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October 27, 2017 9:22 pm

New Parking Rules Explained

Friday, September 2, 2016 @ 5:58 AM

Prince George, B.C.- The  new parking strategy for downtown Prince George could come into effect the day after Council gives fourth and final reading to the new bylaw that  sets out the rules and the fines. That could be as early as September  20th.  As part of the  public education plan,  the City has produced a  document  it hopes will answer most of your questions about the new  strategy.The  strategy is meant to improve parking availability  for customers of  businesses  in the downtown core and  bring an end to the practice of  parking stall hopping by those  who would abuse the free, two hour  time limit.

The free parking  on  most downtown streets will be extended to 3 hours.

Here is the  entire  Q&A  document from the City:


Is it true that I will only be allowed to park on the street for three hours during the day downtown when the new changes are implemented?

Yes, if you wish to park for more than three hours per business day on the street downtown, please make use of one of the 15 off-street parking facilities, which cost 75 cents per hour and four dollars per day. Please note enforcement will ONLY be in effect from 7:00am to 5:00pm on business days.

What happens if I park downtown in the morning for a few minutes and then again in the afternoon? Am I at risk of getting a ticket?

This initiative is aimed at reducing the number of chronic offenders in timed zones, not to punish casual visitors and shoppers downtown.

A slight possibility exists that in the scenario above, you could be found to be in violation. However, we have a review process in place to efficiently review and adjudicate tickets that drivers wish to dispute. If you receive a ticket you feel was unwarranted, please contact the Service Centre at 250.561.7600 or servicecentre@princegeorge.ca.

When am I at risk of getting a ticket?

The system is in effect Monday through Fridays (during regular business days) from 7:00am to 5:00pm. There is no charge for off-street and on-street parking stalls during all other hours and days of the week.

When does this come into effect?

Once Council has approved the final reading of the bylaw (to appear before Council later this year) the proposed fine increases would come into effect the following morning. The License Plate Recognition System is tentatively scheduled for installation for the third week of September. Exact details relating to the launch date of the recognition system will be communicated once the system has been installed and staff trained.

Who will be enforcing the bylaws?

The City of Prince George’s Bylaw Services Officers and Parking Control Officers will be enforcing the parking bylaws.

What do downtown businesses think of these changes?

Since 2014, the City has been working with the downtown businesses to improve the enforcement of the timed zones in the downtown core.

The City of Prince George conducted extensive consultation including with both the Prince George Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Improvement Association (DBIA) and both organizations are supportive of this initiative.

I work downtown and need to park. Where should I park?

If for any reason, including work, you intend to park downtown for more than three hours during the day on a regular business day, please park in the off-street lots. The charge for parking in these lots is 75 cents per hour or four dollars per day. There are also privately owned lots available for rent downtown.

Where will the License Plate Recognition technology be utilized?

The LPR technology will only be used in the downtown area from Scotia Street to Winnipeg Street, First Avenue to 12th Avenue, including Patricia Boulevard, and in the two hour parking areas in the residential district around the hospital.

Why is the City of Prince George doing this?

The changes will allow the City of Prince George to deal more effectively with parking violations within the community while improving available customer parking in Downtown Prince George.

So far in 2016, more than 300 license plates have received three or more parking tickets. Two of these plates have received as many as 15 tickets.

How does this encourage people to come downtown to shop and use services?

This frees up parking spots for people who wish to visit the businesses and services provided downtown. This point is central to the purpose of the downtown parking strategy and the related bylaws.

How does the new license plate recognition technology work?

VenTek International has been hired to provide the required equipment and technology to effectively implement the project, comprised of four parts:

  1.  The Mobile License Plate Recognition (MLPR) equipment and software will allow for enforcement routes to be completed faster and more frequently. The equipment has the capacity to check every vehicle for compliance while recognizing several types of permits at once and reducing human error.
  2. A new online permitting system will reduce our off-street parking administration time and costs and allow customers to search for and acquire permits on the City’s website 24 hours a day.
  3. Nine pay-stations will replace the current pay-stations in City lots and will give customers the new option of paying with coins or credit cards. The locations of these stations/kiosks will be announced along with the deployment of the new equipment.
  4. TicketManager™ is a new enforcement tool that allows enforcement officers to view real time vehicle data in the palm of their hands. Payment status and vehicle history collected from other integrated parking systems, including our MLPR and Pay by Plate pay stations, will be provided so officers can create accurate citations.

How much does it cost to park in an off-street lot?

For daily parking, it costs four dollars per day, or 75 cents per hour to park in one of the City‘s 15 off-street parking facilities. If you wish to pay by the month, rates range in price from approximately $55 to $140 per month. There are also privately-owned downtown lots available.

How much will the fines cost if I violate the bylaw?

