The new downtown parking strategy, which involves a three-hour limit and licence plate recognition technology for enforcement, is working, according to the city.
Implemented last fall, it has resulted in a marked reduction of the number of cars parked for extended periods on the street in front of businesses, and a corresponding increase in the number of motorists using off-street parking spaces, says Fred Crittenden, manager of bylaw services for the city.
“We have two main objectives with our strategy: to increase the availability of on-street parking in front of businesses for customers and clients, and to increase the usage of parking lots and parkades for longer-term parking,” Crittenden said in a press release.
The strategy was first implemented in November 2016 and later extended to include the two-hour hospital parking zone by the middle of that month.
“While the average number of vehicles scanned via the license plate recognition system has dropped from a daily average of 1,365 in November to 1,069 in January, the use of off-street lots has increased,” he said. “Prior to the implementation of the license plate recognition system and amended parking control bylaws, the city had a 22.7 per cent vacancy rate in its monthly rental stalls and a 57 per cent vacancy in hourly and daily stalls. Since going live with the new equipment, the vacancy rate in monthly rental stalls has dropped to 18.6 per cent and the rate in hourly and daily stalls has been more than cut in half to 24 per cent.”
In addition, the number of tickets issued to vehicles parked in violation of the three-hour time limit has dropped from 244 in November to 174 in January in the downtown zone and from 77 in November to 32 in January in the hospital parking zone.
Parking Projects in 2017
The Parkade at Fifth and Dominion will be closed for maintenance from March 1 until early September. City staff is working with 205 tenants to temporarily relocate them to one of the other facilities for the duration of the project. The city has plenty of capacity in its downtown parking facilities to relocate the vehicles, but it could temporarily lower off-street vacancy by approximately 100 stalls (six per cent).
The second project will be the closing of the parking lot behind the Wood Innovation and Design Centre to make room for the new Wood Innovation Research Lab and adjacent park later this year. However, the city has the capacity at nearby parkades and lots to accommodate.