City of Saskatoon says no to app that allows people to rent their property for parking
Some major summer festivals are about to kick-off in Saskatoon but some area residents say this is when parking frustrations start to boil over.
Zoe Kelly lives in the Exhibition area and says even with a residential parking permit during the Saskatoon Ex, traffic tie-ups and crowded streets are always an issue.
“It’s busy coming in and out with the traffic.”
This year, Kelly and area homeowners are also going to have to contend with even more Folkfest fans as 17 of the festival’s 21 pavilions will now be at Prairieland Park.
According to Randy Grauer with the City of Saskatoon’s Community Services, special parking passes will not be given out to residents for the duration of the event.
“The traffic bylaw is pretty specific, it’s just the Ex proper and Fringe Festival,” he said.
Grauer expects the multi-cultural event to be just as popular as in years’ past but said there should be plenty of parking stalls for festival-goers on-site.
Residents however, don’t have faith that Folkfest and possible parking problems aren’t going to be an issue.
“It’s pretty terrible, trying to get to your street driving with all the commotion and worse once you’re there and if your parking spots not there. I have friends who ask to park on my lawn or in my backyard sometimes,” Kelly said.
Allowing family and friends to do that is perfectly fine, said city officials, but renting out your driveway or spots in the back is not permitted. If a neighbour were to report you, you’re technically breaking a city bylaw.
“There’s a couple of issues I guess – you’d have situations where people are literally paving over their backyards and it changes from a residential environment or what you might expect to be a residential environment into a commercial environment,” Grauer added.
The co-founder of the Offstreet app said it’s a shame that Saskatoon isn’t on-board.
“We’re trying to build a market place for on-demand parking so if people have private spots- they use our app to rent them out to people looking for parking when they’re not using them,” said Matt Fahlman, co-founder of the Saskatchewan-based app.
Their primary customer base in Regina is nurses Fahlman said, who only require a parking spot a few days a week versus shelling out big bucks for a monthly pass at the hospital site.
“If the spot is sitting empty and there’s people looking for parking, it’s kind of a logical connection. I don’t think we’re trying to re-invent the wheel by any means.”
Saskatoon city officials say they could come to a compromise especially when they see real value in the app when it comes to the downtown core.
Grauer says ultimately it’s up to citizens to express their opinions on the matter to their city councillor and then it would fall on council to make a decision as to whether residents should be allowed to rent out spots.
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