Moncton Parking: Bringing Facts To An Opinion Fight

Image: Inda Intiar/Huddle Today

Huddle publishes commentaries from groups and individuals on important business issues facing the Maritimes. These commentaries do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Huddle.

I’m biased, but I’m also informed, and I really do believe Moncton is taking a proactive and unique approach to tackling the parking “perception” problem.

RELATED: Perceived Lack of Parking Could Hinder Attendance At Moncton’s Downtown Events Centre, Poll Says

As you may have noticed I’m putting quotations around perception as experts agree this isn’t a real problem. More details on that here.

Moncton is growing, quickly. Moncton continues to occupy the top spot for three quarters in a row setting new records for New Brunswick and in Atlantic Canada. This growth is the root cause of the “perceived” problem as Moncton works to densify its downtown core. Also, it’s population growth continues to outpace the national average which in my opinion is due to rural in-migration. But I’m not diving deep into that right now.

However, unlike Fredericton or Saint John, its closest neighbors, Moncton has a surprising number of private surface lots and few parking garages. The city has 4000 parking spots in close priority to the event center.

So here is where the issue lies: people need to walk. Which is a valid concern as we have an aging population and winter conditions (like yesterday). However, the issue isn’t that there isn’t parking. It’s that with all the development, people are trying to walk as little as possible–like anyone would when trying to attend an event.

Moncton’s transportation department, hats off to them, understands this issue and rather than build a multimillion-dollar parking garage in a prime development location in the most popular development center in Atlantic Canada (taxpayer money which could be better spent), has chosen to take a technological approach to the solution.

Currently as seen here Moncton has taken a phased approach to this.

  1. First by installing new parking meters that can record in real-time when a spot is paid by coin, credit card or by phone.
  2. Next, by bringing this information online to parkers so they can see in real-time on a website or through the HotSpot app where on-street parking is available roughly 25% of all available parking in Moncton.

Note: the company who introduced these meters is an Atlantic Based company and is leading here in Moncton. We are an innovative group in Atlantic Canada – I swear.

  1. Currently, the city is adding their off-street gated facilities to the real-time parking map.
  2. The final step will be to bring on the private operators so that all or virtually all of the 4000 available parking is in the palm of every event goers hand as they look for parking.

This is being done here and this type of private/municipal partnership is rare if not a novel approach to solving the “perceived” parking issue. I really think when Moncton completes this solution, they’ll have the best-perceived parking experience in Atlantic Canada without building a multi-million-dollar garage to achieve it.

Phillip Curley is CEO of HotSpot Parking. He wrote this piece in response to reading Corporate Research Associates new report on the perceived lack of parking in Moncton as the new Downtown Events Centre is built. Read Huddle’s story on the report here.