After six weeks of operating the new downtown parking system, the City is making some adjustments to help balance the many different needs of downtown visitors, employees, businesses and residents.
As opposed to just one maximum purchase a day in the 2 and 3 hour zones, customers can now make up to two maximum purchases per zone each day. In addition, more 10 hour parking will be added to help support employee needs and additional signage is planned to clearly identify the parking zones.
"We've taken the last few weeks to let people learn the system and to listen and gather feedback from the community, says Andrew Malcolm, the City of Lethbridge Downtown Revitalization Manager. "The top concerns we've heard are that the zones felt too restrictive, the 10 hour spots were hard to find and that people didn't know what zones they are in. The changes we are implementing will help address those issues."
The parking management strategy in the downtown remains the same with the goal of creating parking turnover and deterring all-day parking in front of businesses. This helps maintain a vibrant, business friendly downtown.
"The majority of our downtown businesses have embraced this change and are working with their clients and customers to help them use the system," says Ted Stilson, Executive Director Downtown Revitalization Zone (BRZ). "The change is already helping create the parking turnover we need so customers can access businesses. We're committed to making sure that continues while still balancing the different needs of the downtown."
The most significant change to the system is that people can return to the same zone after their first maximum purchase has expired.
"We know people are coming to the downtown for a variety of reasons," says Malcolm. "For example, you might want to come for coffee in the morning and still come back to the same zone later in the day to shop or go to an appointment. By allowing the second purchase, we can provide more flexibility for these situations."
To address the concerns of limited long-term parking, 34 zone 3 spots have been converted to 10 hour spots. This includes 11 stalls on 2 Ave S between 7 and 8 St S, 14 stalls on 5 Ave S between 5 and 6 St S and 9 stalls on 5 Ave S between 7 and 8 St S. The City remains committed to only providing 10 hour parking in locations that don't have store front businesses.
In the coming weeks, additional zone signage will also be installed mid-block to help drivers identify which zone they are parking in.
Changes have also been made to the parking app to make it more user friendly. This includes increasing the width of zones on the map so it is easier to find and select a parking location. Adjustments to the on-street kiosks includes tweaks to the size and order of the instructions to help with clarity.
Throughout the summer, Downtown BRZ ambassadors will continue to provide on-street support to help customers learn the new system.
The City's aging parking meters were replaced with modern parking kiosks in late May. The kiosks are fully powered by solar energy making them more cost effective and environmentally friendly to operate than the previous, battery operated, parking meters.
Using the technology available within the new system, the City will continue to monitor parking usage and evaluate the community needs to inform any future changes.
For more information on the new downtown parking system visit www.lethbridge.ca/downtownparking.
Andrew Malcolm, City of Lethbridge, Downtown Revitalization Manager
403-330-4235 | email@example.com