Sudbury

City admits Downtown Sudbury parking app won't be ready by end of 2018

CBC Sudbury has learned plans for an app to pay for metered parking in downtown Sudbury has been delayed after initially being promised to be operational by the end of 2018.

CBC Sudbury has learned tendering process has yet to begin, city hopes to have an app operational in 2019

The City of Greater Sudbury says despite the delay in the app rolling out, street meters like the ones on Cedar Street are still scheduled to be removed by summer 2019. (Kari Vierimaa/CBC)

CBC Sudbury has learned plans for an app to pay for metered parking in downtown Sudbury has been delayed.

Initially promised to be operational by the end of 2018, initial calls to 3-1-1 indicated no details on when the app would launch. 

City of Greater Sudbury spokesperson Kelli Sheppard later confirmed the app has been delayed, and the request for proposal (RFP) has been drafted, but not yet sent out to potential vendors.

New timeline puts app ETA at 'early 2019': city

Brendan Adair, the city's manager of security and bylaw services, who also oversees the parking modernization effort, admits the initial timeline of having an operational app by the end of 2018 was a lofty goal. 

"Once we got into the details of the RFP it has taken a little bit longer ... We know that there is a need for it," Adair told CBC Sudbury. 

Brendan Adair, Manager of Security and By-Law Services says the focus is on getting the infrastructure 'right'. (Kari Vierimaa/CBC)

The latest timelines from the city indicate the request for proposals from app vendors won't take place until early 2019. After that it's unclear how quickly a successful vendor can get the app from the planning stages to a fully implemented solution. 

"Once we select a vendor depending on their capacity in terms of project management to turn that around ... We're looking [at early] 2019 ... I can't pick an exact date of how quick a vendor would be able to turn that one around," Adair added.

The city says the goal is to have an app ready in time for the planned removal of coin street meters in the summer of 2019.

We've been asking for this for eight years: Downtown Sudbury

"We're disappointed ... Parking has been an issue for a long time," said Jeff MacIntyre, chair of Downtown Sudbury.

"It seems like we turned a corner this year and we're hoping to see that come into fruition next year."

Jeff MacIntyre is the board chair for the Downtown BIA in Sudbury. (Benjamin Aubé/CBC)

"We're hoping that council has the political will to move forward to what's modern and natural at this point for most cities," he added. 

MacIntyre says the delays by the city are difficult to accept for members of Downtown Sudbury. "It erodes some of the trust from our members in what we're saying because we're repeating what the city says and it makes it difficult for us to go out and say yes this is reality." 

It's ridiculous that we're at a point where we still have to pay for parking with coins.- Jeff MacIntryre , Chair of Downtown Sudbury  

The chair of Downtown Sudbury says the modernization efforts, when completed, will be a "big deal" for businesses. 

"This is getting us on par with how modern cities function. You need to have a parking management structure that has the tools to to give people what they expect," MacIntyre said.

The city is exploring options in the app process that would allow local businesses to validate parking, explore controls to limit parking duration, and even allow monthly and annual parking holders to renew using the app technology.

Timmins and North Bay already use some type of 'pay by plate' app.

About the Author

Kari Vierimaa

Producer, CBC News Network

Kari Vierimaa is a producer with CBC News Network. He has spent much of the last decade working in Toronto. Born and raised in Northern Ontario, he's interested in politics, crime and education. Story idea? Email him at kari.vierimaa@cbc.ca