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October 27, 2017 9:42 pm

License Plate Recognition System Nears

Monday, August 8, 2016 @ 6:00 AM

Prince George, B.C. – The City of Prince George has  signed a contract  for the delivery of a license plate recognition program  that will be  put  to use in the Downtown core.

There are still some bylaw amendments that will need to  be made before the new system can be operational.  It’s expected those amendments ( details of which are not yet available) will be put before  Council  for consideration  when it meets  at the end of  August.

It’s been nearly a year since  City Council approved a  downtown parking plan, which expanded the downtown parking  zone  to cover an area  from 1st Avenue to Patricia Boulevard,  and from Scotia Street on the  east to Winnipeg Street on the west.and  made some changes to allowable time limits.  Most on street free parking was extended to 3 hours,  except  for  a stretch on Victoria from 1st to 7th, which saw maximum limits reduced to  30 minutes.

The plan  is all about  eliminating the  hop-scotch game played by some drivers who,  when approaching the  end  of their free time limit, move their vehicles to another  spot   on the street or in the zone.

In September of last year,  when the plan was  revised, Staff  suggested  the City move to a system where a vehicle’s consecutive time in the zone would be  recorded, so  in order to avoid being ticketed, the vehicle would have to either move out of the  zone, or to a City lot/parkade  and pay the hourly rate.

That’s  where the license plate recognition (lpr) system comes to play.   One City vehicle, outfitted with the  license plate  recognition equipment , could  patrol the zone  and  could keep track of a vehicle’s consecutive time.

The cost of the  license plate recognition plan has not yet been made public, but  the budget for the lpr system and new signage is $450 thousand dollars.



What a total waste of taxpayer’s money…I go down town at least once a week and have not had a problem finding a parking spot…how long will it take to recover 450,000 dollars from the few tickets that will be issued with this program…

The ticket you receive in the mail? I see a big ole scam coming on here…not to mention job loss! The people that walk and monitor the streets right now will be out of a job!!! Now, for an example, people at the Canadian Back Institute (CBI), they have to be there for 6 hrs. Theres no specific parking for these people so If asume they will be the target of this so called fancy vehical they propose to do this monitoring? I agree with you on this topic Taktak!!! Very disappointing!

    Sorry, i ment to say I not if asume! My bad!😎

So if a person goes downtown to shop and dine and lets say changes locations over half a day they could get fined? More reason not to go downtown.

450,000 say what the H costs that much?


    Unless they have a “smart” system which will recognize parking patterns over time and determine a boundary for the vehicle that will provide a pretty good estimate of where the driver actually works.

    I doubt anyone will park as far away as George street if they actually work on Victoria, for instance.

    However, when someone goes to do some business downtown, they may very well have coffee at the Coast in the morning and park on the street because the Inn’s lot is full, stay there for a couple of hours, end up with staying for lunch (thus having to move the car), getting caught with the new system, then going to the Northern to look and buy a piece of furniture, moving on to AuChocolat to buy some goodies, see a friend sitting there and ending up staying for an hour, then moving on to buy something at the Chinese store on 6th, going to the post office to check a mail box, walking to Speedees to get some artist supplies and walking back, and finally driving to the bank on Victoria to do some banking business for 30 minutes before driving back to Vanderhoof after a day in PG.

    Welcome to Prince George!!

      From what I have heard it sounds like there will be the option to pay for your parking past the 3 hour limit, it will be high enough to encourage the workforce to get a monthly parking spot.

      Do not forget, not everyone is a full time worker. 20 hours a week downtown and 20 hours a week at a shopping centre. Very costly to get a dedicated parking spot in a parkade or parking lot.

      One has to think these sort of things through a bit. It will be this special case peron and another different special case and a few more, pretty soon the majority of people are affected one way or another.

      Besides tha, the “I have heard” part is very disturbing. Why the gossip? Why is there not a plan that is fully disclosed at the onset.

      Why was Rob the communication specialist hired if not for this sort of situation?

      Completely agree! Myself and a friend are actually planning a shopping day downtown this week. Normally we park somewhere around the Northern and spend a few hours walking around and grab lunch somewhere. It can turn into a 5 hour day sometimes, with the vehicle parked in the same spot the entire time. Add a hair appointment with colour into that day and it could stretch even longer.

      to peegee – then you are in luck! – There are several city owned lots off 2nd avenue for hourly parking (close to the Northern). For a maximum of $4.00 you can park from 6 am to 6 pm. and good for you for shopping downtown.

