From now on, one-hour time limits on downtown parking meters are no more, with council deciding in a split vote to increase them to two hours.
“Cross pollination by extending the hours of parking in the downtown is of benefit to various merchants and services downtown,” Coun. Lee Atkinson said of the motion he put forward.
Atkinson said that he’s personally experienced circumstances where he was meeting with people downtown for coffee and people had to run out to re-plug the meter because their parking had run out.
“We want to have people in the downtown core not leave it as soon as possible,” he said.
In addition to not rushing people out of downtown, Atkinson said that the number of parking tickets written might decrease, which “might make it a much more pleasant experience coming downtown.”
After some discussion, a recorded vote was taken for the motion, with Couns. Martin Ring and Ted Zurakowski and Mayor Greg Dionne voting against it.
“On the whole, I think it’s a good move, but I think we have to talk to our partners,” Zurakowski explained before voting.
Cross pollination by extending the hours of parking in the downtown is of benefit to various merchants and services downtown. - Coun. Lee Atkinson
Having received mixed information from the downtown business owners and the Prince Albert Downtown Improvement Association, Ring said that he needed clarification, as well.
Dionne shared this sentiment, wanting input from the association before he could approve the motion.
Coun. Rick Orr, whose ward includes the city’s downtown core, said that most businesses would like the two-hour limit, throwing his support behind the motion.
With a mismatch of parking meter time limits throughout downtown as a result of business owner requests of city council, Atkinson said that in enforcing no limits shy of two hours there will be greater consistency.
City finance director Joe Day told council that changing time limits on parking meters will be a relatively easy task with the new machines.