Parking is now free in Fredericton's very own woonerf, a stretch of Carleton Street in the downtown that drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are theoretically supposed to share.

The free spots are part of a pilot project that councillors approved Monday for Carleton, between Queen Street and the Fredericton Public Library.

Parking in the nine spots will be limited to 30 minutes, once a day per vehicle.

A woonerf, meaning "living street" in Dutch, is a concept developed in the Netherlands to allow different kinds of users to share the space in safety.

Part of city's vision

Garrison

The Carleton Street woonerf is part of Fredericton's overall vision for the downtown. (Fredericton Tourism)

During the summer, the City of Fredericton turned a short stretch of Carleton Street into a shared street with the goal of making it available for concerts, festivals and markets.

Free parking wasn't initially part of the woonerf plan, but it became necessary when electrical problems surfaced after the construction work. 

Parking meters removed during construction couldn't be reinstalled, said Meredith Gilbert, a senior planner with the city.

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"Arguably, it will look better from an overall design standpoint not to have any meters," Gilbert told councillors. "So going with this option of non-metered parking zone really works well with the nature of the space."

She said the time limit on parking will ensure the area can be cleared quickly when events are planned for the woonerf.

The city is considering working with Hotspot Parking to add an app feature that will assist with parking enforcement.

City won't lose much

Until then, the city will employ traditional parking enforcement methods, although Gilbert wouldn't say what they were.

"We don't give away our methods," she said.

She did not offer an exact dollar amount for potential lost revenue because of the free parking but said it would be minimal.

"The tradeoff is economic investment from folks who would be coming into the downtown to make those short trips who might not otherwise," Gilbert said.