The question of one hour or two regarding free parking on the streets of downtown Salmon Arm is once again up for debate.
Both Downtown Salmon Arm and the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce are surveying their members on whether or not the current time limit for parking on downtown streets should be extended from one hour to two.
Our related story elicited numerous comments from readers with thoughtful arguments for and against. Not surprising, given how heated things got on this very issue six years ago.
In July 2013, at the request of Downtown Salmon Arm, through the city’s Downtown Parking Commission, city council agreed to extend the parking time on Hudson Avenue, between Shuswap and Alexander streets, from one hour to two for a six-month trial period.
In response, businesses located in that section of town launched a petition opposed to the change – 18 of the 21 affected businesses signed it. (A second petition saw 39 businesses in favour of the parking change, but those businesses were all located outside the affected area.)
One former downtown business owner opposed to the time change explained how two people parking two hours each in front of their store would cut off 50 per cent of their customer traffic during the day.
This argument has once again been raised, as have concerns about limiting access to seniors and parking congestion caused by store owners and staff parking on the street instead of one of the paid downtown parking lots.
Another complaint in 2013 was a lack of consultation with downtown businesses. We expect this shouldn’t be an issue this time around.
Looking at neighbouring cities, we’re fortunate to have one hour of free street parking in downtown Salmon Arm and should enjoy it (and not abuse it) while we have it. If a new parking metre system goes in, as is being discussed, the question of one or two hours may depend on what you wish to pay for.