      Thanks reader! I didn’t realize that, I thought the lots downtown were monthly.

      Way to make the crappiest “downtown experience” in the province, even worse.

      Walking is very a healthy exercise. Try it sometime.

    If you are going to be downtown for that long, there are hourly parking lots. That’s where you should be if you need more than 3 hours.

    Very few customers need more than 3 hours though.

      And enjoyable.

This is a good system.

I’d prefer if they used hand held readers instead of a truck mounted system–it’s way cheaper and I like the idea of people on the ground.

This will make a world of difference for retailers. There will be 3 hours of parking downtown for everyone. Past three hours, you need to be off the street. Employees working downtown should be off the street to allow customers to park on street.

The first offense is a warning–no fine. I’d like it if there were two warnings per year, but this is pretty fair.

Some people (mostly office workers) think it is their right to tie up all the parking downtown so that there is no room for customers. It’s not their right. In fact, the downtown retailers pay almost $500,000 per year to subsidize the off-street parking for the downtown employees via a special levy on the property taxes. Off-street parking rates would be three times higher without this levy. Still employees won’t get off the street and make room for customers. If I was a retailer, I’d have reason to be upset.

I think that this system has been well thought out.

If you are an employee working downtown and being a freeloader–abusing the on-street parking and hurting a lot of small businesses, you should consider finding your off-street parking stall sooner than later. The free lunch is ending fast…

    A system would be well thought out if it required people who are employed downtown and take a vehicle to work or drive a vehicle to work that they actually use to drive during the day for errands (not everyone is sitting in a chair at work all day long) to register the vehicle license number with the City so that the City did not have to second guess whether they are downtown workers or not.

    That is not a draconian notion. People in larger cities who live in “downtown” areas and high density areas do that all the time so that they can park on the street as “locals”. Some have systems by which guests’ vehicle licenses can also be phoned in.

    Look at the boundaries. It goes from Winnipeg to Scotia street and from 1st to Patricia. That covers the entire residential corridor of Winnipeg to Vancouver. Anyone who lives there and has a friend coming over for longer than 3 hours has to find another place to park or risk getting a ticket.

    Based on this article, where is the “well thought out” part of this scheme?

I should have mentioned that there is a business case for this system. The City collects property taxes on the downtown. If the businesses downtown are more successful, then there are fewer vacancies, rents go up, property values go up and the City collects more property taxes.

Over the last 10 years, things have significantly improved downtown. The City is now collecting an extra $1 million per year in extra property taxes. But there is still a long ways to go.

Making sure that there is parking for customers will help the businesses significantly. It’s not a stretch to see values increase some more. The $450,000 for this system, while expensive, will be paid off very quickly with increases in property taxes and reduction in meter maid salary expenses.

    There would be a business case if the DBIA would have asked for it an paid for it from the special levy the City imposes on them based on an agreement with the DBIA. If they felt that parking is a problem for their business, then they should be the ones to decide that. It directly affects them, as you say.

    The same, btw, goes for such items as banners hanging from the poles in the DBIA. I believe the Gateway BIA pays for the banners used in that part of the city.

    BTW, the City has to provide offstreet parking in the area bounded by Victoria, Queensway, 2nd avenue and 6th.

    I would like to see a count of the parking spaces they provide in the parkades as well as parking lots to see whether they are actually providing the spaces required for the floor are of building in that boundary.

    I suspect they are not. Time to be a bit more transparent. We used to have a Parking Commission whose responsibility it was to monitor that. Whose responsibility is that now?

    Where is the annual report out to the community on that?

    May you experience the joy of your employer saving money by eliminating your wages.

Hope they use an electric vehicle considering council has their knickers in a knot that C02 will over heat PG. Hey maybe it’s all that hot air from city hall. They should do a study, 70 grand here or there, who cares taxpayer money. Oh wait that was the bike lane study. I get confused keeping track of all these studies.

