New look coming for downtown parking

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    How residents pay for parking downtown will be changing in 2017 after City Council gave the go-ahead for a new and enhanced parking system. This upgrade will introduce modern parking technologies, replace aging downtown parking meters and establish consistent parking controls throughout the downtown.

    The new system will consist of 170 pay-by-plate multi-space machines. After parking in one of the over 1900 downtown parking stalls, drivers will walk to the nearest kiosks, enter their license plate and pay for their parking or they can conveniently pay through a smart phone app. Enforcement officers will monitor parking using a license plate recognition system. In addition to the multi-space machines, 60 single space smart parking meters will be added specifically designed at supporting those with accessibility needs. 

    “This project is an excellent example of how community involvement can enhance a project,” says Mayor Chris Spearman. “Because of the feedback we received we were able to modify plans and include the option to pay using a smart phone at the onset of the project. That was something that was identified as being important to users in our consultations and something that is important to the overall success of the project.”

    There are currently 1,526 metered parking stalls and approximately 396 unmetered but time restricted stalls in the downtown. All of these stalls will be included in the new system.  With an estimated cost of $2 million, the project will be funded through the previously approved Capital Improvement Program. There will be no change to the current parking meter rates.

    Through the course of the project, the City of Lethbridge has completed a technical study and several public consultations resulting in a number of options to be considered.

    “We’ve had overwhelming support for this hybrid model of multi-space machines and single space smart meters,” says City Councillor and Heart of Our City Committee representative, Ryan Parker. “We have letters of support from the business community and survey results from the public saying this is the best option to move forward with.”

    Paid parking is used in the downtown to deter all-day parking, ensuring parking turnover and the ongoing availability of spaces for shoppers and visitors. This also helps foster a vibrant downtown with increased business activity and revenue opportunities for the downtown businesses.

    For more information on this project visit www.lethbridge.ca/ItJustMakesCents.

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