The city has already issued over 150 tickets and towed more than 50 vehicles while enforcing no-stopping and no-parking zones along sections of Jasper Avenue and Whyte Avenue during Oilers playoff games.
The bans are in effect between 6 p.m. and midnight on every night the Oilers play — whether at home or away.
No stopping or parking is allowed on Whyte Avenue between Gateway Boulevard and 109 Street, and on Jasper Avenue between 100 Street and 109 Street.
The bans — which police say have been effective so far — are meant to ease congestion in those high-traffic areas while also keeping roads clear for emergency crews.
“We still have operational duties going on,” EPS Acting Supt. Gary Godziuk said. “EMS still has medical emergencies to respond to. So, we want those known predictable gathering areas to be as competition-free as we can.”
When they were first enacted, the parking and no-stopping zones started at 7 p.m., but they were later revised to start at 6 p.m. Signs have been up on light posts since April 11.
“Within these restrictions, the no-parking and no-stopping zones, there is no tolerance,” Erin Blaine, a parking enforcement coordinator, said. “However, what we would like to do at the very beginning is have compliance versus enforcement. That’s our number-one priority: compliance, safety, to not have to issue these tickets or tow in the first place.”
However, questions are being raised about how the bans are being advertised.
The areas along Whyte and Jasper avenues under the ban are covered by the city’s e-park system. There is no information or warning about the parking ban on the e-park machines’ display screens, but the pay machines are being physically covered in a hood during game days.
No-parking/no-stopping signs will also be posted on the e-park machines.
“In reviewing our past experiences with the poles… we’re also going to be applying them to the e-park machines on both sides of the machine,” parking supervisor Brian Murphy said. “The same type of messaging, same type of signage.”
He said the city is doing its best to alert people of the rules.
“It takes a lot of effort on the city’s side of it to ensure that all these machines are in place and hooded, and signs are up. It’s a balance.”
Down the road, officials may look at getting those messages to appear on the e-park machine screens and an alert if you pay on the e-park app.
“The system itself, it takes a lot of technical support to do short-term intermissions for parking and that sort of thing. So, we’re looking at that for the long run but in the immediate future, we’re relying on the social media, the temporary signage.”
The city’s website lists the parking ban information and will have a banner across the homepage when the ban is in effect. The city has done two PSAs and numerous social media posts related to the ban. It has also notified bar owners in the two areas and supplied them with posters for posting in their establishments.
However, with the e-park machines being hooded starting at 3:30 p.m on game days, it’s eating into business.
“It’s… a little bit of a concern and I am already hearing it from the guests,” said Mike Bhatnatar, who runs The Hat Resto Pub on Jasper Avenue.
Parking downtown is already tough to find and that’s before the city eliminated it in two busy sections for hours ahead of game time.
“There is an issue,” Bhatnatar said. “There is a concern. I’ve heard about it. My guests have spoken about this situation. I honestly don’t know what the solution is.
“You don’t want unhappy guests and they always relate this — not so much to the city — but to the business.”
Parking ambassadors have been on Whyte Avenue and Jasper Avenue warning drivers about the ban.