On Jan. 4, I parked in front of the Laughing Buddha, only to discover I had parked in a loading zone. Not only did I not see the signs posted for the loading zone, but as a business owner in the downtown core, I question what sort of deliveries are being made at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night.
The evening of Jan. 5 I had parked in the city-owned parking lot on Minto Street, with no visible posting that parking after hours is at a cost. I have since learned that there is a charge for “special events.”
I applaud the recent comments and commitments made by the mayor and council to rejuvenate the downtown core. A good place to start would be re-examining our current parking strategy. Parking complaints are at the forefront of any downtown discussions.
When there is an event with 5,000 people in attendance, and there are not 5,000 parking spaces downtown, this situation needs to be addressed.
While it is not necessary to have this number of spots sitting vacant, there should be flexibility shown in freeing available spots on an as needed basis, i.e. loading zones outside of business hours.
Do by law enforcement employees work every evening, or just when there are special events downtown? To what purpose? Can the revenue received from tickets written on these occasions make up for the ill will they engender?
I have found I need to be at a game an hour and a half in advance to get a parking spot. The evenings in question I was driving a handicapped individual (also a Wolves season ticket holder) who needed to be dropped off and picked up at the door, so this was not feasible given the current parking situation.
The cost of a night out (dinner and hockey ticket) can be pricy enough without the city being petty and adding extra parking costs to the few spaces available.
Is it really necessary to have an overzealous parking enforcement staff discouraging people from going downtown with the threat of unexpected fees? The bylaw department and the city councillors and Mayor need to get on the same page.
With the news that three long time downtown business are closing, it is high time the mayor and council address this issue before people stop supporting the downtown completely.
This is an ongoing problem and it is time we stop talking about it and take action. Maybe the upcoming municipal election would be a good place to start.
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