High River, AB: The Town of High River is working on several initiatives to maximize parking in the downtown area that will support increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic. In the new downtown design, angle parking has been replaced with parallel parking, so additional parking is being created in adjacent areas to ensure there is ample access within a reasonable distance from businesses.
“Parallel parking is a much safer alternative, as well as creating space for two-way traffic flow and added pedestrian access” said Mayor Craig Snodgrass. “But Council is also taking steps to ensure that appropriate parking levels are maintained in this important area of our town.”
The parking lot north of the museum may be expanded during Phase 2 of the Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) to encompass part of the CP right-of-way to the east. Construction on the new gravelled parking area is dependent on securing the land from CP Rail.
“This lot is right across from Third Avenue and will provide additional parking spaces a few steps away from downtown businesses,” explained Snodgrass. “While the Town is making efforts to secure its long-term use, additional temporary parking can be made available immediately south of the Museum on CP Rail lands, with very little cost.”
Providing parallel parking along Centre Street is another option that would increase capacity in the downtown area. Council is also reviewing the Land Use Bylaw (LUB) to consider adding standards so that parking challenges are addressed as part of any new downtown development.
A parking study, completed by Burnt & Associates Engineering Ltd, reported that there are currently 670 on-street and 172 off-street parking spaces available in the downtown area, which is sufficient parking for the present. The additional parking provided along Centre Street and on the CPR lands will increase the total number of spaces by 191. The Town is developing a map that highlights all downtown parking locations, with the estimated walking distances from each area. Copies will be available at all businesses, hotels and Town facilities, and posted on the Town’s website.
Snodgrass added that Council wants to work with business owners and residents to establish shared solutions for long-term parking needs in the core area.