The city is expanding short-term parking spaces downtown to two-hours, replacing outdated signage in Terrace this week.
In addition, all streets outside of the two-hour parking zone will allow for all-day unrestricted on-street parking in the downtown area, notwithstanding regular winter restrictions for snow removal.
“If you want to make a stop and stay for four or five hours, you can park along one of those streets and you won’t be dealing with enforcement,” Block said.
Currently, the City has a total of 5,000 parking spaces available downtown. Forty per cent of the 1,000 on-street parking spaces are limited to one hour or less.
The change grew out of recommendations made by city consultant MMM Group (now WSP), which advised the City to increase the time limits on short-term parking to two hours, increase parking enforcement for hot-spot areas downtown, or spaces with high turnover rates, and implement a sign maintenance policy.
The old signage has caused some confusion for drivers in the past, according to David Block, director of development services.
“We have some streets that show a one-hour time limit on one side, with no signage on the [other] side,” said Block during a council committee of the whole meeting on Thursday.
“Signs have gone missing over the years and haven’t been replaced or maintained, so there’s a bit of confusion throughout the downtown and it’s not really clear.”
Removal and replacement of signage will require $15,000 of the $65,000 budgeted for the downtown parking plan, according to Block. The new rules will affect the downtown portions of Park Avenue, Lazelle Avenue, Lakelse Avenue, Greig Avenue, Sparks Street, Emerson Street, and Kalum Street.
Most 15-minute parking-limit signs will also be taken down with the exception of those in front of five services like the post office, Happy Gang Centre, movie theatre and hotels.
Vibrant, commercial districts typically see about 85 per cent turnover for on-street parking spaces, according to Block. Right now Terrace is seeing 30 per cent occupancy during weekdays, and 20 per cent occupancy on the weekends.
“The turnover is key for our businesses to see a lot of traffic coming in and not see staff parking for eight hours,” Block said.
The City does see some hot-spots pop up over lunch hours, where during peak times there is a demand that nears the desired threshold. According to data provided by the city, 85 per cent of Terrace residents drive to work.
Terrace public works will start removing the old signage in mid-April with a completion date expected in May. Crews will install the new signs on a block-by-block basis.