District Adds 36 New Parking Stalls Downtown

District of Squamish has added 36 new parking spots and introduced new parking rules to reduce parking congestion in downtown Squamish. District has added two new parking lots, one at the end of Victoria Street (at Loggers Lane) and one at the end of Main Street (at Loggers Lane). The parking lots book-end the Xwu’nekw Park on the Mamquam Blind Channel, with nearly 20 parking stalls on Main Street and about 16 parking stalls on Victoria Street.

The district has also introduced some changes on time limits for parking in the downtown core. New parking signs have been installed in the downtown to clearly mark approximately 250 parking spots which will now have a two-hour parking time. These are located in the heart of the business and shopping district along Cleveland and Second Avenues, and the cross streets between Pemberton Avenue and Victoria Street.

To get a better sense of this “Red” Zone, you can go to the district website to find out a new downtown parking map which highlights where these 250 parking spots are available along with a variety of longer term parking options are available. The map also shows where longer-term parking with no daily limit is available, along with two new lots at the ends of Victoria and Main Streets and the gravel area near the BC Hydro site at the north end of Downtown. The district believes this would an ideal parking spots for employees of downtown businesses. The purple and green areas show where parking is available all day, although some of these lots don’t allow for overnight parking. (http://squamish.ca/discover-squamish/parking-downtown/).

As part of its Cleveland Ave street upgrades, the district recently installed decorative concrete sidewalks and landscaping areas. That beautification project erased as many as eight parking spots but it also helped create a safer pedestrian access between two major parks, said district spokesperson Christina Moore. She said it also help create “bump outs” to slow traffic through the area to improve safety alongside parks where there are often large pedestrian gathering for events and for the weekly Squamish Farmers Market. 

Les MacDonald, the owner of the Copper Coil and Grill, said there has been a net gain in parking in downtown Squamish and he welcomed the council decision to create extra parking, despite the loss of some parking spots. “I don’t think it was a loss of parking space but yes if they had not built a parking spot, I would have been singing a different tune. With this new stalls, we have parking for the restaurants, farmers market and for other events,” he said. 

Executive Director of the Downtown Squamish Business Improvement Association, Bianca Peters, said the organisation is happy with the additional parking spots the district has created.  “The DOS is working on wayfinding and signage and will get back to us shortly. In addition, the BIA requested 4 hour street parking but the DoS had gone with 2. The BIA will be discussing this at our next meeting next week. In the meantime, Nancy McCartney, chair of the committee would like the transit conversation to happen immediately.  The current transit schedule does not suffice if we are to support an active transit plan,” she said.

The district has also introduced a new parking configuration on the east side of Cleveland between the Squamish Arts Council Building and Main Street. Designed to maximize parking and improve safety for road users, the parking spots are BACK-IN only. Moore said it’s a pilot project that is designed to improve traffic safety, and maximize the number of parking spots on a given section of street (angled spots versus parallel spots). When cars park ‘nose first’ into an angled parking spot, they must then back out blind, which is a major hazard to cyclists, pedestrians crossing, and other motorists. It’s an approach other communities are using to make streets safer for everyone with the goal to make road safe for everyone, said Christina Moore, district spokersperson.

With input from the Downtown BIA and other stakeholders, the District has also developed a draft Parking Strategy for planning the community. As a part of that, the district plans to conduct a downtown parking inventory and utilization study, review residential and commercial parking requirements in the Zoning Bylaw so they are appropriate, enforce current parking restrictions, increase the supply of existing on street parking stalls, identify a potential location for a parking structure, amend the Zoning Bylaw to encourage visitor accommodation development in the Downtown, SODC, Waterfront Landing, Scott Crescent (2017). It also plans to establish a long term interest in the parkade location or purchase the site in 2018.