BIA officials say limited parking spots not being monopolized
By Mark Newman, News Staff
Two hours of free parking on Concession Street over the Christmas period appears to have gone over well with business owners and their customers.
“It’s been fantastic so far,” said Leo Santos, owner of Papa Leo’s Restaurant last week. “I’ve had a noticeable increase in people being happy that they’re not paying for parking.”
Supported by the Concession Street Business Improvement Area and approved by city council, the two hours of free parking during business hours along the street began on Dec. 10 and wrapped up on Christmas Eve.
There are approximately 140 parking meters on the street.
It’s the first time there has been free parking on Concession Street and the move is expected to cost the city treasury $5,000.
Santos said he’d like to see two hours of free parking throughout the month of December next year.
BIA executive director Lynn Page said there was some concern that free parking would result in less parking spot turnover and that much of the on-street parking would be monopolized by staff at the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, but for the most part, that didn't happen.
“It doesn’t seem to have been misused which is a big relief for me,” said Page, who wasn’t certain if the free parking had actually resulted in a spike in business for the street.
“It’s hard to gauge because this time of year, if you’re a retailer you’re going to seen an increase in business anyway.”
Page said she would have a better idea on how the initiative was received in the next few weeks.
The BIA and the city will evaluate how the free parking went before a decision is made whether to bring it back for 2013.
At Chris’s House, business owner Chris Mifsud said he supports the free parking and will push for it again next year.
“It’s one less thing for people to worry about,” he said.