By: Monica Kucharski
On November 1, the City of Mississauga passed a recommendation to implement paid parking in certain areas of Streetsville, beginning early in 2018.
By all accounts, the reaction to this initiative has been mixed. Some retailers and small business owners worry that paying for parking will discourage people from stopping by their establishments, affecting their sales. But others welcome the initiative, seeing free parking as an invitation for long occupancy of their curb space, and an impediment to efficient customer turnover.
Paid parking has actually been a subject long, and carefully studied. Probably ever since 1935, when Oklahoma City decided to impose a nickel-an-hour charge for parking in order to improve customer access to its businesses. The result then and there? A faster turnover of the metered spots and more customer traffic.
Another example—a little closer to home in distance and in time—is the implementation of paid parking in Port Credit a couple of years ago. According to Jamie Brown, Mississauga’s manager of municipal parking quoted in a recent Globe and Mail article on the subject, the results in Port Credit are the same as in Oklahoma 82 years ago: paid parking has helped to stimulate turnover.
The trick to implementing paid parking that does not adversely affect businesses and still manages traffic and parking demands is determining the right fee and the way it’s levied. Charging too much may annoy drivers and discourage them from stopping; charging too little may still be an annoyance without actually being effective at improving parking access.
Streetsville’s parking fee structure is based on the one implemented in Port Credit—$1.50 for the first hour and maxing out at $5 for three hours. The fee is small enough to encourage shorter stays, but substantial enough to help manage parking demands.
And managing traffic and parking demands is what this is all about. Let’s face it—Mississauga is growing, and finding ways to manage the escalating traffic in our City is one of the growing pains!