Mixed Messages About Parking in Downtown
Prince George, B.C. – “It’s a bit of a loophole” that’s how Bylaw Services Manager Fred Crittenden describes the problem with the parking signage downtown and the actual bylaw.
There are some signs in the downtown which say there are two hours of free parking, but doesn’t specify the hours of the day. Other signs say two hours free from 9 am-6 pm, while there are other signs which say no parking 1 am to 8am. But with the messages so mixed, the best the City could do is write 157 warnings to those found parked on City streets between 1 am and 8 am.
Then there’s the license plate recognition program which the City has set aside $450 thousand dollars to implement. A new RFP will be issued calling on potential suppliers to submit their proposals for equipment that would recognize plates on consecutive time, not “cumulative time” which is what the City had required. Problem is, there is no way to monitor if the vehicle left the downtown and returned to a different area.
When it comes to no parking times, “One size does not fit all for downtown” says Crittenden who notes some downtown coffee shops may be inconvenienced by that no parking rule until after 8 am.
“Parking in any City in the province is an issue” says Mayor Lyn Hall who says he received a couple of phone calls from people who received warning tickets for being parked on street between 1 am and 8 am. He says he still gets calls about the costs of parkade parking rates, with people asking why the City doesn’t reduce the rates in some parkades in order to fill those spaces.
Crittenden says the 2nd Avenue Parkade has a 34% vacancy rate, and the West Tel parkade has a 32% vacancy rate. Crittenden says right now, there are 318 vacant off street parking spaces, translating to about $20 thousand a month in lost revenue. Mayor Hall says that translates to a quarter of a million dollars lost each year “If we have that kind of vacancy rate, are we not better to reduce those (parking) rates in order to collect that quarter of a million dollars each year?”
Crittenden will be returning to Council in a couple of months with a full report on the parking situation.