Most fines for violators will be $50, which is an increase from the current $25 fine for a first infraction. The $50 fine is also consistent with fine amounts in our Off-Street Parking Bylaw. Fines related to violating the timed zones will escalate after two offences. Fines for more serious safety issues like obstructing a fire hydrant or crosswalk will increase to $75, and violations for parking in a disabled parking stall will increase to $100.

What if my license plate is covered by dirt or snow? Will I be fined?

No, you will not be fined simply because your license plate is covered up by dirt or snow, but please note that it is your responsibility to keep your car license plate clear and uncovered. However, City staff will assist by wiping off unreadable license plates to ensure the License Plate Recognition Software can work properly.

How many off-street parking lots and parkades are in downtown Prince George?

The City of Prince George provides 15 off-street parking facilities in downtown Prince George. A new and updated map of downtown off-street lots will be published in the near future. The City operates nearly 2000 off-street parking spaces in the downtown area.

Will any City workers be laid off due to the implementation of this technology?

There are no plans to lay off any City workers because of the changes to these bylaws and the implementation of the LPR technology.



Dear City of Prince George. Timely communication is a very important tool. When implemented properly, timely communication has the ability to prevent issues from spiraling out of control–as has happened in this parking fiasco.

I suggest you have a good hard look at the City communications team. You are paying a person in excess of $150,000 a year to lead your communications strategy. Unfortunately, it appears that the strategy is purely reactive and lacks any sort of decisive insight.

This whole debate around parking could have, and should have, been handled much better by your communications team. Maybe try slicing the communication lead’s salary in half to $75,000, and you could use the other $75,000 towards other more meaningful applications.

And….if people don’t pay the fine…does the city have any legal way to collect ?

This system borders on harassment . Lets say that a person drives his significant other to work and while parked in front of their place of employment the license plate is entered into the system at 8am. The vehicle is then on the clock so to speak.

So he/she goes home, and then comes downtown for coffee and shopping around 10:30am. at 11:00am he/she is open to being fined $50.00 even though the vehicle has only been using a parking space for 40 minutes max.

At 4;45pm he/she drives downtown to pick up the spouse and once again the vehicle could be put into the system. So even if picking up the spouse was only the second time the vehicle was in the ZONE that day for a total of less than 30 minutes, it would still be subject to a fine.

People drive their significant others to and from work on a regular basis, so I can see where this system could be an absolute pain. Further more phoning City Hall and trying to get this situation sorted out over time would become a real pain in the butt.

The City does not have the right to harass its citizens, even if it does it under the guise of trying to promote better parking.

Dear City: Please review the rates for monthly parking downtown, you say the lots are nowhere near full, maybe that is because the rates are too high. I have a monthly spot in an open uncovered lot, but it is actually cheaper for me to pay daily in the same lot than it is to pay monthly. If you want downtown employees off the street, make it affordable for them to buy monthly passes.
Thank you,

    “If you want downtown employees off the street, make it affordable for them to buy monthly passes”


    The City has said they have “reached out” to employers to encourage their employees to park in parkades or surface parking lots.

    To the best of my knowledge, they did not offer a lowered parking rates. I suspect that a $50/month rate would make a major dent in those parking on the street.

    I am also relatively sure that it would not cost as much as the new system.

My goodness, did you guys stay up all freaking night dreaming up scenarios where someone might be impacted negatively?
I’ve worked downtown for in excess of 30 years. That is a minimum of 5 days per week and 2 to 4 trips per day. In that time I have had my tires marked maybe 5 times. I would suspect that it will be very rare that a casual visitor to downtown would have their vehicle interact with the licence plate recognition software more than once per month much less several times in the same day.
Perhaps Gus could do a statistical analysis and calculate the probability of having your plate scanned even once twice in the same day given the area to be covered, the number of units on patrol, the number of vehicles parked downtown at any given moment, and the number of hours that the units are on patrol.
Probably a better chance to win the lottery…but that’s just a guess!

    The cycle time of the license scanning based on info provided on a CFIS FM talk show this week was between 1 and 1.5 hours.

    Hopefully people will be able to figure out for themselves what the approximate probability is if one parks in the same place for 1.5 hours, 0.75 hours that they will be scanned.

    As a result, my recommendation is that once one parks downtown in the morning for 1.5 hours and then moves out of the restricted zone, one should not come back in the afternoon, say 4 hours after leaving, since the longer one stays the higher the probability of getting scanned the second time. That would then record a stay of at least 4 hours to as long as 5.5 hours + the time parked in the afternoon.

    The reason the system is not anywhere near perfect is because it is incapable of identifying when a vehicle enters the zone and it is even worse because it cannot detect when one leaves the zone.

    Congestion zones, such as that in the center of London, England, have CCTV cameras which monitor plates going into the zone and leaving the zone. We could put up probably fewer than 100 CCTV cameras at the boundaries of our zone and have an automated system which would not require any people on the ground. Likely a higher acquisition cost but lower operating cost and a much more accurate system causing fewer disputes and higher probability of the City prevailing with any dispute.

