As anyone who has every jockeyed for a parking spot on Main Street during a busy workday or weekend can attest, it can be a trying experience. Tempers rise as traffic is blocked as cars negotiate their way into the rare open spot. Just as trying, is locating one of the scattered municipal spots on side roads and lots just off the main drag. Dashboards are hammered, calls to the town are made and parking violations are issues.
It’s a mess sometimes. Which is why council commissioned a study in December 2015 to help figure out what to do about it all. That report,
delivered to council recently, gave focus to key issues and also proposes some fixes. The 45-page document recognizes key areas of concern like limited parking supply, lack of online permit access, poor or insufficient signage and lack of enforcement.
Dealing mainly with the Town of Stouffville proper, it compares the town with other municipalities in key areas. It found that infractions per 1000 people were only 33 next to 339 for ultra-strict Milton, 78 for Newmarket and 88 for Aurora. So, either we’re very good at adherence or enforcement is lax. Which do you bet on?
It also offers a detailed “Customer Service Protocol” or comprehensive list of specific rules it recommends the Town follow. These add to what is already in place and include everything from how close to a driveway one can park (60 cm) a road (2 m) to how long one can park where (3 hrs most places) and what portion of a sidewalk can be blocked (less than 50%) with no parking on boulevards.
As alluded to above, Main Street is cited as a key to overall parking success as the 100 on-street spots are occupied in excess of 85% of the time on any given Friday or Saturday, servicing about 800 cars a day for over an hour and a half each on average. Main St. is also the ticketing hotspot with over 33% of town infractions occurring on the downtown section of the street – the majority near the GO station.
The south-central area is a second focus with Hoover Park, Dougherty and Joan Millway leading the ticketing way as well as areas around schools where hurried parents scrabble to drop kids off or residents try the patience of their neighbours with visiting cars blocking driveways and sidewalks
Be warned though, while some offenders may feel that enforcement is strict, Whitchurch-Stouffville’s three enforcement officers who spend only 75% of their time on parking pales next to Aurora’s five dedicated 100% to the subject at hand. So more enforcement is recommended by the study.
The report also details other needed actions like a comprehensive management program, consistent, complete and recognizable signage, better communication and marketing of capacity (wayfinding) as well as a customer service protocol to deal with complaints.
Funds for signage and wayfinding are in place now and can roll out quickly. A time frame for other key elements should happen soon – but probably not soon enough for many.
Get the full report through www.townofws.ca.