Angle parking on its way to downtown
Shift in parking alignment will create 12 more spaces, city says
Saturday, May 03, 2014 06:00 am
The city will create 12 new parking spaces with a new angle parking pilot project on Perron Street.
The project will run for one year starting in early June. The goal is to provide a solution to parking shortages in the area at a low cost.
But mostly the city is trying to help local businesses, said Mayor Nolan Crouse.
“It’s driven really by the need to make our downtown more business friendly,” he said. “If you angle park, that means you have more parking for your businesses.”
Construction of the project will take place from June 2 to June 6, with most of the work taking place in the evening to minimize traffic disruption.
The project will also reduce speed limits to 40 kilometres per hour on Perron, St. Thomas and St. Michael streets.
After the project has concluded its year-long trial, success of the new parking scheme will be evaluated based on four criteria: the reduction of collision rates, an increase in pedestrians, a reduction of speed, and feedback from the downtown community and its users.
While the project is expected to create better access to local business, opinions on the project are divided.
Jody Reekie, owner of Modern Eyes Gallery & Gift shop, said the project will likely make the downtown area safer from collisions, due to the reduced speed on Perron Street. She doesn’t expect more people to walk downtown, she said.
J Wagner, owner of Grapevine Deli, said the biggest concern was parking in the downtown area during major events and festivals. Twelve more stalls won’t do much during those times, she said.
She added that Perron Street was not built for angle parking and narrowing it may at first cause more collisions as people are backing out.
“With people, old habits die hard,” she said. “I think there is going to be some problems before people realize they need to slow down.”
When questioned about possible concerns, Crouse said people are always backing out of tight spaces in cities.
Unless St. Albert spends a lot of money on a parkade, there really was no easy way to solve a lot of the parking issues, he said.
He said the pilot project makes sense.
“I look forward to it,” he said. “You try to find ways to make your downtown interesting and a place to shop and visit and this is just a good way of doing it.”