The City of Moose Jaw is pushing back the date that it will be implementing one-sided parking on narrow streets.
Initially, it was to be implemented this month, the city will now be looking at June 30, 2023, to allow residents on those streets to make alternative parking arrangements.
Before Monday night’s meeting, this issue last came before city council on May 24, when affected residents voiced their opposition. One idea brought before council was the idea of the city paying for curb cutting. However, narrow streets near Sask Polytech had one-sided parking implemented in 2016.
City administration returned on Monday with more information that residents were not offered curb cutting in 2016, so if it was offered this time around, it would have to be offered to those residents as well. City manager Jim Puffalt said there are alternative options available for residents such as parking in your backyard.
“It's a little bit of a precedent you have to be concerned about. Secondly, is that perhaps we should encourage back lane parking spots for those people that don't have front or back right now,” Puffalt said.
Director of Public Works Darrin Stephanson added that, while there isn’t a formal list of narrow alleys, they have a good idea of which alleys are narrow. Of those alleys, they’ve been able to get garbage trucks down them with ease, so parking shouldn’t be a problem.
Stephanson said, when it comes to which side of the street will be closed to parking, parking downhill would be the preference.
“The only time that that would be potentially changed is if there is a hydrant mid-block that the fire department would need access to,” he said.
During 2016, Stephanson recalled that the city received about four or five complaints total in the transition phase and they were similar concerns that they are hearing again in 2022. There have been no complaints for the past three years and no enforcement issues, according to Stephanson.
Mayor Clive Tolley wanted to tread carefully because there is opposition to one-sided parking from affected residents.
“When people come here and they tell us that they don't want something to happen and we make it happen anyway, I'm a little bit concerned. Hopefully, people will adapt and people will cut curves and make driveways and park in the backyard and a variety of different things to make this work for them,” he said.
When the concerned residents presented their case to city council on May 24, council asked for city solicitor Andrew Svenson’s professional opinion about what would happen if nothing was done about the narrow streets. The councillors were told because the streets do not comply with the National Fire Code, the city could be liable when it comes to fires.
Coun. Heather Eby felt that, while it is unfortunate for residents living on those streets, the city’s hands are tied because it doesn’t comply with the National Fire Code.
“It is very unfortunate that people are not going to be happy. We have a duty to be sure that we comply with the codes that are in place whether we like narrow streets and slow traffic or not,” Eby said.
The city will begin communication with residents immediately to give them plenty of notice that the changes will be happening next year. Residents will also be given three months' notice that they need to look into alternatives if they don’t have off-street parking.