Council puts plan to remove metered parking stalls and add third traffic lane on hold

City Council has decided to table a motion to remove 14 metered parking stalls on 15th Street beside Gateway Mall until the next Executive Committee meeting on August 15. 

Sharon Faul, General Manager of the Gateway Mall, approached Councillor Dawn Kilmer last week with concerns over the loss of economic opportunity if the mall’s parking stalls on 15th Street West were to be removed. Faul was unaware of the proposed removal until she watched the last Executive meeting on July 18. 

Kilmer suggested that the motion be amended until the Transportation Committee had a chance to consult with Faul about the future of the parking stalls. 

A report written last month by the City’s Transportation and Traffic Manager stated that the maintenance, upkeep and retrieval of money from the 14 parking meters on 15th Street West are no longer considered justified from an operations standpoint.

Removal of the existing on-street parking will allow for the possibility to add a 3rd traffic lane to increase capacity of the roadway and reduce congestion during periods of heavy traffic flow in the area.

Faul was unable to attend the latest City Council meeting on Monday, but sent a letter to Administration asking them to delay their final decision. 

“I would like to bring to your attention that the largest number of stalls (12 out of 14) considered for removal are located directly outside a portion of the mall’s property along 15th Street where there is already limited parking,” read Faul’s letter. “The mall is the largest commercial property impacted by this recommendation. I would also like to note that Gateway Mall was not included in any consultation process for this recommendation.

“In reading the report, I understand the need for the city to be fiscally responsible and based on the current under utilization of 12 of these stalls, that the recommendation from the transportation department would be for removal,” the letter continued. “However, if the mall had been consulted, we could have made Council aware of the serious negative impact this will have on future leasing in that portion of the property in an already challenging economy.”

Kilmer said the decision to remove the parking meters is a tug of war between traffic flow and the City’s transportation masterplan versus economic development and the desire for more information before settling on a decision. 

The Acting Director of Public Works said that because there was almost no usage of the 12 parking stalls by the location of the old Sears, consultations were only done with the other affected businesses and not the Gateway Mall. 

Before its closure in 2017, the Sears location on the southeast corner of the Gateway Mall was a large pedestrian generating store that saw thousands of people on a yearly basis. In 2015, the 12 parking stalls in front of the store entrance earned $11,295.25 in revenue. From January 2021 to June 2022, the parking metres earned just $57.75. 

“We want that large portion of the mall rented out, it’s good for the City,” Coun.r Blake Edwards said. “If it’s something that could block a business from coming in, I mean, we’ve dealt with it for this many years. I’m sure we could deal with those metres right now.”

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