In response to citizen concerns about waterfront/ beach parking, staff have spent considerable time coming up with plans to respond. They propose significant changes in recommended rates and areas metered with four related plans: 1) expansion of places where parking fees are charged with a new daily pass proposed; 2) seasonal passes for residents, both located near the waterfront and elsewhere; 3) increases of rates downtown and changes in passes; 4) improved provision for those needing accessible parking. A fifth plan to separate downtown lots into tiers was deferred until there is experience of the other changes. Considerable input has already been received from advisory committees and citizens but staff are recommending a public information meeting on 7 February and hope for a decision at the CoW Council meeting on 14 February.
The staff report is 14 pages long and includes a lot of information – but below is my summary. The full report is available from the Links below and includes revenue and cost estimates. These are omitted from the summary because in the end, I doubt that these will be the major factors in any decision.
Expansion of Paid Waterfront Parking Areas
Figure 4 below shows the area to be categorised for waterfront parking (click to expand). This adds 176 paid spaces. Note that there would be a drop-off zone on King St. in front of St. Peters. Below are details on how residents’ needs are accommodated.
Note that all fees for parking are shown separately below the following details.
New Daily Waterfront Pass
It is not practical to install Pay and Display machines or meters in the residential areas. Paid parking in these new residential areas will be best managed by issuing a daily parking pass that will only be available for purchase online either in advance or on the day of use. Passes will not be required to be printed or displayed as the license plate will be registered to the paid pass instantaneously. By-law enforcement will simply have to enter the license plate number to check if parking has been paid.
Upon the purchase of a pass, purchasers will be required to read and acknowledge that parking is only available on a first come first served basis, there will be no guarantee of obtaining a parking spot, and there will be no refunds if a spot cannot be located. Daily passes will be valid for all areas outlined in the waterfront parking area – that’s per the map above (new residential area plus all existing waterfront lots), but not downtown.
As a result of public comments received (see links below), the hours of enforcement will be limited to between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. This will allow the local daycare business to continue operation with parent drop off and pick up times existing outside of the enforcement hours. The proposed enforcement time will also allow for local residents to have visitors come and go more easily and for residents to park in front of their homes before and after typical working hours without having to obtain a pass.
Passes for All Residents of Cobourg
Proposed New Resident Waterfront Seasonal Pass
In response to the Beach User Survey and Waterfront Working Group’s suggestion, staff are proposing that a resident waterfront seasonal pass be established. The resident pass would be valid for the same time period as all waterfront paid parking is enforced between Victoria Day and Thanksgiving. Passes would be valid at all waterfront parking areas as well as the southeast waterfront neighbourhood (see map above).
In order for a resident to purchase a waterfront seasonal pass, documentation will be required showing proof of ownership or residence. Seasonal resident waterfront passes are proposed to cost the same as a daily pass (that is, the rate for one day) with the exception of residents who live in the southeast waterfront neighbourhood who will receive a 50% discount.
Resident only Parking Lot
In response to the Beach User Survey, a new pilot is also being proposed to try utilizing the Charles Street parking lot as ‘resident only’ parking. Only those who have purchased a Resident Waterfront Seasonal Pass will have a first-come-first served opportunity to park in the Charles Street lot. No other passes will be valid at the Charles Street lot.
Downtown On-Street Parking
Should an increase be applied to the waterfront parking rates, a downtown (lots and metered) parking rate increase is also required otherwise beach goers could tend to park further away in the downtown core where cheaper rates exist for the day.
Proposed Daily Pass Changes
Currently there is a $5/day parking pass available that is valid in any downtown municipal parking lot. Considering the proximity of many parking lots in Cobourg to the beach, this is an extremely low rate for parking especially during the summer months. In order to establish increased waterfront parking rates, the daily pass is being recommended to increase in fees as well as be limited to only the Covert Street parking lot since that it is the furthest away from the waterfront area.
Parking Ticket Fine Changes
Currently the fine for not paying or parking beyond an expired meter/pay & display ranges from $20 to $30. With an increase in daily and monthly rates it will also be imperative that parking fines are increased accordingly.
Meters on King Street West of Spring
Also, in 2022, staff are proposing to implement paid parking with credit card meters on King Street (north side) between Spring Street and Ball Street. Currently these parking spots permit 1-hour free parking however turnover is reported to be minimal or non-existent. Meters have never existed at this location.
Maximum Time Allotment
As recommended in the 2014 parking study, the maximum parking time allotment for a downtown metered area should be reduced from eight (8) hours to encourage turnover of shoppers and discourage beach/daily parking in close proximity to businesses. Staff are suggesting a three (3) hour time limit which does not prohibit parking for longer than three hours, however it requires the meter/pay and display machine to be topped up every three hours either manually or online utilizing Honk mobile.
Proposed New Resident Accessible Parking Permit
This permit would be available for Cobourg residents with Ontario issued Accessible Parking Permits to purchase at a cost equal to the seasonal resident waterfront pass and equal to the downtown parking lot pass. The pass would allow residents with an accessible permit to park anywhere where paid parking is permitted, including on street parking in the downtown, and not have to pay at location. Staff have over the years heard that those with Accessible Permits want to be treated equitably and pay for parking like everyone else.
Some ideas won’t work
The staff report said:
- Under the heading “Proposed New Paid waterfront parking areas”, the staff report says: “Buying a visitor parking pass for the waterfront in advance is too much of a risk since there would be a good chance that there is no available paid waterfront parking remaining by the time they arrive” But not explained is how this concern is reconciled with “Proposed New Daily Waterfront Pass” – see full report available in links below.
- Regarding the Waterfront Working Group’s suggestion to have permit only or reserved parking spaces for purchase in waterfront lots, this would not be recommended. Each parking space would have to be identifiable either by signs or pavement markings. Signs can easily be stolen or relocated; pavement markings are not feasible in gravel lots (as in Albert St. lot). It would be expected that people who have reserved a spot will find their spot already occupied upon their arrival and By-law / police would be inundated with calls and complaints to have cars removed/towed and/or for refunds
Recommended New Rates for Downtown
Impact on revenue is available in full report – see Links
Waterfront Parking Rates
There is a lot for Councillors and the public to follow – I don’t envy the job staff have of explaining all this at their public meeting. However, given the public’s concern about waterfront parking, these proposals seem to be in line with majority thinking.
Council are not being asked to approve all these changes at the 24 January CoW meeting – they are just being asked that they approve that these recommendations go to a public meeting on 7 February and then to a CoW meeting on 14 February.
Staff Documents about these recommendations
Link Source: Cobourg News Blog
- Full Staff Report
- Comments received – Public and DBIA
- Detailed comments from Transportation Advisory Committee
Previous mentions at Council Meetings
Link Source: Town of Cobourg web site
- Staff Report at November 15th, 2021 Committee of the Whole meeting
- Staff Report at December 6th, 2021 Committee of the Whole meeting
- Beach Survey Results – 4 March 2021
- Managing Crowds at Cobourg Beaches – 11 July 2021 – report on Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee’s recommendations based on citizen survey
- Staff report on PRAC Review of Victoria Park Beach – (input to Council meeting re Managing Crowds at Cobourg Beaches)