Parking Management Pilot Project: Q&A

1. Why is the City making changes to parking downtown?

There is currently a need to implement modernized parking management solutions at the periphery of the downtown in order to:

  • increase flexibility of use of parking by area residents;
  • create additional parking options for people working in and visiting the downtown; and,
  • enable more efficient parking enforcement. 

The Parking Master Plan recommends that the City “Explore Commuter Parking Zones to build some additional short-term capacity and allow time to plan for a future parking structure”.   

Prior to Covid-19, the City’s off-street parking facilities had reached or were nearing capacity, and all garages and surface lots had wait lists for long-term monthly parking.  As well, some Town Plat area residents have expressed a desire for greater flexibility in the use of on-street parking during weekday hours.

The changes are intended to provide more flexibility in terms of how residents can utilize on-street parking adjacent to their home and allows for the introduction of some all-day commuter parking where there is demand for such.

2. What is changing?

As part of the first phase of the parking pilot, changes are being introduced to 2 areas of the downtown (see map)

Parking restrictions on George Street and Charlotte Street (Smythe to University) are changing as follows:

  • The existing free 2hr maximum parking limits on Monday to Friday 8:00AM-5:00PM are being removed and replaced with a time restriction of No Parking Monday to Friday between 10:00AM to 11:00AM; and 1:30PM to 2:30PM, except with a permit. Parking will be allowed at no charge outside of those restricted times.
    • The existing 4-hr maximum parking meters on George Street from Westmorland Street to St. John Street are being removed and those areas will be part of the permit pilot.
    • The overnight parking restriction is still in effect.
    • Overall, the area has been broken down into 3 separate parking permit zones close to the downtown core as indicated on the map.
    • 2hr free maximum parking will remain adjacent to where the Lincoln Trail crosses George Street and Charlotte Street, where indicated by signage, to continue to provide recreational trail access.
    • These parking locations are identified as zones A, B, and C on the map.
  • New parking restrictions are being introduced on Beaverbrook Street between McLeod and University Avenues, and on Church Street east of Queen’s Sq. Park.
    • Where indicated by signage, parking will be allowed at no charge throughout the day, except during timed restrictions of No Parking Monday to Friday between 10:00AM to 11:00AM; and 1:30PM to 2:30PM, except with a permit.
    • The overnight parking restriction is still in effect.
    • These parking locations are identified as the zone Q on the map.

3. Are other 2-hour free parking zones changing at this time?

No, as part of this pilot project the only 2-hour parking areas that are being modified are those which will be identified as permit zones, as indicated on the map. Annual resident and daily permits are not available outside the pilot parking permit zones. Following the completion of the pilot and feedback from the public, parking permit zones may be expanded in the future.

4. What types of permits are available?

There are two types of permits available:  

  1. Annual Resident Parking Permits; and,
  2. Daily Parking Permits.

4.1 What are Annual Resident Parking Permits?

  • Allow a resident to park on-street in a permit zone during the time restricted No Parking hours of 10:00AM to 11:00AM and 1:30PM to 2:30PM.
  • Are provided in a virtual, or digital, format only – no hangtag or sticker is required or available.
  • Are issued to a single vehicle license plate.
  • Are valid only in the zone for which they are issued.
  • Are assigned to a specific Permit Zone associated with the resident’s place of residence.
  • Are valid for one (1) year from the date of issue (It is the responsibility of the annual resident permit holder to know when their permit expires and is due for renewal if they wish to continue usage).
  • Shall immediately void if a permit holder changes their place of residence.
  • The license plate entered for an annual Resident Parking Permit can only be changed by attending City Hall with a new proof of vehicle registration.
  • Shall be available for the following vehicles only:
    • Private passenger vehicles other than recreational vehicles;
    • Motorcycles; and
    • Trucks with less than one ton capacity.

4.2 Who is eligible for an annual resident permit?

All residents living within the highlighted parking permit zones are eligible to purchase an Annual Resident Parking Permit in the zone for which the permit applies.

