The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville unveiled its new parking permit program last month in portions of four downtown Stouffville parking lots.
The new permit system, approved by Whitchurch-Stouffville’s council in April, was part of the comprehensive On-Street Residential and Commercial Parking Study conducted over the course of the last year and a half.
As part of the study, council approved the need for the new permits, along with new signage and wayfinding, better customer service practices to help citizens with their parking concerns, and more consistent parking enforcement.
Stouffville has three hour free parking on most of its roads, including Main Street and all residential streets, and in many of its town-owned parking lots. The study found that there was no means of accommodating long-term parking in the downtown area.
“Many downtown businesses approached us saying they need parking alternatives for their staff who frequently require parking longer than three hours,” said Tamara Carlson, manager of customer services and project lead. “Employees were getting parking tickets – but they didn’t have any other option.”
Business owners have first right to purchase the new permits, Carlson said.
The parking lots that now have a portion dedicated to permit parking include the Park Drive South parking lot in Memorial Park, the Market Street parking lot south of Main Street, 6240 Main Street parking lot and the 12 Edward Street parking lot.
None of the parking lots owned and operated by GO Transit, nor the lot at the Leisure Centre, are affected.
“GO Transit riders and business owners have historically parked on Main Street past the 3-hour limit. This creates situations where short-term visitors, such as shoppers and delivery vehicles, cannot access the businesses they need too,” Carlson said.
“Allowing business owners to purchase dedicated parking spaces for their staff now frees up more parking on Main Street for shoppers,” said Tina Sharma, downtown coordinator “From a business perspective, it’s a win-win situation.”
Of the over 330 parking spots the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville owns in parking lots in downtown Stouffville, 81 will now be set aside for long-term permit parking. The remaining 251 remain free for three hours.
Permits are good for one dedicated spot and can have two license plate numbers assigned to it. Therefore if a staff member goes on vacation, another one can use it, Carlson said.
The permits can be purchased weekly, monthly, or in three- or six-month stints for fees ranging from $30 to $200
The Parking Study also indicated the need to enhance parking enforcement, particularly the three-hour limit.
“Stouffville has had a three-hour time limit for as long as I can remember,” said Linda Mainprize, Manager of By-Law Enforcement. “But we have struggled with having enough staff to enforce it. With the addition of two new recruits to our force, we can now enforce the by-law more effectively.”
Residential parking permits are also available for anyone needing parking longer than 3 hours Mainprize said.
Implementing permit parking is only part of the plan to alleviate the parking issues in Stouffville, said Carlson.
“Other issues still exist, such as parking in residential areas and school zones, but we are working hard on those areas too,” she said. “It’s a process that takes time to be implemented correctly.
“I want to sincerely thank the hundreds of residents and businesses owners for being engaged in this project and providing candid and constructive feedback throughout the study period.”
Permits for downtown lots, and residential streets, can be purchased by calling Customer Service at (905) 640-1900 or visiting Town Hall at 111 Sandiford Drive, Stouffville.