Parking downtown getting pricier?
By Laura Katsirdakis
If you are someone who has to park your car downtown, you
may need to take a deep breath and possibly sit down before
"The Board of Control was looking for ways to bring in more
money [without raising taxes], as a result of the downloading
of responsibilities from the provincial government," said Cheryl
Miller, chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee
of London. The board's suggestion, she explained, included
several changes to meter parking.
There were three proposals, Miller said. First, to change
the end of charging/ticketing each day from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.,
with the cost changing after 6 p.m. from $1.25 an hour to $0.75
an hour. Second, the free two-hour parking on Saturdays would
be removed and finally, to extend meter parking over a larger
"The ETC requested that a public meeting be held," Miller
said, as a result the meeting occurred on Monday night at the
London Convention Centre. "The response from [downtown business]
was not positive, nor did I expect it to be."
The gist of the proposal was that since the downtown had been
revitalized, it was time to gain some money from it, Miller
explained, adding she anticipated a negative response to the
"The downtown revitalization [plan] began only three years
ago," Miller said. It does not take long for an area such as
this to deteriorate, but it takes longer [than three years]
to build it up, she added.
"Putting in a punitive parking system creates an environment
where people don't want to go downtown. If we fill all the
store fronts then we will bring in far more money than [raising
parking prices]," Miller said.
"This would make things so hard and frustrating for business
- it's great the city is making money but not if small business
is suffering," said Mary Connolly, manager of Plantations/Symposium
Cafe. "I think this is ridiculous."
"The city has been putting a lot of money into revitalizing
the downtown. This would be a step backwards," said Jonathan
McLean, manager of Archie's Beach Co.
McLean said he had heard several stories of visitors to London
receiving parking tickets and deciding not to come back because
of it. "From a business point of view, I don't like hearing
this. From the point of view of someone who lives downtown
and loves the downtown, I'm not too thrilled about it.
"This will just deter people from coming downtown - it doesn't
help business owners and it makes London look bad," McLean