I have worked downtown for many years. My employer provides parking spaces in one of the lots. I park there and rarely park on the street. My co-worker on the otherhand mostly parks on the street in front of the office. Very rarely does she get ticketed. About once a week or even less she might get her tires marked and then she just drives around the block and reparks. I definitely think changes are needed and hopefully this will be the answer. For all those people who are complaining – I would say that for most people a 3 hour accumulative time limit should be plenty for the downtown core, particularly through the week days. There might be more of a problem with the 30 minute time limitation along Victoria as people with bank/doctor/lawyer appointments may find it more difficult with just a 30 minute time limit if they want to park near to their appointment destination. Will this be monitored as well on Saturdays?

Come and shop in Quesnel. The City of Quesnel has no parking fees at all. No meters and no pay lots. Why can’t PG do the same ?

    We need more on-street parking. People want to park on street. Short of widening all the roads, this is a problem.

    So we need some way of rationing it. We don’t want meters–a terrible option that would chase customers away. This is the best option for rationing.

    Wasn’t there some talk of switching 2nd, 5th, and 7th to angled parking? I seem to remember council approved this. This would add quite a few stalls and make parking downtown a lot easier for people that don’t parallel park. This was one of the better ideas I’d heard of in a while. Anyone know what’s happening with this?

It’s true, you can usually find a parking spot downtown – it may be 2 or 3 blocks away from where you want to be, but you can. In summer, no big deal, in winter, a big deal.

3rd avenue is probably the worst. CRA and Northern Health employees regularly exploit the loophole in the by-law, and just rotate their vehicles around. It surprises me that they are able to leave their work every 2 hours to do this, but that’s what it is. I’ve watched them do it. Walk out of Northern Health, look at their tires, if no chalk marks, back into the building they go.

If you do nothing, it’s going to become worse. Currently it’s costing me $80.00 a month to park in the parkade. Frankly, if the city isn’t going to do anything about this, I, and others will give up our spots in the parkades, and just play the same game everyone else is. This means a drop in revenue to the city, and it means even less spaces for those who come downtown to shop and do business as the currently compliant people also become non-compliant.

There will never be a solution that fits every scenario. This may cost the city $450,000.00, but if it forces even 100 people to rent in the parkade, that’s a $80,000 boost in rental income, so an approximate 5 year payback.

For the those commenting that may be concerned, maybe let council etc know of your concerns? Did the public not have a chance for their input a while back in regards to this?

    I am sure this site is monitored by council and they would not loose any sleep if 250 news disappeared.

      Council reads this ? Well, apparently the city spent a 7 digit figure on GPS units for all its vehicles. They continue to pay a Newfie company a monthly service fee. The Newfie company no longer exists and the shit GPS units don’t work. Must be nice to be employed by the city of PG, take home about $150,000 to scratch your ass and throw money away.

1. Who says that there is a shortage of parking spaces downtown.?? At any given moment within the area mentioned you can find 200-300 empty spaces. So although the real problem (if it exists) is on the Third and George area between Victoria and Queensway, the City is throwing out a wide net to get as many people caught as possible.

2. This issue is about forcing people to use off street parking and to generate revenue for the City. I believe that off street parking is operating at about 70% capacity.

3 The best customers for business downtown are the people who work downtown. They are their 5 days per week, and shop and eat at the restaurants on a regular basis. They are in effect the backbone of all business in the area to be regulated.

    I think your #3 point is really good. The focus is on the person “coming downtown” – but why are we punishing the person “who is already there.” A know a retailer who is frustrated that the NH employees take up all the parking spots, but then again, they are also some of his best customers. I’m rethinking my stance.

4. What happens when a person goes downtown say to the Northern, gets his license plate recorded, and then goes home, returns downtown to eat an hour later. It appears that his time is regulated from when he parked at the Northern rather than when he parked at the restaurant. This is a major flaw in the system. People could leave and return to the regulated area two or three times during the three hour period.

5. What about volunteers who work downtown on a regular basis. Will they make allowances for these people, or are they expected to pay money to volunteer.

6. Why are regular employee’s who work downtown required to operate under this system, while City employee’s get a free ride. City employee’s should not be treated any different than other employee’s in the City.

7. The City will of course expand this system to cover a larger area, once people get used to it, so that they can increase their revenue. I can see it implemented at the College and around the Hospital to name a few.

I agree with the Quesnel poster. We do not need any parking meters, and the system we have in place at this point in time works just fine.

