Major changes are coming to parking in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Where you park, how much you pay, and for how long, are all being changed, starting October 13.
“Drivers won’t look for a metre anymore, they will look for posted signage,” explains Victoria Horne, manager of parking for the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Metres are gone, replaced by grey signs indicating parking zones.
“Then you’ll find either the nearest pay station or if you have the HotSpot app, you can download the HotSpot app and then enter your licence plate into your phone,” explains Horne.
Horne says there will be a third party fee for those who use the HotSpot app.
“$20 a year or $2 a month, or 10 cents per transaction,” says Horne.
The Executive Director of the Spring Garden Area Business Association says she’s heard complaints about the HotSpot app fee.
But Sue Uteck says the bigger issue is a lingering lack of short term parking.
“We don’t have enough loading zones for contractors to drop off retail products and food, etc.,” says Uteck.
Parking rates could be as high as $16 for four hours in some zones.
The maximum time allowed in any one parking zone will be four hours, an increase from parking metres which had limits of 60 or 90 minutes, which some business owners say is good news.
“Mostly at lunch we have problems because they have to run outside and plug the metre,” says Lil MacPherson, owner of the Wooden Monkey restaurants in downtown Halifax and Dartmouth. “A lot of times people don’t have time for dessert because there are no two hour metres.”
Uteck says a four hour time limit is still not long enough for some workers.
“If you’re a temporary worker, or working at the hospital or doing construction, you need to move your car to another zone after that four hour period,” says Uteck.
Horne says using parking zones will not be a good fit for people who need a spot to park all day.
“If you work somewhere for eight hours, and you need parking, we encourage you to find parking off street or use transit or another mode of transportation to come downtown,” says Horne.
These parking changes are the result of a directive from Halifax Council, which has been in the planning stages for almost ten years.
The new metres come into effect on October 13.