    Under this new system every vehicle in the ZONE ie; Winnipeg St. to Scotia St., and 1st Avenue to 12th Avenue including Patricia Blvd would be subject to license plate scanning.

    My understanding is that the vehicle doing the scan can the complete zone in approx. 1/2 hour, so that means for the 10 hours between 7am and 5pm they could complete 20 scans. Any vehicle in this zone that has been scanned once will be subject to a fine after 3 hours free time. So if you were scanned at 10am and left, then returned at 2pm you would be subject to fine.

    With this system NyteHawwk it is guaranteed that you will be getting a ticket on a regular basis. In fact you could get a ticket every day. The only way you can be certain to not get a ticket is to not come back to the Zone a second time, get off street parking, or avoid the downtown all together.

    This is a money grab pure and simple, regardless of how often the City claims it isn’t.

I think that the new rules will be enforced by ticketing with much as much determination as possible since the expensive new system will have to pay for itself as quickly as possible! During the 10 hours it is in effect daily the vehicle can make as many as 4 complete rounds!

Interesting that you say 4 round per day Prince George. You are probably right, however we do not know that they will actually patrol the whole zone or just the areas where the heavy traffic is, or a combination. In any event, 4,6, or 10 times per day almost guarantee’s you a ticket.

Haha they are going to brush off your license plate in the winter.
When you head downtown put some snow over your plate covering a letter or number.
If you come back to your vehicle and it is brushed off you know you were scanned. People who work downtown can just use snow on their plates to park and if scanned move their car to an empty parkade at lunch.

    There is a difference between snow that is blown back onto the license plate due to the negative pressure behind a vehicle while driving and snow put on by hand. One would have to get a tool which could blow snow onto the plate.

    On top of that, take a close look at license plates with snow on them. If there is not enough on it, the plate can be read by a scanner due to the “shadow” the raised letters will cast. So, it depends how fresh the snow is and how much has been deposited.

    Finally, you do not know when the plate was wiped and then scanned.

    Defense? A rear view camera or cameras, plus a dash camera which will show your trip itinerary as proof you drove out of the zone for several hours and then returned. A $20 or so item when ordered on the internet.

      You really think they are smart enough to figure out what snow was deposited or deliberately placed there? Lots of ice chunks or natural hunks of snow around to lean on your license plate.
      If you are away from the vehicle for 2-3 hours and come back to it and the snow is wiped off you know you have to move it if you have an 8 hour shift, does not matter when it was scanned.
      Cheap cameras do not continuously write once the card is full. You have to take it to your computer and download/erase or format the card (which they don’t come with I might add). You have 3 hours max total time downtown, if you work there a camera is not going to help you but snow might be your friend.

Park in the off street lots they say. Two of the most popular off street lots have been given away to the rcmp for their own parking and are off limits to the public. While I am talking about parking I have to ask how does the city get away with turning a city owned and paid for street into a parking lot and then have the right to turn it over to a private carrier to patrol and fine people.

Funny thing about the RCMP is not only do they use the lot, but also all the on street parking around the building. Do they get tickets for parking all day in the spots ? Why wasn’t the building designed right from the beginning for parking and access ?

    LunarcomPG. The City intended to buy the property on the Northwest corner of the property where the RCMP building is located, and use this space for parking. Problem is they could not come to terms with the owners and therefore had improvise.

    There was supposed to be parking under the building. It was deleted in order to save a couple of million $ or so. The smart Mr. Stolz was the person who proposed and pushed this.

Three hour cumulative parking downtown, well the city is open for business, the rip off business.

Nytehawk answered everyone’s concerns, yet the comments keep coming.
And it still flies over heads. I’m laughing.

    I guess you missed the frequency of coverage. Read gopg2015 response.

City Council approved $450,000.00 in spending for the licence-plate recognition program that would involve vehicle cameras and electronic handheld units, along with the improved parking regulations signs, in the 2014 budget.

Consultation with the DBIA and the local chamber of commerce led to the inclusion of a REQUIREMENT for any acquired system to have the ability to track license plates for a vehicle’s total time spent parked downtown (((allowing for movement and multiple trips))) as opposed to enforcing solely those parked for a consecutive period of time.

In following up with suppliers after the Oct 1,2014, city staff were told no one could supply a product that fit the bill.

“Administration was advised that current technology would not have accurate times of when a vehicle left and then re-entered (or moved) within the downtown zone.” said the staff report.

A new RFP was then put out calling for a “consecutive time based enforcement model”

So it seems that the model the City is bringing in, has this huge flaw, that will cause all kinds of angst for citizens of Prince George, requiring them to avoid the downtown, park outside the zone, communicate with the City on a regular basis to get parking tickets cancelled, etc; etc; etc;

The problem is, is that there is no actual need to change the present system, which, while not perfect gets the job done to some degree.

Going into this system knowing full well that it is flawed makes one wonder what the H is going on.

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