Lines for parking spots were painted along the first two blocks of Jasper Street, first blocks of Harder Street and Maple Street, and the downtown core of Pacific Avenue and First Avenue on July 3. The work was completed after council decided it was the solution to drivers taking up more than one parking spot with their vehicles.
Since then, the town office has been inundated with calls and visits from upset drivers who are having difficulty fitting their vehicles into the six-metre long spaces.
While the lines have made drivers pay more attention to how much space their vehicle takes up when parked, many are finding it to be a tight squeeze.
Mayor Barry Rudd said the town is aware of the problem for larger vehicles.
“We made a mistake by trying to initiate change,” he stated. “Yes, they’re a little short. Most vehicles fit in there, but if you’ve got a four-door truck with a box on it, yeah, it’s going to be too long.”
The town contacted the City of Swift Current and was informed their parking lines were spaced six metres apart. Council then decided this was a good measurement to follow.
But drivers parking in the downtown soon discovered it didn’t offer enough room to get in and out.
“They should’ve made them bigger. We have trucks and we need to drive them,” said one woman, who did not wish to give her name, but had difficulty parking her large pickup on Jasper Street on a busy Friday morning.
She wonders if the town isn’t trying to use the new parking spaces as a “money grab.”
But Rudd said this is not the intention at all. The lines are there to ensure people are not taking up more space than they need.
“The thing was to get some order and resolution to the parking, because there’s days where you could probably get another 10 cars on main street if people parked properly and didn’t leave half a car length between them and the one in front of them, and then the one behind them does the same,” he explained. “But now people are paying attention. If you notice, people all park with nice spacing on the street.”
He noted tickets will not be given out to those drivers whose vehicles don’t fit perfectly within the lines.
“We put the lines down as a guide,” Rudd said. “We’re trying to get people to get used to not intentionally taking up two parking spots.”
However, drivers who are seen intentionally parking to take up more than one space will receive a ticket.
“The bottom line is people should have consideration for other people who are out in the downtown shopping,” Rudd stated, noting there are many drivers who think nothing of parking in handicapped spaces either. “There’s a number of them who have no consideration for other people, no respect.”
The mayor said the parking spaces may be changed in the future if it proves to be a major issue for drivers – whether it means adding five feet or eliminating the spaces completely.