Motorists stopping in downtown Lethbridge are noticing the parking meters in front of their stalls have been replaced with new, yellow kiosks.
The city’s new parking system kicked off Monday and will manage more than 1,900 stalls.
Parking costs range from $0.45 per hour to $1 per hour, depending on which zone drivers park in.
The City of Lethbridge thinks these changes will allow more people to visit and shop in the downtown core because there are time limits on all spaces.
“As part of that, we’re making the downtown equitable for all businesses and creating some fairness.
“But what we’re finding is those blocks that had time-restrictive parking – (vehicles) were parked in all day, not creating some parking turnover opportunities,” the city’s parking coordinator, Val Fellger, said.
However not all businesses are on board with the parking plan.
Michael Smith owns Mike’s Place Inc. and said it will hurt customers making a quick visit.
“It used to be one hour (free parking) right in front of the store and then two hours across the street. So for them to have to stop, take that time out to add parking – even if it’s a simple app to add, it’s still that extra inconvenience,” he said.
“(Customers) want to run in, they want to run out. And think of a mom with a couple of kids that has to go deal with the parking. It’s going to have an effect.”
But a couple of doors down at the Chrome Salon & Spa, D’Laney Weston noted her customers are on board with the extra cost so they don’t have to move their car during their appointment.
The kiosks don’t currently accept debit cards, but Fellger said it might be an option in the future.
Payments can also be made by registering a credit card on the Way To Park app.
Anyone using a credit card at a kiosk will have to pay a minimum $1.80 no matter how long they plan to park for, the equivalent of approximately two hours in most stalls.
Free evening and weekend parking is still in effect.