New Brunswick

Peak pricing could be coming to Fredericton after council approves parking master plan

The City of Fredericton has approved a new parking master plan that will deal with congestion and accommodate new growth in the downtown.   

The new plan could see the cost of on-street parking rise at different times of day

Meredith Gilbert, manager of transit and parking services for the city, says the parking plan is essential given the expansion of Fredericton's downtown core. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

The City of Fredericton has approved a new parking master plan that will deal with congestion and accommodate new growth in the downtown.   

"We're at a point where we really need to start looking at solutions, knowing that we have a successful and growing downtown," said Meredith Gilbert, manager of transit and parking services for the city. 

"We really need to make sure we are poised to receive people looking to set up shop in the downtown."

The parking master plan was approved at Monday night's city council meeting. It sets out short and long-term goals for the city to follow over the next 10 years.

Rate increase could be in the works 

Although there won't be any immediate increases to parking rates, Gilbert said the new plan does recommend the city adjust its rates during peak hours.

The plan would see the cost of on-street parking rise at different times of the day, with the goal being to drive more people into parking garages

"This is where you price based on where you want to encourage people to park. So someone who is staying all day for work downtown for example, we would want them to park more at the periphery in the parking garages," said Gilbert. 

"So if you price the parking accordingly, they're going to be more likely to go there because it's more affordable for a longer stay."

The cost of parking could also change depending on the time of year or events occurring in the downtown.

Any rate changes would need to be approved separately by council, which Coun. Kevin Darrah, who is also chair of the city's transportation committee, said is necessary. 

"Our parking rates are old," he said. "We need to catch up with other cities in the province."

More parking spaces added

One of the city's goals is to upgrade its payment booths and parking meters. (Pat Martel/CBC)

Gilbert said the city will also add more spaces to the current 1,400 parking spaces in the downtown. The plan includes a new parking garage, adding about 500 spaces.

The city also plans to update its pay booths that would register a person's licence plate instead of their parking spot number. 

"Newer equipment has better data collection capability than what we have today. Our meters today for example, don't collect data at all," said Gilbert.

"Newer meters will collect data for us so we'll have a better picture of how long people stay and what the turnover rates are, so we can better plan for use of parking in the downtown."

The city plans to construct a parking garage to add about 500 spaces to Fredericton's downtown. (Joe McDonald/CBC)

Gilbert said she doesn't know how much the new equipment will cost.  

The next step is for city staff to develop a road map that would implement these recommendations over the next 10 years. 

About the Author

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.

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