As the calendar year will soon change, the way motorists will pay for parking on one of the main streets in the downtown core of the capital will soon change.
At the start of the New Year, all Water Street parking lots will be converted to a paid parking system using the PaybyPhone app.
“(It’s) to help ease the flow of people who come to the businesses there,” Coun said. Maggie Burton said while introducing the topic Monday at the regular St. John’s City Council meeting.
“It will be a big change.”
Payment kiosks on Water Street – from Bishop’s Cove to Ayre’s Cove – were removed in June in response to the road closure for the downtown pedestrian mall.
These eight were redeployed to other areas of the city to help offset the loss of income due to the street closure, according to city reports. They are currently on Cathedral Street, Church Street, Cavendish Square and Duckworth Street.
It is also recommended that paid parking be implemented on Water Street between Ayres Cove and Cochrane Street, where there are sections of timed parking. Construction work and vandalism affected signage in some of those sections, Burton said.
She said the PaybyPhone conversion will also include the section which currently has no parking restrictions.
She said the expansion of timed parking on Water Street is not recommended as it further affects the city’s revenue.
The PayByPhone app – which underwent a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) in 2018 – has been successfully implemented on Harbor Drive. In information presented to council, city staff said that creating some form of zone parking, rather than a mixture of hourly parking and paying by phone, creates less confusion for users.
Burton noted that there are timed spaces near Water Street for those who do not wish to use the app.
There is no specific date yet for the change to be implemented, but Burton expects it to be in early January. However, she said the city would have time to put up signage to communicate the plan to the public.
“It won’t happen overnight,” Burton said. “People will have time to adjust to the new system. “
Everyone voted for the change except Ward 2 Coun. Ophelia Ravencroft, who expressed concern that the telephone payment system is excluding people who do not have a credit card or phone.
“I have no problem with PaybyPhone, per se, and I want to acknowledge the concerns of the Water Street companies who have had revenue issues. This is a serious problem and I understand that we have to maintain a flow of traffic on the streets, ”Ravencroft said.
“But, unfortunately, I won’t be able to support this today on the grounds that not enough work has been done, in my opinion, to get to a place where people who don’t have credit cards, who can ‘ t use phones and only have access to cash… will continue to have access to this street.
“I hope that in the future we can move to a place where there is some kind of loadable card system or put in place payment terminals, that would be quite satisfactory. “
Burton responded that she does not support the use of cash to pay for parking due to vandalism on meters in the past, but she recognizes the impact it will have on some people and that “it is far from ‘to be a perfect solution “.