St. John’s woman struggles with downtown residential parking

Barb
Barb Sweet
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Sherry Gaulton says people are abusing visitors permits in the downtown residential parking area and loaning them to friends or relatives who work downtown. She suspects some people may be renting them out.
— Photo by Barb Sweet/The Telegram

Sherry Gaulton has pondered selling her downtown house because she suspects visitors’ parking permits in her area are being abused, leaving her circling the neighbourhood often for a spot.

Gaulton, who lives near major office towers around the Delta Hotel, has been calling the city since last November and said she’s been told by officials it takes time to look into the complaint.

The downtown area is divided into several residential parking zones. For an initial $12 fee and proof of residence, people in the areas can obtain a parking permit. (The fee is reduced to $6 in subsequent  years). Each eligible household can also obtain a visitor’s permit, the intent of which is for temporary use by someone dropping by their home.

But Gaulton suspects some people give their visitors’ permits to relatives or friends who work downtown so they can park their cars, or even rent them out to strangers who work in the parking-space challenged downtown.

She has lived in the area for a decade and said the problem has gotten much worse.

“These people shouldn’t be allowed visitors’ permits,” she said of anyone who abuses them.

Besides those permits, parking in the residential area is compounded by the number of vehicles per house, and taxis often use the street as a layby while waiting for downtown customers, she said.  And she prefers to stay home hockey and concert nights because it’s impossible to park if she goes out.

Gaulton suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and hauling groceries from two or three streets away when she can’t get a spot near her door is tough.

“I don’t know what to be doing,” she said.

“I’m pretty done with it.”

Gaulton was so fed up trying to get the city to deal with the problem, she called her MHA, St. John’s South Independent Tom Osborne.

Osborne said he’s received another similar complaint and has reached out to the city, but has not gotten an answer yet.

He said the visitors’ permits are numbered and the city should be tracking them. He said if residents are concerned and noticing motorists placing visitors’ permits in their car and going off to work, they should take note of the numbers and pass it on to the city.

Osborne said with the municipal election coming up, he’d like to get a commitment from candidates to address the problem.

“There must be a way for the city to police onstreet parking so permits are not abused,” he said.

Ward 2 Coun. Frank Galgay, who isn’t running again, said he’s only gotten a handful of complaints over his time on council and he can only recall one incident where there was abuse — that a non-resident was found to be using a visitor’s permit to park while at work downtown. The permit holder is first given a warning and if the problem continues, the privilege is revoked.

Galgay said when there is a complaint, the permit is monitored for five days. Often this reveals a valid reason for the extended use of  a visitor’s permit, such as someone looking after a sick relative, he said.

According to Galgay, the city receives six to 12 complaints about downtown residential parking a year and each is pursued.

“We take this very, very seriously,” he said.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Delta Hotel

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Recent comments

  • An Eastender
    August 19, 2013 - 07:17

    Yes FOGNL people now know about the parking problems downtown,but there are a lot of home owners that have bought 25-30 years ago,have you seen all the business gone up in the downtown area on the last few years of course they need parking.In that area take the Mile One it's not there much more then 15 years.On Prescott St alone where my family live there is a B And B,A Hostal,A brewery,and also another Yoga/Paint Studio.and none of these business needed parking when they submitted their applications but they all hold permits,the B and B,and the Hostal alone hold 3 visitors permits that's 6 and there is only enough parking there for 5-6 cars as it is.you dont see anything wrong here.my family are on he corner of Bond and Presott have been for 45 years,never had a car then.

  • Dee
    August 18, 2013 - 16:29

    @Sherry you know there is an application at the City Hall that you can fill out to have a permit parking sighs erected in from of you home,as long as you have a disability permit,they are all over downtown.Could be a solution.:)

  • fogNL
    August 17, 2013 - 13:58

    I hate to sound insensitive, however, you knew what you were getting into when you decided to buy a house downtown. I recently purchased a house, and while looking at houses downtown, if they had on-street parking, I would move along because I didn't want the headache of it. You have a choice, and if you make that choice, you can't complain when you can't find parking.

  • An eastender
    August 17, 2013 - 10:04

    I lived in downtown all my life up until 10 years ago parking is a big problem not for the life of me would I even want o live there anymore.But my mother still live down there and the same thing we cannot visit her because of no parking.A lot of the problems council created.Do you know Sherry that all these lil B and B,s hold 3 visitors permit each,if I'm not mistaken when we got the notice from the city to allow these businesses that they didn't need parking.Now you have big business vans picking up people to go whale watching which takes two parking spaces while they are inside having tea,ask the residents if that's the truth.all these homes that used to be sinle family homes are now three and four apartments.And each apartment hold visitor and a resident permit which like a single family home there should only be one one per address,all I can say is I'm glad I'm out of downtown,good luck with council,Tom is a good guy he will be the only one to help.Another thing have you tried, if you have a disability did you request a disability parking in front of you house.

  • TJ
    August 17, 2013 - 07:26

    I call BS the city doesn't do anything only sit around and rake in money. Their idea of an investigation is answer your call and say" we'll look into it".... its the same at any level of government!

  • Joe
    August 17, 2013 - 07:18

    I had a great apartment downtown but just couldn't enjoy it, all because of the stress of parking. Coming home from a long day at work only to find some jerk parked in such a way that he's taking up room for two cars, is more than a body can handle. It was easy to find another apartment but I certainly feel for anyone who owns a house and is in this predicament.