By Doug Hallett
Guelph residents will have to learn to rely less on street parking if council approves bylaw changes that are being proposed.
City staff are recommending several changes to the parking bylaw. One would allow city hall to declare a ban on street parking – a ban that could last 24, 48 or even 72 hours, a city official says.
Up to 10 on-street parking bans might be declared during a winter, says Allister McILveen, the city’s manager of traffic and parking. Staff are also recommending other changes. Some streets in older parts of Guelph have year-round overnight parking exemptions. For some this would continue. But staff are proposing that if residents of any other streets ask for the same exemption in the future, the request be considered only if the street has a travel width of at least seven metres.
The final proposed change to the parking bylaw would restrict overnight on-street parking on Guelph Transit bus routes during the winter parking ban. This amendment would affect Goodwin Drive, which currently is the only Guelph street that has permissive overnight on-street parking and is also part of a bus route.
“The most commonly mentioned street where overnight on-street parking has created traffic operational issues during winter operations is Goodwin Drive,” the report says.
As for city-wide bans on street parking, they would mostly be for major snowfalls and freezing rain. However, bans could be also declared in other seasons after wind storms knock down trees, or for flooding, McILveen said in an interview Friday. In some situations, bans might apply only in parts of Guelph.
City hall would notify the public of a street-parking ban through the media and through social media, including the city’s website, guelph.ca.
“The first time through, I expect some difficulties,” but people would eventually get used to street-parking bans, McILveen said. Many Ontario cities, including Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, already have the authority to ban street parking, he noted.
If council approves the recommended changes, residents who park on the street would be well-advised to “try to pre-arrange some alternative parking,” McILveen said.
For people with no driveway, this might involve making contingency arrangements with a neighbour who has extra driveway space, perhaps in exchange for help in shovelling the snow, he said. Parking in church or school parking lots during a street-parking ban is another possibility, he suggested.
The city doesn’t want to come across as “heavy-handed,” he said, noting that he wouldn’t want to see bylaw enforcement staff “following the plows” to write tickets or have parked vehicles towed away.
The proposed change would affect residents all over the city who park on the street during the day. But the biggest effect would be on people who park overnight on certain streets in older parts of Guelph that have long been designated for year-round overnight parking.
Even if councillors endorse the proposed changes, though, it’s unlikely they would come into effect before next March “because of budget complications,” McILveen said. The proposed bylaw changes would cost money, so the new council elected this fall would probably consider the changes as part of the city’s 2015 budget, which isn’t expected to be approved until March.
As things stand now, city hall can only request that residents not park on the street when big winter storms hit.
By Doug Hallett