January 19, 2018

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Rule change in free parking on Saturdays means tickets for drivers

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The Winnipeg Parking Authority appears to have quietly changed how it enforces the rules that allow drivers to enjoy two hours of free parking on Saturdays.

Previously, those two hours of free parking were just that — free. Now, it appears, the two complimentary hours only begin after the maximum paid time has expired.

Winnipeger Kali Martin noticed the change Saturday, while participating in a pop-up market at 73 Princess St. She noticed a number of cars with tickets around the intersection of Princess Street and McDermot Avenue.

“First thing this morning, around 10:30, I looked out and I saw the parking person ticketing people, and I actually saw she was ticketing one of the other vendors that was here,” she said.

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The Winnipeg Parking Authority appears to have quietly changed how it enforces the rules that allow drivers to enjoy two hours of free parking on Saturdays.

Previously, those two hours of free parking were just that — free. Now, it appears, the two complimentary hours only begin after the maximum paid time has expired.

Winnipeger Kali Martin noticed the change Saturday, while participating in a pop-up market at 73 Princess St. She noticed a number of cars with tickets around the intersection of Princess Street and McDermot Avenue.

"First thing this morning, around 10:30, I looked out and I saw the parking person ticketing people, and I actually saw she was ticketing one of the other vendors that was here," she said.

Martin spoke with the parking enforcement officer, who she says told her to check the city website. The official policy, the officer told Martin, is "two hours of free parking after two hours of paid parking."

"She had probably gotten, maybe, fifteen cars already at that point," Martin said.

A city spokesman confirmed two hours of free parking only begins after the maximum, two-hour period of paid parking has expired.

"The two-hour complimentary on-street parking offer applies at any time between 0800 and 1730 on Saturday and starts immediately following the maximum paid parking purchase. The policy was approved by Council in 2012," the spokesman wrote in an email.

The Winnipeg Parking Authority recently updated the information on its webpage to better clarify how the complimentary two-hour parking works. Six months ago, that website made no mention of the fact free parking only begins after the paid parking period ends.

A June 16, 2017 version of the website accessed through internet archive website web.archive.org states:

"The Winnipeg Parking Authority offers two-hour complimentary parking on Saturdays. This applies to the downtown area only and does not apply to Hospital Zone on-street parking (Health Sciences Centre or St. Boniface Hospital). The two-hour complimentary parking offer applies at any time between 0800 and 1730 on Saturday."

The current website says it was last updated on Dec. 1, 2017.

Martin said parking meters make no mention of the policy.

"There’s a big blue sticker on all of the parking meters — or at least the majority, certainly the ones right in front of where I was today — a big blue sticker that says ‘Two hours of complimentary parking on Saturdays.’"

"It doesn’t say, ‘See website for more details.’"

— Solomon Israel

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History

Updated on Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 6:52 PM CST: Updates story, adds photo

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