COVID-19 Update: Free Weekend Parking Starting December 12th
Free weekend parking coming later this month
Parking will be free on Saturdays from Dec. 12 until the end of April, a move that is expected to cost the city about $350,000 in lost revenue.
Saskatoon motorists won’t have to worry about plugging city-owned parking meters on weekends for a few months.
At its Monday meeting, city council voted in favour of a proposal to eliminate Saturday parking fees and fines from Dec. 12 until the end of April, a move estimated to cost just shy of $350,000.
Mayor Charlie Clark introduced the measure after promising to do so on the campaign trail in October, part of a broader re-election strategy aimed at getting people out of their homes and into local businesses.
However, it is not clear if free parking on Saturday will accomplish that. Lynne Lacroix, the city’s general manager of community services, said city staff could not find research on how free parking affects businesses.
The decision is expected to cost $242,300 in lost parking revenue, $119,200 in lost ticket revenue and $10,800 in lost temporary reserve parking revenue, offset by $15,900 in bank fees and $6,500 in operating costs.
Of that total, around $56,000 is expected to be incurred in 2020, with the remainder coming next year. Council agreed to discuss the 2021 financial implications at its budget deliberations this week.
The city treats parking revenue slightly differently than other sources of cash in that a portion of it is used to fund streetscape improvements and another portion is directed to the business improvement districts.
Council opted not to decrease the BID grants, a decision that will likely please Riversdale BID executive director Randy Pshebylo, who wrote a letter requesting that the organizations be kept whole.
While parking will be free on Saturdays over the coming months, other restrictions will still be in place — and drivers can still be ticketed for exceeding the parking time limit.