Plugging parking meters is going the way of the dodo after a town council decision on Tuesday to continue with free parking in metered spaces. There was no end date attached to the motion.
After considering an administration report on its options — to reinstate paid meter parking, to adopt new technology for paid parking or to extend free parking — Coun. Jerry Schmalz moved to continue no-fee parking with a two-hour time limit.
Town manager Lou Varela told council that studies conducted in the summer months of 2011 and 2012 showed there is no shortage of parking in the downtown core.
“We are at about 70 per cent of capacity at peak times and compliance to the two-hour limit is more than 90 per cent,” she said. “The results were consistent over two years of study.”
Enforcement of the two-hour limit will continue with random checks and by responding to complaints from businesses and citizens.
While no councillor spoke in favour of paid parking, council will still hear a report from staff in the near future about voluntary paid parking. Under such a system, “donations” fed into parking meters could be directed to charity or toward designated town projects.