City council accepts parking study
The Portage Citizen
The City of Portage la Prairie council Monday night accepted a downtown parking study as a tool in its developing downtown revitalization strategy.
The study was conducted in 2016 by University of Manitoba student Ashley Kostyniuk and presented the report in a presentation to council March 12,
“It does not appear there is a problem with parking in downtown Portage,” Deputy Mayor Brent Budz said following the parking report presentation. “Just as a reminder, this was a study that was commissioned quite some time ago and council has been waiting for it as part of our downtown revitalization strategy. We’ll take this report under consideration. There are obviously some take-aways there for us. I know that administration and council will be looking at the report and seeing what we can do moving forward.”
Budz said the obvious take-away found in the report is that there is “ample parking for the demand. That’s not we’re necessarily hearing all the time. Also, the use of the parking meters, how they are being used and how frequently they are paid versus unpaid.”
Kostyniuk said her 2016 observations revealed that weekday on street metered parking saw an average of 46 per cent of all meters were unpaid but in use.
In collection data, Kostyniuk included information from a focus group on street interviews and “formal engagement with the business community to discuss their opinions and perceptions concerning municipal public parking within the downtown”.
In 2016 when Kostyniuk conducted her research in Portage she found 286 functioning on-street metered spots; 98 non-functioning on-street metered spots, approximately 450 on-street non-metered parking spots; and 273 off-street non-metered spots located in municipal parking lots.
In her report she said the city of Portage la Prairie has not produced a formal management strategy for parking in the downtown. The Portage la Prairie Development Plan (2006), provides goals, objectives, and policies concerning private off-street parking. Downtown municipal public parking is currently regulated by the Portage la Prairie Traffic By-law (2001) and the General and Parking By-law Enforcement By-law. “The data reveals that parking is a complex planning issue in Portage la Prairie, with parking perceptions, preferences, and behaviours that may at times contradict themselves,” her report said.
“These by-laws regulate parking in terms of the enforcement of related by-laws, costs of metered on street parking, and violations and ticketing. The Portage la Prairie Zoning By-law (2010) regulates private off-street minimum parking requirements in the downtown, and elsewhere in the city, however, it does not outline provisions for the regulation of municipally owned public parking.”
In a post report interview, Budz mused: “what is the next step?” Council will have to take a look at the use of meters, where they’re used, effectiveness of the meters…they are still a proponent for keeping traffic moving, but I wouldn’t suggest at this very early stage that there is any type of decision made that relates to the use of meters in our city,” Budz said.