Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Halifax report finds there is more than enough parking in downtown area

If you’ve ever tried to park in downtown Halifax, you know that finding a spot can be a frustrating experience.

But a report that arrived at the city’s transportation and standing committee earlier this week says there’s still lots of parking available.

But depending on who you ask, people feel otherwise.

The Halifax Regional Municipality’s (HRM) report, titled the Parking Demand Assessment, was designed to gather data and determine how much parking is required to meet the industrial and commercial needs the municipality.

Although the reports states there is ample parking for the nearly 20,000 people looking for parking the downtown core, you’d be hard-pressed to find residents and visitors who agree with the assessment.

“We came to Halifax from Antigonish and we’re trying to go to the courthouse three blocks away and this is the closest we could get,” said one woman.

The owner of Stayner’s Wharf Pub & Grill, located on the Halifax waterfront, says the lack of parking directly affects his business.

“The people that I’ve talked to have — I don’t want to use the word complained — they have stated that it’s very difficult to come downtown without driving around for 10 or 25 minutes,” said Todd Abbass

“A lot of people that I have talked to say, ‘I’m gonna go to Sobeys or Superstore and I’m gonna buy a steak and go home because it’s cheaper,’ even though they wanted to go out.”

The city’s parking service program manager says they are working on new ways for people to locate parking spots.

“Whenever we do bike lanes or bus lanes, we always look at parking on street and the impacts of those projects if we were to move them or displace that parking,”  said Victoria Horne.

“When we do those utilization study consistently we find that they’re never at 100 per cent utilization.”

The report says downtown Halifax was at an average capacity of 95 per cent in 2017.

The city is in the process of upgrading its parking meter technology and extending parking times on the street.

The changes are expected to into effect by this summer.

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