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On Monday city staff began installing the new timed free parking zones downtown with signage indicating time limits on parking.
The move is a temporary one by city council in order to promote turnover in available parking spaces to encourage downtown shopping.
At the Monday evening council meeting, Coun. Debbie Hanlon said December is “so critical and crucial” for downtown businesses and the timed free parking was implemented at the request of businesses.
Mayor Danny Breen said the city needs to “help the best we can” because “it is tough right now in this economy” for businesses.
As previously explained by council, the former metered spaces will allow drivers to park for free for either two or four hours.
However, since the initiative was announced last month, Hanlon said, residents had questions about several aspects of the plan. She addressed these questions during the roundtable.
Many people wondered how parking enforcement staff will monitor whether motorists park longer than the allotted two or four hours.
Hanlon said enforcement staff will use “a variety of methods,” including but not limited to photographs, notes and markings.
Meter heads will be removed from all areas that have the new signage.
While parking at an expired meter warrants a fine of $30, parking longer than the allotted time limits in the new timed free parking zones will result in a $50 fine.
In areas where no signs are posted but broken meters remain, the city will not ticket motorists.
Hanlon said people must look for the new signs when they park in areas where meters have been removed to ensure they’re aware of the time limit on their parking space.
Signs have already been installed at the parking lot near Rawlins Cross, where the time limit is decreasing from four hours to two. Also going from four hours to two are parking spaces on Freshwater Road near Leo’s and Ches’s, Harvey Road across from the Tim Hortons and Paramount Building, and from Prescott Street to Gill’s Cove on Water Street.
Four-hour parking zones can be found at Cathedral Street, Cavendish Square, Church Hill, Duckworth Street (east of Cavendish Square), George Street (Springdale Street to Waldegrave Street), Lemarchant Road (Pleasant Street to Lime Street) and New Gower Street (west of Springdale Street).
The city says the timed zones are a temporary solution to encourage parking turnover until 2019, when it plans to purchase new meters and technology to replace damaged or missing meters as part of its five-year parking management strategy.