The long-standing policy of free three-hour parking in Duncan’s downtown core will be reduced to 90 minutes on a number of streets as part of a pilot program the city is initiating this summer, council decided on May 21.
Station Street, Kenneth Street, and Craig Street will be included in the 90-minute parking program as part of the city’s efforts to increase traffic turnover downtown to have more spaces available for drivers that only need to stop downtown for lunch or a short number of errands.
There will be no change to the existing 15-minute parking spaces downtown, accessible spaces, or to the three-hour parking in the Canada Avenue and Kenneth Street parking lots.
The city intends to conduct a public information campaign prior to implementation of the pilot program, which is expected to begin in late June or early July, and staff is expected to report its findings and conclusions about the program to the city’s parking advisory committee at the end of the summer.
The pilot program is intended to encourage those who repeatedly break downtown’s parking rules to seek a long-term solution for their vehicles if they intend to come and go from the downtown and surrounding area, rather than simply moving them from one free parking space to another throughout the day.
Parking fines will also be increased, with the amounts to be announced, and there will now be escalating fines for frequent parking offenders.
The increase in parking fines is meant to be permanent and is not part of the pilot project.
Currently, the ticket for parking longer than the posted time in downtown Duncan is $25, which is reduced to $20 if paid early and increased to $31.25 if paid late.
In 2018, there were 162 tickets issued for overstaying in the three-hour parking spaces, of which 28 were cancelled.
A staff report indicated that there are between 20 and 30 people who repeatedly disregard the three-hour parking regulations in the downtown core.
Tom Duncan, chairman of the city’s parking advisory committee, said at Tuesday’s meeting that those who continue to ignore the parking rules will receive increasingly higher fines.
“If they continue, they better have deep pockets,” he said.
Paige MacWilliam, Duncan’s director of corporate services, said now that council has indicated it supports escalating fines for parking infractions downtown, staff will look into what appropriate fine amounts might be and will bring forward recommendations for council’s consideration at an upcoming meeting.
MacWilliam also said the city’s public works department will change the signage along Station, Kenneth and Craig streets announcing that parking will be limited to 90 minutes as soon as possible.
“A report on the results of this trial program will be brought back to the parking advisory committee at the end of summer,” MacWilliam said.
“At which time, the committee may recommend to council that the 90-minute parking on these streets remain in effect or that the signage be changed back to three-hour parking. Council will then have the opportunity to review the committee’s recommendation and make a decision on whether or not to continue the 90-minute parking along these streets.”