Suggests 1-2-3 parking fix

Council decided to ask the Grey Highlands transportation department about a parking proposal brought forward in a delegation last week.

Carol Wood is the owner of Local Colour on Collingwood Street in Flesherton. Cars often are left on the downtown streets, not just all day long, but for days at a time.

She has had more than three decades of parking woes, and now would like to see a signed three-hour limit.

That would be seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for one block each way from the intersection of Hwy. 10 and County Rd. 4 (Collingwood Street).

Visitors seeing an empty space to pull over is the first step to benefitting from the plentiful tourist traffic that flows through Flesherton, she said.

She called parking “a limited resource that should not be squandered.”

While Mayor Paul McQueen mentioned enforcement as a possible challenge, Wood said that erecting the signs would educate people.

She observed that people aren’t malicious, they just don’t think about the consequences for business owners.

During the winter, a bylaw is already used to ensure that vehicles aren’t on the street overnight to allow the area’s bountiful snow to be cleared.

In the summer, it’s a different story.

She recently spoke with people who were planning to go away to the cottage for several days. They were transferring items from a vehicle they planned to leave on the street while they were away. After hearing her perspective, they moved the vehicle to its assigned spot.

The cars lingering on Flesherton streets may belong to tenants who live downtown, but council has also heard previously that some of the offenders include business employees or owners.

The parking woes have been studied in detail by the local Chamber of Commerce, and been before council numerous times over the years, with many different approaches presented.

Wood argued this proposal has the virtue of simplicity, and said it has worked in other towns.

She also asked for larger, clearer signage to guide people to the municipal lot downtown.

She said the municipality could look into leasing part of a large private parking lot at the intersection, and also put it under a three-hour limit.

Paid parking is another way some towns handle the problem, commented Coun. Tom Allwood.

That brought a swift cry of protest from Wood.

“Terrible!”, she said. “You make it harder for people to stop! What I’m proposing makes it easier for people to stop.”

Parking at the museum also came up on the council agenda, as it was discussed by the board. Council agreed to consider a few items, including parking lot improvements in its next budget process.

That didn’t happen until after Mayor McQueen asked about if that meant expanding into the neighbouring park.

Deputy-Mayor Dane Nielsen said that he understood the “first phase” would just be to paint lines on the small lot to make the most of the space.

Wood had asked council not to “eat up any of our precious park space when time-limited parking would resolve this problem.”

She said the misuse of parking downtown has been “a thorn in retailers’ sides for many decades.”

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Flesherton Advance