First Month of LPR Sees Behaviour Changes
Prince George, B.C. – It’s been five weeks since the City of Prince George introduced its new License Plate Recognition system to track and ticket parking violations in the downtown core. Manager of Bylaw Services, Fred Crittenden says it’s having an effect.
“I think we are seeing some good things happening” says Crittenden ” In the first week, we issued 194 tickets for overtime parking, that has dropped down to 79 in the fifth week, and each week we saw a decrease.”
Under the new rules, a maximum three hour limit is allowed for parking in the downtown core, regardless of block. Crittenden says over the five weeks, there has also been an increase in the use of the hourly/daily off street parking lots. “For instance in October, we had 2724 transactions in our offstreet lots, that increased in November to 5755. So people have gone to our offstreet parking options, which is a good thing.”
Since the new license plate recognition program was introduced, a total of 652 tickets have been issued, however, Crittenden says 40% of those were either immediately cancelled, or turned into warnings.
He says the first week of the new system resulted in numerous calls of complaint “The first week was really bad, the numbers indicated we get calls on about 26% of he tickets we issue, that’s a little higher than normal, but I think a lot of it has to do with the understanding of what the three hour zone is versus the two hour time limit was before, and we’re seeing that number ( of complaints) come down as we are seeing the number of tickets issued come down.”
He says there are still plenty of spaces for rent on a monthly basis, and expects more will move to take advantage of that option when the hourly/daily lot fees increase as of January 1st. ” That will probably have some of those who are paying $4 dollars a day right now make the decision to, you know, at $6 dollars a day it’s better for me to get a monthly stall. The great thing about that is it will free up more hourly/daily stalls for the casual user of the downtown area.” He says there are still about 300 off street monthly parking stalls available in the downtown area. There are also about 300 hourly/daily stalls available.
But there have been some hiccups. One of those ‘hiccups’ was identifying those who were in the core early in the day, left, then returned later for other business. “Those are the ones that we say, that’s something that needs to be cancelled.” Another glitch was brought about by the weather says Crittenden “With out offstreet machines, there’s been the odd day where we lost connection and they’ve gone off line so we didn’t have credit cards being charged right, just little stuff like that. The cold weather, we had a machine the heater wasn’t working quite well enough and it wasn’t accepting the coins the way it should.” He says that problem has been corrected.
“We didn’t expect this to go without hiccups but we are working with staff and letting people know how it works and the best way to deal with it and we are tying to address those as quick as we can.”
I for one stay away from downtown now due to above
“For instance in October, we had 2724 transactions in our offstreet lots, that increased in November to 5755. So people have gone to our offstreet parking options, which is a good thing.”
Yah a good thing, for the City coffers…
I went to the CIBC downtown last week and I actually found a parking spot on that block! System seems to be working well. Before this, it was easily a 2 or 3 block walk.
I hardly ever have a problem finding a parking spot in front of the Northern within 3 or four parking spots. If 3rd is full, then Brunswick between 3rd and 2nd will have a spot on one side or the other.
question: with the many, many unreadable license plates (due to people not cleaning them, mud, snow, etc) how can the cameras possibly read them? does the driver have to get out each time to wipe off vehicle’s plate so it can be read? if so, is that worth an extra ticket? i see at least 7 out of 10 plates each time i am driving that cannot be seen – where i come from if one’s plate cannot be seen then police will pull over the vehicle and, depending on attitude of driver, will either issue a ticket or a warning…. in either case driver cannot leave until plate is cleaned. i think we need this here especially considering all the hit and run accidents and careless driving that cannot be reported due to the inability to read the license plate
This article, and the information from the city, just proves that this system was all about creating revenue for the city and not about ensuring downtown businesses have available parking for their clients. All the measures for the system focus on revenue generation. I don’t see anything in the article that talks about increased availability of parking.
Did I miss something?
Nope. For a system that was brought in to make parking accessible to people in the downtown who were visiting – not working – no mention as to whether or not there has been better access. Although my personal observation is that the poor unfortunate employees at Northern Health are finally freeing up parking for people who actually shop and eat downtown by paying for parking for a change.
I suspect because of the investment, he’s trying to make the case that it’s paying for itself.
But, was just in Kamloops, they have the same system, except the 3 hour limit isn’t free, it costs $5.00, and you have to trundle off to find a machine to input your license plate and your cash.
So, all in all, PG has a much more friendlier downtown approach than our rival city.
The system can record the license plate number, the GPS coordinates and a date and time of the photo taken.
The information can be used for several purposes. One is that it can provide a parking survey showing how many vehicles parked on a specific block. It can then take those counts and compare them on a weekly, monthly and annual basis., as well as the impact of holidays, etc.
One can even pick up the 100 most frequent users of on street parking downtown.
That is just the beginning.
If they had done such a survey over several weeks prior to the restrictions going into effect, they could have compared the effect of the bylaw.
I use the word “if”, as if the City has not done that. If they did not do that, the missed the opportunity to determine in a scientific fashion what effect the introduction of the new system had.
I noticed that there have been more cars parked on side streets to the west of Winnipeg. I am wondering whether the City is taking a note of that.
must be working great,
I haven’t gotten one ticket,
could be because that money grab has kept me away from the downtown core, and will continue to do so.
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