July 18th, 2024

Council to consider raising parking fines

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on November 17, 2023.

Herald photo by Al Beeber A city resident uses a meter on 4 Avenue South. City council will be considering a recommendation approved by Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee to raise parking fines in a two-year pilot project.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The City could be embarking on a two-year pilot project which will see parking fines increased.

The Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council voted to pass the recommendation to council for approval.

The committee consists of all members of council.

The parking fine increase was brought up by Acting Mayor John Middleton-Hope last fall during the 2023-26 budget deliberations.

A proposal to raise fines would have seen the three schedules of $25, $30 and $50 be changed to a flat fine of $50 to encourage compliance and simplify applications of fines.

In January, council heard that a comparison of similar-sized municipalities shows Lethbridge has among the lowest parking and traffic-related fines.

An engagement group that council directed administration to form came up with several options that council will now consider including raising fines in the downtown core to $40 instead of $50 with a $20 reduction if paid within 10 days.

Parking fines outside the downtown core will rise to $50 with a $15 fine reduction if council approves the initiative.

The planned implementation date is Feb. 1.

Also being recommended to council are several parking incentives. They would include providing free parking downtown until 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Currently, parking is enforced from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

The grace period would be increased to seven minutes from three and all Zone 2 areas would be replaced with Zone 3. Another incentive is free downtown core parking initiative days.

In a press release, Lorien Johansen, chair of the Hart of Our City Committee said that organization “wholeheartedly supports the proposed resolution to the parking fines increase and believes that the new proposal has found a mutually acceptable program that will allow City Administration, downtown businesses, and all the residents of Lethbridge to benefit in multiple ways.”

The next step is for council to given three readings to Bylaw 6428 and amend budget initiative C-6 to reflect the recommendations.

Paid parking in Lethbridge first started in 1963 with rates of 10 cents per hour. The present rate of $1 per hour was set in 2013. Parking fines of $25 haven’t changed since 1990.

If the recommendations are approved, council will be getting an update on the project after its first year is complete.

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Sure, give us one more reason not to go downtown. Meanwhile a house down my alley uses it as their driveway and after numerous calls continues to do so. I guess with their camera car it’s easier to go after the low hanging fruit.