The city has decided how it will deal with the frustrating parking situation on Pier Street.
Council debated the issue last month, with some saying the two-hour time limit along the west side of Pier Street should be brought into line with the rest of Shoppers Row and the east side of the street, which is currently set at one hour. In the end, it was decided to get a report from staff outlining the options after consulting with the businesses that will be affected by any possible changes. That report came back, and council decided that they would, indeed, change the parking along the west side of Pier Street to 0ne-hour parking from its current two-hour limit. The city will also be reviewing their enforcement practices, including analyzing the costs of increasing the frequency of patrols.
As late as this week’s public meeting, council had been receiving letters and calls from the public – some in favour of changing the time limit of on-street parking to one hour and others saying even the two-hour limit currently in place isn’t long enough.
Murray Whelan of Tyee Marine wrote to council to say that he has “often heard from customers that they would shop in this area more if there were ever any parking spots available.”
Whelan also says that some of the parking woes being experienced are due to the businesses themselves.
“Although there is parking available at the Discovery Pier,” Whelan wrote in a letter to council, “it can often be observed that business vehicles from this same area are parking, often at length, in front of other businesses. These inconsiderate parkers then do the two hour shuffle, moving their vehicles in rotation to avoid parking tickets,” which he says “results in a shortage of available spots for customers of Pier St. businesses.”
He, and others, felt the prospective change from two-hour to one-hour would help deter this practice and is encouraging council to make that change.
Many others, however, felt shortening the allowable time that people can park on the street would be more of a deterrent than even the current lack-of-space issue.
“How does the city think they will be able to keep businesses on that street and the farmer’s market when you consider changing the already ridiculous two hour parking to one hour?” wrote Tanja Shields in a letter to council, pointing to a recent dentist appointment that ran long, resulting in “a nice parking ticket on my car window.”
“A while back I had trouble finding a parking spot suitable enough to let my 88-year-old mother out of the car, help her into the doctor’s office, run back, park somewhere else, go get my mother from her appointment, have her stand with her walker along the road until I could find a spot close enough to pick her up again,” Shields wrote. “Two hour parking is simply not working for a lot of people. It is not long enough.”
And that seemed to be the prevailing theme from the public, as well, based on the commentary on the Mirror’s initial story about council deciding to look at the problem.
Lynda Phillips commented on the initial Mirror article, saying she would be more willing to spend more time down in the area if she could park for longer periods of time without getting ticketed.
The comment thread on the Mirror’s Facebook post about the issue was overwhelmingly in agreement.
“Between Mom’s book store, Pier Street Trading Post, Ridgerider, Pier Street Gallery and Secrets of Asia, two hours slips by very fast,” said Dawn McMillan.
Both Sherri Collingwood and Kathy Walden Young agreed, saying that one hour is not nearly enough time to browse or do any real shopping, let alone have a hair or massage appointment.
“Keep it two hours otherwise you will just keep more folks away from that area,” Young said.
Some of the businesses in the area were also opposed to the prospective change. Dr. Andy Wong wrote to council saying “to change the current parking situation would change the environment that these businesses had when they located here, potentially with serious consequences. Our business currently requires client appointment times of, routinely, between one to two hours. Changing to one hour parking would be disastrous.”
No word yet on when one-hour limit will officially be in place, but city staff have been directed to begin changing the signs.