Survey looks at downtown parking
Okotoks: Town considering issue
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 06:00 am
Businesses and residents who frequent Okotoks’ downtown core in the downtown have the chance to provide input on possible changes to parking in the core including paid parking and additional more enforcement on parking limits.
The Town of Okotoks is conducting an online survey of the state of downtown parking as part of a broader study of the issue.
Okotoks planner Colin Gainer said the survey is intended to help identify areas where there may be problems with parking in the downtown area and find potential solutions.
“It’s to kind of get a sense, firstly, if they have a concern or see concerns with downtown parking and to comment on possible strategies that have been suggested,” he said.
The study covers the core of the downtown area, including the Elizabeth/McRae/North Railway Street corridor and Elma Street between Northridge Drive and Lineham Avenue.
The survey is available through the Town’s website at www.okotoks.ca, with one survey geared towards residents and one to businesses. The survey asks residents and business owners about particular challenges they experience and their opinion on various suggestions, including increased enforcement, paid parking or building more parking lots or a parkade. The deadline to respond is Oct. 18 and the results will be presented to town council later this year, or early 2014.
The survey is part of a larger analysis of parking in the downtown area.
Gainer said the Town isn’t currently looking to create a new plan for parking downtown, right now they’re just trying to get a better picture of the situation.
“The main idea behind the study is just to get an idea of what the current situation is like on the ground and if changes are needed, where are we going to look at it,” he said. “It’s really to give council a picture of what the potential issues are today, what they will potentially look like in the future.”
As part of the project, the Town is also conducting parking counts for the downtown area to get a better idea of how many parking spaces there are, the number of vehicles using them and how frequently they are open over the course of a day.
“It’s to get a sense of the turn over and hotspots, so to speak, where there would be challenges and that sort of thing,” said Gainer.
At least one downtown businesses owner said there needs to be more room for people to park in the area.
“We need more parking, definitely, but I’m also opposed to charging for parking,” said Donita Beaulieu, owner of Ginger Laurier.
She suggested setting one area aside for employees working at downtown businesses to park to free up spaces for customers.
Pablo Forno, owner of Home Run Sports, said parking isn’t much of a problem at his current location in a downtown strip mall because it has a parking lot.
He said, overall, the current situation for parking downtown isn’t much of a problem.
“It doesn’t bother me as much,” he said.
However, Forno said it was more of an issue at his former location on McRae Street where he didn’t have a parking lot for his customers.
“The last location was painful to us,” he said.
Forno said the downtown area doesn’t need a parkade and charging for parking likely won’t be popular.
“I don’t think people will be too happy to start paying for parking,” he said.
Jodi Loverin, co-owner of Tribal Connections, said she doesn’t think parking is much of a problem downtown, however, she said she’s lucky her business is located next to a parking lot.
“I don’t hear a whole lot of negative comments about it,” she said.
If more retail stores are developed downtown, Loverin said more parking will be needed.