Parking habits in downtown Trail have historically prompted complaints to city hall.
But the reality is, it’s not shoppers or visitors causing ongoing parking jams in storefronts – it’s the people who work in the downtown business district.
Beginning this month, the city is cracking down on offenders.
In an effort to curb grievances about employees exceeding time limits on metered parking stalls, city council has issued a reminder and warning to downtown businesses that parking is limited to two or four hours depending upon location.
“Correspondence has recently been received from a number of downtown businesses expressing concern with respect to downtown employees who routinely park in the metered stalls beyond the two-hour time limits,” Mayor Mike Martin told the Trail Times.
“And a number of downtown businesses are requesting an increase in enforcement.”
Martin says there is a consistent problem with vehicles parking in high usage areas of the downtown and exceeding the parking limits in place.
To ensure parking remains available for customers and clients of respective businesses and service providers, the city is reminding drivers that repeatedly plugging the meter is not permitted.
For anyone needing to park longer than the two-or-four-hour limits, council advises that the Trail Memorial Centre parking lot is available for all-day parking at a cost of $0.25 per hour.
Additionally, employers have been asked to encourage their employees to park in the city’s longer term lots so that metered stalls remain available for shoppers and guests to downtown Trail.
And this month, the city is upping enforcement in the limited time parking zones.
The fine for an expired parking meter, the type of ticket most frequently issued, remains $5.
The fine for over-parking (repeatedly plugging the meter) in the metered time zones is $10, increasing to $15 and then $20 if not paid promptly.
“This has been in place for many years,” Martin clarified.
“The public notice was issued to inform and remind people of the time limits at the metered stalls in advance of increasing enforcement of said violation.”
Council is hoping the strategy will soon put a stop to problem, because when re-development of the Esplanade lots begins this fall, there will be fewer all-day places to park.
“The city’s inventory of monthly paid parking stalls will be reduced by approximately 40 to 50 spots,” Martin confirmed.
“We are retaining the southerly portion of the Spokane Street parking lot and are considering options to maximize the parking to be made available there,” he said.
“Also, we are reviewing opportunities to increase parking in the Groutage Avenue area (by the base of the pedestrian bridge) and further along Riverside Avenue, as well as re-configuring some of the metered on-street parking from parallel to angled stalls to increase capacity.”
Once the library relocates to the south end of downtown, the city expects there to be a shift in parking demand and some excess capacity created in the Trail Memorial Centre parking lot, which is well suited to all-day use and is only $2 per day, Martin emphasized.
“As we continue to work on the revitalization plans for downtown Trail we are hoping for the understanding and cooperation of residents and downtown business owners/employees to help us work through a difficult period,” he concluded.
“Council is very much aware of the parking limitations and will continue to consider options to enhance the accessibility of our downtown area.”