Stratford considers 150% hike in hourly parking rate



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Parking rates in Stratford may be on the rise. (SCOTT WISHART, The Beacon Herald files)



Credit: Mike Beitz – Staff Reporter

The days of dirt-cheap downtown parking, and free parking at the Cooper site, may be numbered.

After a wide-ranging discussion of a comprehensive city parking report Wednesday, Stratford’s protection to persons and property subcommittee eventually approved a motion to hike rates in the downtown core to $1 per hour from the current $0.40.

“That’s still really cheap,” said Coun. Bonnie Henderson as she pushed for the higher rate. “Each year we put up garbage tags, and you hate to do that, but it costs money to run the city.”

The $1-per-hour rate is “reasonable,” she added, and may help the city recoup some of the costs associated with providing and maintaining its parking resources.

Coun. George Brown agreed, taking it one step further to recommend converting the Cooper lot to paid parking.

There are currently 262 free spaces at that lot just outside of the core.

“I think the days of free parking are over, when we’re going into debt,” he said. “It’s either the citizens of the city pay … or it’s user pay, and we’ve got to make that decision. People that are parking their vehicles have got to pay for the cost of parking.”

Brown suggested that downtown merchants could be encouraged to use the upper portion of the Cooper lot, nearest the building, for a modest fee of around $5 a week. Passes could be issued and a gate installed.

That would free up more spaces in the core for shoppers, he noted.

At the lower portion of the Cooper lot, a pay-and-display system could be established, with reasonable rates of $0.50 an hour, added Brown.

He acknowledged that any changes to parking at the Cooper lot will likely have to wait until a master development plan for the site is completed, and that may not happen until next year.

“But it’s time that we start moving,” he said.

The subcommittee approved a recommendation to refer the issue of paid parking at the Cooper lot for to staff to investigate, and prepare a report.

That, and the recommendation to hike parking rates in the core to $1 per hour, must still be approved by city council.


Source: Mike Beitz at the Stratford Beacon Herald

mike.beitz@sunmedia.ca

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