4.3 How can I purchase an Annual Resident Parking Permit, and what documents do I need?

  • Must be purchased in person at the City Hall Service Center.
  • Three (3) items, all matching the applicant residential address to show proof of residency within the permit zone, are required to purchase an Annual Resident Parking Permit:
    • One government issued photo ID
    • One City approved document (i.e., utility bill, bank statement, government letter, etc.)
    • The vehicle registration,
  • Online purchase of Annual Resident Parking Permits is not available at this time but may be introduced in the future if the pilot continues.

4.4 What are Daily Parking Permits:

  • Allow an individual to park on-street in a permit zone during the time restricted No Parking hours of 10:00AM to 11:00AM and 1:30PM to 2:30PM.
  • Are issued to a single license plate; however, the license plate entered for a daily virtual parking permit can be changed at any time during its one-day activation in the personal HotSpot account.
  • Are provided in a virtual, or digital, format – no hangtag or sticker required or available.
  •  Are issued to a single vehicle license plate.
  • Are assigned to a specific Permit Zone, and valid only for that zone (it is the responsibility of the permit holder to ensure they are parked in the correct permit zone).
  • Are valid from 8:00AM to 5:00PM for the day for which they are purchased, only. 
  • May be purchased beginning at 12:00AM on the day for which they are sought to be used.  No advanced purchases available.
  • Are available on a first come, first served basis only, and there is a limited daily supply.
  • The limit of Daily Parking Permits is based on the amount of parking available within a parking permit zone, the amount of Annual Resident Parking Permits sold, and the observed parking demand.
  •  Shall be available for the following vehicles only:
    • Private passenger vehicles other than recreational vehicles;
    • Motorcycles; and
    • Trucks with less than one ton capacity.

4.5 Who is eligible for a Daily Parking Permit?

The Daily Parking Permit is intended to be flexible to serve many potential users of all-day on-street parking in the downtown area including:

  • Residents who need added parking flexibility on a given day, but do not have/require an Annual Resident Parking Permit;
  • Visitors of local residents;
  • Contractors working in the area;
  • Commuters to the downtown;
  • Students needing a single day of parking; or
  • Other visitors to the downtown looking for a flexible daily parking option.

4.6 How can I purchase a Daily Parking Permit?

  • In order to purchase a Daily Parking Permit a personal HotSpot account is required.
  • Daily Parking Permits can be purchased digitally through Hotspot Parking Inc’s online website at www.htsp.ca, or by downloading and using the HotSpot Parking app.
  • Daily permits can only be purchased digitally and are not available for purchase at City Hall.

5. How much do parking permits cost?

  • The Annual Resident Parking Permit is $24 per year, including tax.
  • The Daily Parking Permit is $5 per day, including tax.
  • When purchasing a virtual permit there are no additional fees beyond the cost of the permit, and you do not have to pay a monthly HotSpot parking subscription fee, unless also using HotSpot for hourly parking.
  • However, while no additional fees apply, in order to purchase a Daily Parking Permit a personal HotSpot account is required.
  • Annual Resident Parking Permits are not tied to a personal HotSpot account, and therefore no personal HotSpot account is required.

6. How do I know where I can park on my street?

The timed parking restrictions and permit zone will be clearly posted on each block via new signage. Be sure to check signage to confirm that you are parking in the zone that you have a virtual parking permit for. Maps will also be available on the City’s website showing the allowable permit parking areas. Also, be sure not to park in front of fire hydrants or block driveways.

7. Why do existing residents need to pay to park on Street?

The Annual Resident Parking Permit is intended for residents who want additional flexibility for parking on-street beyond the 7 hours per day of unrestricted parking (free parking between 8:00AM and 5:00PM with the exception that a virtual parking permit is required to park from 10:00AM to 11:00AM and from 1:30PM to 2:30PM).

The annual fee offsets program administration costs and ensures only residents requiring the added flexibility will acquire a parking permit. By knowing how many residents purchase an annual resident permit, the City is better able to manage the number of Daily Permits that can be sold.

8. When do Daily Parking Permits go on sale?

Daily Parking Permits are available for purchase at 12:00AM each weekday until they are sold out for the day. Only commercial contractors working within a parking permit zone are eligible to pre-buy Daily Parking Permits by contacting Parking Services.

