Tuesday, December 17, 2019

What's the hardest thing to find in Prince Rupert this holiday season?

The quest for parking spots at Rupert Square is heating up as the
Christmas shopping deadline gets closer

For some, the biggest challenge to be found these days is a parking spot, whether at the Rupert Square, or along the seemingly always congested Third Avenue West downtown core.

As the last minute Christmas shopping begins to take hold, more and more often finding a parking spot requires a bit of patience, some eagle eyes and fast reflexes when the spots open up.

Parking can make for a topic that can make blood boil as you circle and circle and circle, waiting for your spot.

It's not a surprise that the major shopping destinations of Rupert Square or the two grocery stores may be crowded at this time of the year, but a regular reader to the blog tipped us to an ongoing situation along Third Avenue West, which is a concern for those looking for parking for the remaining eleven months outside of the Christmas season.

Third Avenue West is frequently an area where it's hard to find
a parking spot during business hours in the daytime

The most congested area and the place you're most likely to be the most frustrated is in the vicinity of the Ocean Centre Mall, where it appears that workers in that complex are taking part in a Prince Rupert parking shell game; using up hour after hour of time and available space on the street, rather than parking in the facility's own parking garage.

With a two hour time limit surrounding much of the area, those working downtown can pretty well park all day on the street, simply by moving their vehicles just a few inches, enough to move the parking control mark off their tires by a revolution or two, with the cycle repeating through the day.

For those with just a short visit required for the downtown area, it means a few go rounds of circling the block (not an easy thing to do in that stretch owing to one ways and no left turns) or just parking far enough away to require a bit of a hike to the destination of choice.

Something not bad for those looking to get in shape, or those who already are, but a bit more of a challenge for Seniors with limited mobility.

The theme of parking was one of a number of areas explored by the City's downtown revitalization study, the results of which were released in June, which noted that 78 percent of Prince Rupert residents make their way downtown by car.

It was a 50/50 split when it comes to whether it is difficult to find a parking spot, with the majority or respondents noting that they consider no more than a three block walk as acceptable.

Parking downtown has made for some frequent conversations at City Council. Though seemingly with few results, or solutions coming forward for the downtown area; that as opposed to Rushbrook  Floats and George Hills Way which have seen the City put in place pay parking making use of kiosks in two locations.

There are some downtown examples to be found in other communities, where metered parking helps to keep the space availability rotating, with one of the best examples found in the provincial capital, where the City of Victoria uses parking kiosks and numbered parking spots throughout its downtown area.

The app friendly solution offers a chance for users to top up their parking spot by their phone if required, but does serve to ensure that there is some turnover to be found for available spots.

It could be a solution that the City of Prince Rupert could modify on, perhaps not charging quite the rate for parking as the larger cities. But at least charge enough to try to keep the cars in motion, as well as to deliver a bit of revenue from those who wish to take up space on a day long basis.

Some of the themes of parking explored by Council in recent times can be reviewed below

July 2019 -- Parking concerns make for conversation topics at Monday's Council session
June 2019 -- New signs, New kiosks for Parking at Rushbrook Floats area and along George Hills Way
May 2019 -- Council hears call for consistent parking enforcement from Councillor Cunningham
April 2019 -- Councillor calls for Bylaw Enforcement to put the "Boot" to parking scofflaws at Rushbrook Floats
April 2019 -- Burgers, Fries and a side dish of confusion ...

For more items of note from Prince Rupert City Council see our archive page.

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