Traffic congestion caused by on-street parking, possible delays to response by emergency vehicles caused by that congestion, as well as the safety of visitors walking on road between the conservation areas were identified as major concerns for the neighbourhoods surrounding Spencer Gorge/Webster Falls Conservation Area. Once HCA parking lots reached capacity early in the day, visitors would search for parking in the small community of Greensville, clogging roads and running the risks of parking unsafely and illegally.
In response, the HCA entered into an agreement to have a shuttle service operated between the conservation area and a large parking lot on Highway 5. Over the first five weekends of the shuttle service operating at Spencer Gorge/Webster Falls Conservation Area, 3,015 cars have been redirected out of the Greensville neighbourhood, greatly reducing traffic congestion during these peak visitation periods.
Hamilton Conservation Authority CAO, Lisa Burnside, has noted that HCA has received many positive messages from the community over the past month, several noting that they were able to enjoy their property and surrounding area due to the positive impact that the shuttle service had on the traffic noise level around homes, the volume of traffic on streets, and the amount of disruption caused by the traffic.
HCA continues to work collaboratively with City of Hamilton staff on parking enforcement by bylaw officers on residential streets posted as No Stopping or No Parking. Joint press releases have been issued to reinforce safety at all waterfalls and to provide information on the shuttle service, directing visitors to the parking lot on Highway 5 West, keeping cars out of the Greensville area. HCA has continued to hire paid duty police officers to restrict traffic on Short and Fallsview Road on weekends, an area of particular safety concerns in light of the closure of a connecting trail on private property last fall. The closure caused visitors traveling between Webster and Tew Falls to walk on roadways as there are no sidewalks in the area. The shuttle does run between the two areas, but does not operate on weekdays.
The shuttle parking lot is located at Mizener’s Antiques and Fleamarket, located at 367 Highway 5 West in Dundas. The shuttle picks up visitors and stops first at Greensville Optimist Park (access to Webster Falls) and second at Tew Falls (access to Dundas Peak), before returning to the lot at Mizener’s. The shuttle will continue to run weekends and Holiday Mondays until Sunday, October 29, 2017. All Hamilton Conservation Authority parking lots at Webster, Tew and Greensville Optimist Park are closed on weekends and holidays during this time period, the only parking lot available will be at the Highway 5 location. The only exception will be visitors with accessible parking permits, who will be allowed to park at Webster Falls parking lot. The cost for the shuttle is the same as the regular parking fee and entry fee to Spencer Gorge/Webster Falls, $10 per car for parking and $5 per person wristband admission.