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Council considers more free parking

Advantages include the potential to increase the number of shoppers downtown after work and removing the ill will and complaints generated by issuing parking tickets to vehicles parked in nearly empty lots.
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2018 parking officer waterfront north bay turl
We could see fewer parking tickets issued in late afternoons. Jeff Turl/BayToday.

Motorists may see more hours available to park without feeding the meter.

As part of the 2020 budget deliberations, the Downtown Improvement Area has approved a motion that would support the end of paid parking in the City at 4:30 p.m.

Currently, paid parking is between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday (except holidays).

Saturday and Sunday parking is free of charge.

The impact of ending paid parking earlier has been studied, which showed that there is ample parking inventory after 4:30 and there is little risk that available inventory will fall below acceptable levels.

"Parking inventory on-street is seen as the greatest risk and will have to be closely monitored to ensure appropriate availability," says the report.

The Parking Department examined parking transactions over the previous year and estimates a reduction in hourly parking revenue of $35,492.

Ticket revenue will also be reduced by $35,000 as no paid parking tickets will be issued after 4:30pm.

The report says advantages include the potential to increase the number of shoppers downtown after work and removing the ill will and complaints generated by issuing parking tickets to vehicles parked in nearly empty lots.

It's also expected to allow more enforcement of accessible parking and various infractions in other parts of the City.

There is a chance on-street parking may be more scarce but the risk will be minimized by closely monitoring parking inventory through additional in-house parking inventory surveys.

"Should the surveys indicate that parking inventory has fallen below 182, the target minimum, steps will need to be taken to correct the issue which would include revisiting the time of day paid parking ends on-street."

There is potential for increased complaints of accessible parking abuse downtown after 4:30 p.m associated with the reduction in bylaw foot patrols.

There is also a proposal to eliminate overnight parking fees in the covered levels of the parking garage on McIntyre.

Currently, people can park overnight in the parking garage during winter months at a cost of $5 per night or can buy a three-month permit for $347.78

"Overnight winter parking is a major challenge in Northern Ontario as overnight is when snow plowing and snow removal activities occur," says a staff report. "There are significant costs associated with the logistics of plowing and removing snow around parked vehicles as the work requires two passes separated by a day to complete. The covered levels of Lot 4 of the Parking Garage offer the City of North Bay a unique opportunity to provide our citizens overnight winter parking with minimal increase in costs."

The City brought in approximately $3,000 for overnight parking in Lot 4 over the previous 12 months.

The proposal states the move may attract investment in higher-end residential units in the DIA as it could alleviate perceived expensive parking on top of rent for DIA residents.

However, users will need to be out by 8 a.m. if a day pass has not been purchased.

"This could result in more parking tickets causing ill will from the patrons," concludes the report.




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Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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