El­gin Street clo­sure a wind­fall of park­ing fines

PressReader - Tke Channel - El­gin Street clo­sure a wind­fall of park­ing fines
When the El­gin Street clo­sure of­fi­cially com­menced a week ago, I should have known that there was more to this mas­sive re­pair job than meets the eye. As I drove down Cartier Street par­al­lel to El­gin, I spied a green hor­net mak­ing his rounds, record­ing parked cars in an­tic­i­pa­tion of tick­et­ing them an hour later.Yes, the El­gin ren­o­va­tion was go­ing to be a year-long mess, but the City of Ot­tawa claimed it was do­ing ev­ery­thing it could to make things bear­able for mo­torists and pa­trons of the many busi­nesses that line that street. After all, wasn’t it the city that an­nounced that its lot at 110 Lau­rier Ave. would be free on week­ends and evenings?What the city didn’t men­tion was that park­ing re­stric­tions on sur­round­ing streets would re­main as they are. Thus, not­with­stand­ing that the El­gin clo­sure re­sults in the loss of dozens and dozens of on-street park­ing spa­ces, lit­tle has been done to make life eas­ier for those look­ing to pa­tron­ize lo­cal busi­nesses.For ex­am­ple, the park­ing limit on Cartier Street re­mains at one hour. The same is true for many other par­al­lel and ad­join­ing streets. One hour leaves lit­tle time for some­one to com­fort­ably shop or dine at an El­gin Street lo­ca­tion.Based on my Mon­day morn­ing sight­ing, no sooner had the street clo­sure be­gun than the green hor­nets were re­leased. This casts doubt on the bona fides of the city’s claim of want­ing to help lessen the bur­den on mo­torists. Apart from open­ing up one garage dur­ing off-hours, it looks like the only help on of­fer from the city is to help it­self to even more park­ing-ticket rev­enue.If the city is sin­cere in its stated aim to help, the least it can do is re­lax park­ing re­stric­tions on neigh­bour­ing streets for the du­ra­tion of the con­struc­tion. It wouldn’t take much to in­crease the on-street park­ing limit on Cartier, Met­calfe and McLeod streets from one hour to two or three.And if our mu­nic­i­pal bu­reau­crats re­ally wanted to be mag­nan­i­mous, they could even make the me­tered park­ing spots free along ad­join­ing streets for the com­ing year. That might even en­cour­age more peo­ple to visit El­gin Street dur­ing the dis­rup­tion.This would en­tail for­go­ing a year of ex­tra park­ing-ticket rev­enue but would show a gen­uine de­sire on the part of the city to help those look­ing to pa­tron­ize El­gin Street busi­nesses. Given the threat that the re­newal project poses to those en­ter­prises, ev­ery ef­fort to ac­com­mo­date po­ten­tial cus­tomers should be con­sid­ered.Here’s hop­ing that the city can meet its one-year goal for com­plet­ing this project and do what it can to as­sist those look­ing to do busi­ness on El­gin Street. Oth­er­wise, we may be look­ing at a project dead­line more akin to com­plet­ing the El­gin Mar­bles.

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