July 17, 2014 2:51 pm

Group looks for options to solve downtown Saskatoon parking problem

Watch above: Dave Denny from The Partnership outlines ideas to ease the parking situation in downtown Saskatoon

SASKATOON – If you’ve ever tried to park in downtown Saskatoon, you’ll know it can be difficult. The City of Saskatoon is planning a $200,000 study on ways to improve it.

But The Partnership, the city’s downtown business group, says there are some simple ideas that might be workable fairly quickly.

Dave Denny is board chair of The Partnership. He says there are a number of options.

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For example, a “park and ride system.”

That would involve having a large parking lot on the edge of the downtown core, with shuttle service through the downtown. That way, downtown employees could park their vehicles in the lot, and get a shuttle ride to work.

“One of our biggest issues downtown is that monthly parking is very difficult to find,” Denny told Global’s Morning News.

“If we can offer a way for those people to get out of the main downtown, off into the periphery, into a park and ride, then we can take some pressure off the centre,” he said.

“It’s a cheap and easy way to make a big effect.”

Another idea is variable rate parking, said Denny. That would involve having cheaper parking on the outskirts of the downtown, which would be an incentive for people to park outside the downtown core.

“And then we’ll have some spots in front of those shops will become open and it makes it easier,” said Denny.

Another idea, he said, is to make changes to the 24-hour reserved parking downtown. Denny says many rented spots sit empty at night – at the same time that restaurants and bars are booming, and need more parking for customers.

Denny uses his own rented spot as an example. “I use it from 9 to 5,” he said.

“All night long that spot is empty…now if the person who rented me that spot knocked 20 bucks off my rent, they could put it out and available for people to use in the evening, when we really have a shortage.”

Denny says they welcome the city’s study – and he’s also encouraging people with ideas to contact The Partnership.

© Global News, 2014

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