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Council members oppose paid parking at new library facility

A paid parking system is likely to cost more than the revenue it brings in, explained Clay Aragon, manager culture, heritage and events.
Construction of the underground parkade at the new Library and Multi-use facility in Airdrie

Paid parking at the new Multi-Use Facility and Library in downtown Airdrie is not something Airdrie’s council spoke in favour of during their April 23 committee meeting.

A report looking at whether a paid parking system should be adopted to create a source of revenue and if it would promote turnover of parking spaces was presented to the community and corporate services standing committee.

With ample parking available, Airdrie administration recommended a wait-and-see approach.

A paid parking system is likely to cost more than the revenue it brings in, explained Clay Aragon, manager culture, heritage and events.

The report compared two similar facilities in Lethbridge and Red Deer with paid parking, and two facilities in St. Albert and Grande Prairie with no paid parking system. Red Deer and Lethbridge both employ staff such as parking operators, inspectors and enforcement to manage paid parking systems. 

“It is not a substantial source of revenue but used to offset parking management costs related to staff salaries, reserve funds used for parking management, equipment maintenance, software maintenance, licensing fees, and capital reserves,” stated the report.

Coun. Ron Chapman questioned why the City would consider charging for parking just to pay more for its enforcement.

“We’re trying to get people to come to our downtown, I find it to be totally counter intuitive to charge them for parking to come downtown,” he said. 

Aragon noted Airdrie’s facility will likely see higher traffic than normal in the first six months after opening.

“If future demands change, Administration will explore parking system options to address parking congestion,” the report stated.

To promote turnover, time-limited free parking can be considered. Coun. Al Jones suggested signage would help deter people from overusing the parking lot.

Chapman questioned where the request for the report came from and Aragon said residents have questioned how parking would be managed and that the report helps the City to be proactive.

Public inquiries included how City Administration would manage parking spaces so that visitors and customers are prioritized as opposed to City and Library staff monopolizing parking. 

The parking benchmarking study on the feasibility and success of various paid parking systems cost the City $10,000, according to Aragon. 

Aragon stated there will be incentives for other modes of transportation, such as bike racks, stroller parking, connectivity to trails from the back of the facility, parking for electric scooters, and more.

Masha Scheele

About the Author: Masha Scheele

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