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Almost 90 metered parking stalls have broken or missing heads, report says

After receiving an inquiry during the March 25 regular council meeting about the number of missing parking meter heads and posts, city administration provided an answer during the April 22 meeting.  

There are nearly 50 parking meter posts throughout the downtown core of Moose Jaw either missing or requiring repair, which means residents and tourists can park for free at almost 90 metered stalls.

After receiving an inquiry during the March 25 regular council meeting about the number of missing parking meter heads and posts and how city hall learns about those deficiencies, city administration provided an answer during the April 22 meeting.  

There are 47 parking meter post locations totalling 88 stalls that are either missing or requiring repair, while city hall learns about this missing or damaged infrastructure when employees collect money from the meter heads, the report said.

Meanwhile, the municipality repaired 70 parking meters during the fourth quarter of 2023 — Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 — but did not replace any since no inventory was available. During that period, the city collected $114,506.56 in coin revenue and $19,292.48 from HotSpot revenue, totalling $133,799.04. 

“At the conclusion of 2023, additional meters were not ordered due to budget constraints. That order will be placed in April,” the report said. 

The available inventory will allow the city to replace meters affecting 30 stalls, with this work to commence in April, the document continued. Also, the engineering department is working to support public works’ efforts to define and scope the appropriate and consistent installation processes. This work is included in a “master specifications project.”

Furthermore, city administration is working with the transportation master plan (TMP) consultant to map out the future of metered parking in Moose Jaw, with administration to discuss this issue with council ahead of the 2025 budget. 

The TMP consultant will conduct the study using qualitative and quantitative research to understand the parking app market better and identify options that match the city’s needs, the report said. 

The consultant is proposing to undertake the study by:

  • Conducting an industry comparison and review of various Western Canadian cities to determine app use and create differences in their operations
  • Establishing an operating cost for each app, including contacting several top vendors to create payment options
  • Summarizing findings and recommendations, including developing a plan for future applications of online parking payment and recommending measures to optimize parking and affect revenues generated 
  • Conducting before and after studies to determine existing benchmarks for parking use and examining whether residents would use the new app solution

The consultant noted that a survey would examine more than six blocks downtown, collect data during 15-minute intervals over eight hours and provide graphs illustrating important parking data. 

“Data can be pivotal to understanding parking use in (the) downtown and to assess how to best manage parking in the future,” the report said, adding there would be a follow-up after the implementation period and another downtown survey to document the implementation’s effects.

Bevan Harlton, director of operations, told council that since the inquiry in late March, city crews have installed 15 posts for single- or double-metered heads in April — which addresses roughly 30 heads — and plan to install nine more posts once the weather improves. 

“What’s happening is a lot of the locations that are in brick were never set (correctly) … so we’d like to drill and actually set those properly,” he continued.
Meanwhile, the “master specifications project” is a reference to a national program in which engineering services is participating, Harlton added. So, with parking meters, staff will design drawings of how to install the poles in the ground or sidewalk surface properly.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, May 13.  

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