Visitors to downtown Jasper, Alta., will have to pay for street parking beginning in July
Street parking in Jasper comes with a nice view but visitors will have to pay for it beginning in July. (Tourism Jasper)
The municipality of Jasper, Alta., is launching a paid parking pilot this summer.
Beginning in early July, all of the current two-hour on-street parking in the downtown core will become paid parking.
Visitors will have to pay $2 per hour between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Bill Given, chief administrative officer for the municipality for Jasper, said the decision was made for a number of reasons.
"The intention here really is to help manage congestion in the downtown core, encourage turnover so more people can enjoy our downtown," he said, adding that it will also help with infrastructure costs.
"Council sees paid parking as an equitable way to ensure that visitors are helping contribute to the assets that they enjoy in our community."
This map shows the areas of downtown Jasper where a payment for parking will be required beginning in July. (Municipality of Jasper)
Given hopes people will comply so enforcement won't be necessary.
"Our focus is not on ticketing," he said. "We don't see this as a system that is intended to penalize people and so that will be an absolute last resort."
Those who are ticketed can expect a fine of $65.
To pay for parking, visitors will have to download an app, scan/tap a sign, or visit the administration office.
On-street 15-minute drop-off zones, accessible parking stalls and off-street parking lots will continue to be free to use.
Residents who live within a one block radius of the paid parking zones can receive a parking pass with proof of residency, but otherwise there will be no exemption for locals.
There have been some concerns the project could cause people to look for free parking in other areas.
"That will be one of the things that we'll be monitoring to see how much spillover there actually is in the residential areas," Given said.
Come July, stopping for a coffee in downtown Jasper will cost you a couple of more bucks if you park on the street. (Tourism Jasper)
Reaction to the pilot project has been mixed among residents and businesses.
"It will be a change for the community," Given explained.
"Jasper doesn't have a history of paid parking, but there is also a very broad understanding from residents that our small community of under five thousand people just cannot support the burden of infrastructure costs that are required to serve the visitor population that we see."
Once the pilot project wraps up in the fall, a decision will be made on whether to make paid parking permanent.
"The intention is to test the system, see how it works, and refine the system based on user and community feedback," Given said.
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