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Town council sets limit on Main Street parking

Town council will limit parking on Main Street and part of Second Avenue to two hours.
Council also decided June 10 to limit the number of signs in the historic downtown area advising motorists of the limit.
“We’ve got lots of parking,” Mayor Shawn Patience said. “We’ve just want people to use it wisely.”
Council voted to enforce a two-hour parking limit on Main Street between Second and Third avenues.
The two-hour limit will also be in effect on Second Avenue between Main Street and Red Crow Blvd.
A 15-minute parking limit remains on Second Avenue between Red Crow Blvd. and 22nd Street.
The limits will be posted on a few signs at the street corners so as not to detract from the aesthetics of the historic area.
The decision by council ended a discussion that began almost three years ago.
“The amount of time we have spent talking about this is ridiculous,” Coun. Sharan Randle said.
The issue of parking limits was raised in August 2010 when Dr. Alan Poytress of Fort Macleod Chiropractic wrote council to complain about vehicles remaining parked for days in front of his Second Avenue business.
Poytress explained he asked the community peace officer Werner Dressler to enforce the parking limit.
Dressler told Poytress he could not enforce the parking limit because the wooden signs did not meet modern provincial standards.
The provincial Traffic Safety Act dictates parking signs must be of a particular size, made of aluminum and painted red and white with reflective paint.
When work began late in 2011 to install the new signs, that generated concern among business owners, some of whom mistakenly believed council was implementing new one-hour parking restrictions.
A delegation of business owners appeared before council in January 2012 to suggest a one-hour parking time limit was not conducive to attracting people to do business in Fort Macleod.
That led council to direct the economic development officer to conduct a commercial district parking study.
That survey led to a recommendation before council in June 2012 to approve a two- or three-hour parking restriction between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
The recommendation included maintaining a 15-minute limit on Second Avenue south of 23rd Street.
Council then learned in July 2012 that 54 signs would be needed on Main Street and Second Avenue in order to comply with provincial legislation.
Council had public works foreman Barry Campbell attend the June 10 meeting to discuss a proposed layout of signs to meet provincial requirements.
“It may seem like overkill,” Campbell said of requirements of the provincial Traffic Safety Act.
“Significant overkill,” Patience said.
Campbell told council in order to strictly enforce the parking limit it would be necessary to have someone patrolling Main Street, marking tires every 30 minutes.
Coun. Sharon Monical said Fort Macleod should welcome traffic downtown, particularly from consumers.
“We should put signs up that say, ‘Thank you for shopping in Fort Macleod, be courteous’,” Monical said.
Randle said the problem with no limits is that people, some of whom live in apartments in downtown buildings, will leave vehicles parked on the street for days.
Municipal manager David Connauton told council parking limits are not an issue in many towns.
“A lot of towns this size don’t have any parking restrictions,” Connauton said.
Patience noted the majority of business owners want a parking limit of two to three hours.
The mayor also noted Fort Macleod has considerable free public parking in the lots to the south and north of Main Street.
“The point isn’t to give tickets for parking,” Patience said. “The point is to make sure our parking is utilized effectively.”

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