I am wondering now if the area around the hospital will be monitored better. People park in the 2 hours parking zone all day and where the is to be no parking between 1 am and 8 am people park there all night.

I am not a homeowner near the hospital but having someone parked in front of my house 24-7 would be annoying and where is my company supposed to park?

Plus the city is considering ticketing people parking in designated bike lanes.

They can’t handle the current volume of cars parked in 2 hours zone and no parking areas is this really going to help the situation?

I wonder why the city has the parking bylaws when they don’t enforce them.

Oh the things that come up as big issues in PG, LOL!

IMHO, there really isn’t a problem here. Like others have said, it’s not hard to find a parking spot in downtown PG. There might, however, be a problem finding a parking spot within 10 feet of the store you want to visit. Big deal. Park down the block a bit or drive around the block a couple of times until a closer space comes free and it’s resolved.

Of all the years I lived in PG, I never once recall seeing a deluge of vehicles descending on the downtown core to visit the Northern, Amigos, the shops on 4th Ave, etc., only having them have to turn around in disgust and head back to College Heights or the Hart because they couldn’t find parking. The problem was always getting people and traffic down there in the first place.

I say make the entire downtown core free parking for as long as you want. If (and its a HUGE if based on PG’s history of developing the downtown) it gets to the point where there is enough stuff down there to attract the volume of cars that actually justifies a parking strategy, then implement it.

$450K isn’t a massive amount of money, but if you took that along with the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on other pea brained initiatives, you would probably have enough money to do some very tangible things in order to improve the downtown core and make it a place people would want to visit on a regular basis.

For the record, when I worked down there I parked in the 2nd Ave parkade.

What about those with disabled plates/placards??

So it is get the system and
then change the laws to make it fit…
I would have made more sense to make sure it was legal frst.

I can guarantee it won’t be taking any pictures of my car’s licence plate.

NMG is on the money. This parking issue is really a (non issue) and is all about the City generating revenue. (What’s new)

So when we look at the $450,000.00 to hook up a couple of downtown Government buildings to the Community Energy System, and the $450,000.00 for this ill conceived parking program, we see that with very little effort we have basically thrown $900,000.00 plus out the window. This from a City that would have you believe that they have no money, and have to raise your taxes every year to stay in the game.

My guess is that the Community Energy System as originally planned is an abject failure, and we are now in the mode of keeping it running even though their are no proven benefits. The same will happen with this parking fiasco. We will be collecting money, and p…..g off citizens, for no other reason than we have made a plan a few years ago, and no one at City Hall has the ability to stop the gong show.

I totally agree with most of the comments here!

ht tp://tinyurl.com/hbysp5s

How many Potholes can you fill for 450k.
I,am searching for the Parking Meters at the Pine Center,Cosco,Superstore and Walmart
and I just can’t find them, I will stay on the West of Hwy16 and 97 and so will many others !

Going to need another study?

Quesnel. No parking meters.

Parksville. No parking meters.

Qualicum. No parking meters.

Nanaimo. Some parking meters, lots of 2 hour free parking, and some all day free parking.

I also park in a parkade downtown. The cost has gone from 42.00 to 84.00 in the last few years. That was the last council. Perhaps it is time to revisit the costs? They are slated to rise again over the next few years, is that an incentive to leave on street parking for shoppers and diners? I think not. Daily off street parking is cheaper than the parkade’s, just an inconvenience to have the change every day. I do know people that do it however. Why not drop the cost to park to a more reasonable 50 or 60 per month, fill the parkade’s and have free 2 or 3 hour parking again. Yes there will be the employees of the big employers that still play the moving game but hopefully the employers step up and put an end to the wasted time they are paying for. Come on PG, if you have a good provincial or federal job with good salaries, just pay to park. Let the city flourish and people come downtown to shop, eat and enjoy. Council is doing good things, let’s help out.

I doubt if it stops at $450K.
What will it cost to have trained staff drive around and take pictures of license plates all day?
Will the vehicles used to cart the computerized picture taker cost anything to purchase, license, operate?
Will this new super-system install and maintain itself?
Will it get out of the vehicle and wipe off the mud/ice/snow from the plate so it can read it?
I would assume that all of the existing parking staff will retain their jobs, somewhere within the City operations.
There will be software upgrades, some sort of consumables.
What will the true cost be???

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