college going forward.

“We’d have to see what our enrollment colleagues will do, but the opportunity is definitely there now that it could be increased based on ease of getting here,” he said.