9. Can I buy a weekly parking permit?

Weekly permits are not available at this time, but the potential to have them in future will be reviewed as part of the pilot project.

10. Do I need to display my parking permit?

The annual resident and daily permit parking pilot uses virtual permits. Virtual permits are linked digitally to your vehicle license plate and there is no physical permit that can or needs to be visually displayed. Verification of virtual parking permits by Parking by-law enforcement officers is done electronically.

11. Can contractors buy more than 1 day of parking at a time?

Yes, contractors working in one of the parking permit zones are eligible to purchase a maximum of 4 virtual parking permits at a time (as available), valid for varying lengths of time.

Contractors wishing to purchase Daily Parking Permits must do so in person at the City Hall Service Center at least one business day before the parking is required.

The number of permits a contractor can purchase are limited given that the number of multi-day contractor permits that are sold will impact the number of remaining Daily Parking Permits available to other users.

12. Why is there a limit on the number of Daily Parking Permits sold?

The pilot project is not intended to overload residential streets with parking. Staff have set a target on-street occupancy rate of 75%. The number of daily residential virtual parking permits available will be set weekly and be based on 1) the number of Annual Resident Parking Permits sold; and 2) the observed parking occupancy and usage rates on street.

13. Will my quiet residential street become overloaded with parked cars such that I will have nowhere to park on-street?

One of the key goals of the pilot project is to better understand parking demand in core areas of the City. The City intends to limit the number of Daily Parking Permits available for sale each day so that in general no more than 75% of the available on-street parking in a zone is utilized. This should enable residents to find on-street parking, if needed, within 1 to 2 blocks of their residence at any time. The utilization of on-street parking will be a key metric that will be analyzed and evaluated throughout the pilot.

14. Am I able to leave my vehicle on-street overnight?

No, the overnight parking by-law is still in effect year-round and overnight parking on-street is not permitted.

  • In the winter months (December to March) between the hours of midnight and 7:00 a.m., no person shall park a vehicle unattended on city streets (citywide). This is to facilitate the effective work of snow removal.
  • In the summer months (April – November) between the hours of 2:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., no person shall park a vehicle unattended on city streets in the downtown; and between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. no person shall park a vehicle unattended on city streets in the remainder of the city.

15. I have an Annual Resident or Daily Permit for Zone 1; Is my permit valid in other Zones such as Zone 2?

No, annual resident and daily permits are only valid in the zone for which they are issued.

16. I have a residential or daily permit, will parking be available in front of my residence?

Annual Resident and Daily permits are issued for a specific zone. Permit holders are not guaranteed parking in front of their residence. Rather, a permit ensures you will be able to access parking within the zone for which your permit is issued. Typically, this means parking will be available within 1-2 blocks of your residence.

17. I have found an on-street parking spot in Zone 3, but the app says there are no Daily Parking Permits available.

There is a limit to the number of Daily Parking Permits being sold in each zone with a target occupancy rate of 75% within each zone. Once the Daily Parking Permits for an individual zone are sold out, no more will be sold even if there appears to be additional parking available within the zone. You can try checking other zones for permit availability or consider hourly parking within one of the City’s parking garages.

18. Why is the Pilot projected needed?

The Parking Master Plan approved by City Council in 2019 identifies the need for more parking in the downtown.The Plan specifically identifies the creation of on-street parking as an important solution for increasing parking supply in the short term.The City will continue to explore the feasibility of a new structure over the long term; however, in the short term, allowing some daily parking on-street helps better utilize city infrastructure, while the availability of Annual Resident Parking Permits enables a low cost option for residents to have ultimate flexibility when parking on-street near their home.

19. How long will the pilot be in place for?

The pilot project is scheduled to begin in mid-August 2021, and it is anticipated that the pilot will be in place for at least 1 year. Staff will be evaluating the amount of on-street parking utilized and feedback from permit holders through the pilot. This feedback and data will be utilized to determine if the pilot project should be modified, extended, or ended after 1 year.