CITY OF PRINCE GEORGE DOWNTOWN PARKING STRATEGY Q & A for residents, businesses, and visitors

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | MEDIA RELEASE

September 1, 2016

 


CITY OF PRINCE GEORGE DOWNTOWN PARKING STRATEGY

Q & A for residents, businesses, and visitors

Changes to the City of Prince George’s downtown parking enforcement strategy will allow the City to deal more effectively and efficiently with parking violations within the community while improving available customer parking in Downtown Prince George. The main purpose of these changes is to encourage drivers intending to spend over three hours downtown to park in off-street parking lots to ensure there is greater access to on-street parking for patrons of downtown businesses and services. As far back as 2010, Council has had the improvement of parking as a strategy for downtown revitalization.

Is it true that I will only be allowed to park on the street for three hours during the day downtown when the new changes are implemented? Yes, if you wish to park for more than three hours per business day on the street downtown, please make use of one of the 15 off-street parking facilities, which cost 75 cents per hour and four dollars per day. Please note enforcement will ONLY be in effect from 7:00am to 5:00pm on business days.

What happens if I park downtown in the morning for a few minutes and then again in the afternoon? Am I at risk of getting a ticket? This initiative is aimed at reducing the number of chronic offenders in timed zones, not to punish casual visitors and shoppers downtown. A slight possibility exists that in the scenario above, you could be found to be in violation. However, we have a review process in place to efficiently review and adjudicate tickets that drivers wish to dispute. If you receive a ticket you feel was unwarranted, please contact the Service Centre at 250.561.7600 or servicecentre@princegeorge.ca.

When am I at risk of getting a ticket? The system is in effect Monday through Fridays (during regular business days) from 7:00am to 5:00pm. There is no charge for off-street and on-street parking stalls during all other hours and days of the week.

When does this come into effect? Once Council has approved the final reading of the bylaw (to appear before Council later this year) the proposed fine increases would come into effect the following morning. The License Plate Recognition System is tentatively scheduled for installation for the third week of September. Exact details relating to the launch date of the recognition system will be communicated once the system has been installed and staff trained.

Who will be enforcing the bylaws? The City of Prince George’s Bylaw Services Officers and Parking Control Officers will be enforcing the parking bylaws.

What do downtown businesses think of these changes? Since 2014, the City has been working with the downtown businesses to improve the enforcement of the timed zones in the downtown core. The City of Prince George conducted extensive consultation including with both the Prince George Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Improvement Association (DBIA) and both organizations are supportive of this initiative. I work downtown and need to park.

Where should I park? If for any reason, including work, you intend to park downtown for more than three hours during the day on a regular business day, please park in the off-street lots. The charge for parking in these lots is 75 cents per hour or four dollars per day. There are also privately owned lots available for rent downtown. Where will the License Plate Recognition technology be utilized? The LPR technology will only be used in the downtown area from Scotia Street to Winnipeg Street, First Avenue to 12th Avenue, including Patricia Boulevard, and in the two hour parking areas in the residential district around the hospital. Why is the City of Prince George doing this? The changes will allow the City of Prince George to deal more effectively with parking violations within the community while improving available customer parking in Downtown Prince George. So far in 2016, more than 300 license plates have received three or more parking tickets. Two of these plates have received as many as 15 tickets.

How does this encourage people to come downtown to shop and use services? This frees up parking spots for people who wish to visit the businesses and services provided downtown. This point is central to the purpose of the downtown parking strategy and the related bylaws.

How does the new license plate recognition technology work? VenTek International has been hired to provide the required equipment and technology to effectively implement the project, comprised of four parts: 1. The Mobile License Plate Recognition (MLPR) equipment and software will allow for enforcement routes to be completed faster and more frequently. The equipment has the capacity to check every vehicle for compliance while recognizing several types of permits at once and reducing human error. 2. A new online permitting system will reduce our off-street parking administration time and costs and allow customers to search for and acquire permits on the City’s website 24 hours a day. 3. Nine pay-stations will replace the current pay-stations in City lots and will give customers the new option of paying with coins or credit cards. The locations of these stations/kiosks will be announced along with the deployment of the new equipment. 4. TicketManager™ is a new enforcement tool that allows enforcement officers to view real time vehicle data in the palm of their hands. Payment status and vehicle history collected from other integrated parking systems, including our MLPR and Pay by Plate pay stations, will be provided so officers can create accurate citations.

How much does it cost to park in an off-street lot? For daily parking, it costs four dollars per day, or 75 cents per hour to park in one of the City‘s 15 offstreet parking facilities. If you wish to pay by the month, rates range in price from approximately $55 to $140 per month. There are also privately-owned downtown lots available.

How much will the fines cost if I violate the bylaw? Most fines for violators will be $50, which is an increase from the current $25 fine for a first infraction. The $50 fine is also consistent with fine amounts in our Off-Street Parking Bylaw. Fines related to violating the timed zones will escalate after two offences. Fines for more serious safety issues like obstructing a fire hydrant or crosswalk will increase to $75, and violations for parking in a disabled parking stall will increase to $100.

What if my license plate is covered by dirt or snow? Will I be fined? No, you will not be fined simply because your license plate is covered up by dirt or snow, but please note that it is your responsibility to keep your car license plate clear and uncovered. However, City staff will assist by wiping off unreadable license plates to ensure the License Plate Recognition Software can work properly.

How many off-street parking lots and parkades are in downtown Prince George? The City of Prince George provides 15 off-street parking facilities in downtown Prince George. A new and updated map of downtown off-street lots will be published in the near future. The City operates nearly 2000 off-street parking spaces in the downtown area.

Will any City workers be laid off due to the implementation of this technology? There are no plans to lay off any City workers because of the changes to these bylaws and the implementation of the LPR technology.

Media contact: Michael Kellett Senior Communications Officer City of Prince George o: 250.614.7882 | c: 250.613.9087