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Angle parking stirs debate

Downtown parking project now one month old

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 06:00 am

WHAT'S YOUR ANGLE? – The new angle parking scheme downtown is generating a range of opinions both positive and negative.
WHAT'S YOUR ANGLE? – The new angle parking scheme downtown is generating a range of opinions both positive and negative.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

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What do you think of angle parking on Perron Street?

Facebook responses

Anne Witschen Totally unsafe. First priority is pedestrian safety – very hard to see the sidewalks where the crosswalks start. Second, traffic is one lane so now is plugged up. Try backing out when the road is plugged for two blocks. Three: Very hard to see when backing out. Four: What a waste of money for repainting the lines and the new signs! I am a definite no!

Darren Brost
I can understand the need for parking, and bringing in more revenue to our downtown core, however traffic issues have become unsafe when turning from a few parking lots in the area, you can't see oncoming traffic until you have cut someone off. It’s just a matter of time before something happens.

Wade Baird
This angle parking seemed like a good idea at the time but is now causing bottlenecks, loss of visibility of pedestrians trying to cross the street, not to mention the people trying to back out of these stalls right into oncoming traffic. It is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

Gordon Anderson Reversing out takes a little extra care, but other than that, I certainly don't see a problem.

William Shazaam Great idea, not for this location as for space. At some point a collision with an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian can occur. It feels like you're driving in a tin can, lots of congestion and traffic flow.

Amanda Knippshild It's awesome! So much more parking and with the angle even larger vehicles have lots of room.

Leanne Seymour
I don't even live in St. Albert and I think it was a bad move. Morinville had it for years and they changed it to parallel parking. Downtown St. Albert isn't big enough for that.

Steven G. Meredith It's more "human" and definitely more western style. Helps parking a lot but does nothing for traffic flow. Hard to back out if there's a big truck beside you. Those two spots in front of Ric’s should be converted to two parallel spots to make right turns easier. Overall I think it's a wash but it makes "downtown" look and feel more downtown.

Jill Edgelow
It's great.

Zack Andriuk
The flow of traffic was tight before at peak times. It's ridiculous to negotiate Perron on farmers' market days now.

Vanessa Kushniruk
I love it!

A month into its trial phase, angle parking in the downtown is receiving mixed reviews.

Store owners in the city’s Perron District say their customers are happier because they now have more parking spaces to choose from.

But many people are also cautious about backing out into the traffic, they say.

“I heard more good than bad,” said Gisele Sinclair, co-owner of the Candy Bouquet. “There are a few people that don’t like backing up into traffic. But it helps that they decreased the speed limit.”

She added that the new defined parking spots help people park their cars in a more organized way instead of “parallel parking randomly.”

Parking for her staff has not become easier though.

The Candy Bouquet has two assigned parking spots in the back of the store. But that’s not always enough for all of their employees, she said.

In the long run, construction of a parkade would solve downtown parking issues best, she said.

“That’s the only way you will get around the density issue,” she said.

Pilot project

The city created angle parking in the downtown in early June as part of a pilot project. The project, which will run for a year, has the goal of providing a solution to parking shortages in the area at a low cost.

It has since created 29 new parking stalls.

Traffic speed was also reduced to 40 kilometres per hour on Perron, St. Thomas and St. Michael streets.

Once the project has concluded its year-long trial, its success 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.

Nancy Metcalfe of the St. Albert Optometrists Clinic has found it easier to find a parking space for her own vehicle now that there are more customer parking spots on the street.

She has had patients complain that they won’t park on the street because they don’t like backing out. But reducing the speed limit has made parking and driving on Perron Street easier, she said.

“It slowed traffic down for sure,” she said.

The changes make the downtown more crowded to get through, agreed Dominique Simard, an employee with the Crimson Quill gift store.

But she has not seen or heard of any crashes and people have become more courteous since angle parking was introduced, she said.

“People seem to take it easy,” she said.

Nicer look

Her mother Mimi Simard, who was shopping downtown on Monday, agreed that backing out can be a bit of a gamble when you can’t see past the car parked beside you.

But being able to park in more spots, she now takes the time to go shopping and look around more often, she said.

“It looks more organized,” she said. “I get why they did it.”

Ryan Harnell of Edmonton was also visiting St. Albert on Monday. He said he too feels more intrigued to wander and look around.

“I like the character (of the downtown). It’s definitely classier,” he said. “With the way it looks, it’s more of a small-town feel. I want to come back and walk around.”


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