I have significant concerns regarding paid parking within Canmore’s downtown core.
While I understand the need to reduce traffic volume on certain days (summer and holiday weekends), there are at least 300 days of the year where parking is not an issue.
Certainly parking is an attractive cash cow for tourists, but is it necessary to punish those who live here regularly?
From a social standpoint, our downtown is meant to be a hub for Canmorites to visit. Sometimes, these visits are planned, but it’s nice to be spontaneous.
Paid parking is a disincentive for folks to “just stop in.” What used to be a place of community, now has an admission fee.
I believe the following ideas should be explored to keep our downtown core accessible to locals:
- Have a two-hour grace period for parking. The current 30 minutes is not enough.
- Be strategic with what days and times have paid parking enforced. For example, weekends only.
- Provide locals with a parking pass at a reasonable price. Currently, Town of Canmore is suggesting $360 per year. How about $50?
- Allow businesses free validation parking for clients.
Moving forward, we need solutions that address our ultimate issue: traffic flow. Concepts such as a scramble crosswalks, better signage, etc. will make a bigger difference than tucking into local's pockets – that’s just insensitive.
It’s also been put forth that “locals don’t come downtown on weekends.” If we’re not careful, paid parking will push that mindset into the other five days of the week.
Rather than penalize locals at the expense of tourist traffic, let’s be smarter with our solutions.