Sylvan Lake’s pay parking experiment was a success.
The town introduced pay parking along its popular lakefront areas this past summer as a way to generate revenue for upkeep, maintenance and extra enforcement downtown.
Rolled out in mid-May, a few early glitches meant it was not fully operational until July. Pay parking ended on Sept. 15.
The results are now in and they are positive, indicates a report that went to town council this week. Parking meter profits were $72,802, up from the $62,451 anticipated. In all, 41,867 parking tickets were sold, two-thirds of them paid by credit card.
Even better, start-up costs, including installing pay stations, came in at $203,633, well under the $535,000 originally anticipated.
Based on the rosier numbers, the town expects to pay back the cost of pay parking in 2.8 years instead of more than eight years.
Sylvan Lake communications officer Joanne Gaudet said council will consider some tweaks before pay parking begins again May 15.
“One of the concerns we can control as far as our experience down there, is signage, as far as knowledge of the program and access to the pay stations,” she said.
The few tickets that were quashed were dropped on the basis signing was not clear.
As well, on busy days there not enough pay stations.
“There were lineups that were developing last year at the pay stations,” she said. “Council did direct administration to purchase additional pay stations.
“That will be left to more discussion on how many and where.”
Council is also considering a mobile app to allow people to pay for parking on their cellphones.
Parking rates were $2 per hour and $10 per day. An annual parking pass for $126.50 was also available. There was no recommendationt to change those rates.