THE city doubled downtown and Exchange District parking fees and restricted the amount of time for parking last year to free up spots.
Trouble is, a majority of Winnipeggers don't see any difference in the number of spots.
In a survey of 407 Winnipeggers who drive downtown, Prairie Research Associates reports 78 per cent of them say they haven't seen a difference in on-street parking availability downtown or in the Exchange District since the city increased hourly fees to $2 per hour from $1 last November and restricted parking to a maximum of two hours.
"People always complain about parking," Kerry Dangerfield, a partner at the company, said Thursday. "But what is a little surprising in our survey is perception is important. If they don't notice a change, then they look at it as a cash grab. It certainly doesn't encourage people to go downtown."
Dangerfield said he hopes the city is studying actual parking turnover. "Maybe the turnover numbers are actually different... if so, people aren't noticing."
Last year, city council voted to restrict on-street parking and raise the fees at 143 pay stations downtown and in the Exchange District. Changes also included having meters start one hour earlier and extending downtown evening metered parking until 8:30 p.m.
Dangerfield said the survey also asked people whether they would agree to see public funding used to increase parking downtown and, by a slim majority, people said yes. Fifty-one per cent of people who park downtown say they support public funding, while 45 per cent oppose it.
The survey, which was part of PRA's Omnibus survey and not funded by any public or private organization, is accurate plus or minus five per cent, 19 times out of 20. It was conducted from April 8 to May 3 by phone.