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.”