The City of St. Catharines upgrades parking in the downtown core

As a result of numerous public consultations and the completion of the Downtown Parking Study, the City of St. Catharines will be moving forward on upgrades to deliver a wider range of payment options for those parking in the downtown core.

Throughout the course of 2020, one of the first changes residents are likely to see is the installation of new pay-and-display parking machines in downtown lots and on designated streets, replacing roughly 140 older meters with about 20 pay-and-display machines. The machines — which will allow for increased payment options including cash and credit card — are designed to reduce clutter on sidewalks and enhance the aesthetic of the city’s streets. These new machines will achieve this while also improving access to businesses and attractions, especially for those with limited mobility or mobility-assisting devices. Parking lots will be outfitted with the new machines first, followed by machines replacing space-specific meter heads around the downtown core.

“This is really about providing options for our residents. Not everyone carries cash anymore so this will, for a large number of drivers, greatly improve their experience in parking downtown,” said Brian Applebee, manager of transportation services in the City of St. Catharines. “At the same time, it will make the most-used sidewalks more pedestrian friendly, while reducing clutter on our streets. It’s a win for drivers and pedestrians alike.”

The addition of new parking machines isn’t the only change residents might notice as the year progresses.

In December 2019, the City rolled out tap or scan phone payment for special event periods at city-owned garages, allowing drivers to pay the $5 fee through their phone using ApplePay, GooglePay, PayPal or the Honk mobile app. Additionally, a gradual expansion of the lots that allow payment through the Honk mobile app will take place during 2020.

Effective as of January 1, 2020, residents might have noticed a slight rate increase from $1.50 an hour to $1.75 an hour for all city-owned garages, off-street lots and paid on-street parking. Permit-only lots and other garages have also seen slight increases to their parking rates. Hours of operation for parking spaces have remained the same from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, with the exception of when special-event parking is in place. Metered parking is free outside those hours, except between the hours of 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., where parking is prohibited.

Special parking prices apply when events are taking place at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre or Meridian Centre. During those events, pricing is $5 at both city-owned parking garages and the Head Street and Garden Park parking lots. Park at David S. Howes Way parking lot, however, that will come at a cost of $10 to be paid by cash only on entrance.

Residents are invited to visit www.stcatharines.ca/Parking for more information on parking within the city.

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