Several common themes emerged when the company contracted to do a city downtown parking study met first with council and then with other interested parties Nov. 24.
Councillors and others both told the MMM Group a priority was the 4600 block of Lakelse with the challenge to mark out spots for seniors, expectant mothers and parents with young children.
Walmart’s parking lot was used as a template in regards to marking out specific spots for the above examples.
The addition of more bike racks was also considered favourable as it adds to the options for people coming to the downtown core.
The study was commissioned by the city to better address current parking problems and to ready it to provide more parking based on anticipated commercial core growth.
Some in attendance noted that parking expectations have to change, saying that most drivers now feel they have to park as close to their destinations as possible instead of walking a short distance.
Some drivers now have to park farther away anyway because employees want to park as close to their places of work as possible.
One suggestion to increase parking was to institute angle parking on Kalum St.
Others commented that snow should be cleared faster on the 4600 Block to avoid slushy intersection crossings for pedestrians and do away with snow accumulations making it difficult for people to open their doors once parked.
Merchant Bruno Belanger noted that the lack of RV and larger vehicle parking within the downtown core can mean that tourists will go elsewhere.
Some customers have told store managers they can’t get all of their errands done within the one-hour parking limit and are suggesting longer parking limits.
There were differing opinions at the meeting of interested parties over whether parking should continue to be free or whether it should be paid.
Some noted that not all drivers follow ‘no parking’ sign notifications and that lack of enforcement of parking regulations is an issue.
While Lakelse Ave. west of its intersection with Emerson is four lanes, some said because the lanes are narrow those parking along Lakelse fear having their doors ripped off when exiting their vehicles. The city continues to gather comments from an online survey and the MMM Group returns in February for another round of opinion gathering.