Parking ticket confusion discourages downtown shoppers, business owner says – Manitoba

The city may have reversed course and refunded drivers ticketed for parking on downtown streets this month but one Exchange District business owner worries the damage might already be done.

Tara Davis owns Tara Davis Studio, a boutique shop on McDermot Avenue. Business was hopping the Saturday before Christmas when one of her longtime customers came in saying she had just received a ticket.

Davis was surprised because like many others, she believed that parking was free on Saturdays for the first two hours. She checked the sticker on the meter, which said drivers get two complimentary hours of parking on Saturday.

A parking meter in downtown Winnipeg’s shows a sticker that says two hours of parking are free on Saturdays. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

“I have a pop-up gallery three blocks down McDermot, so I walked down there and every single vehicle had a ticket on it, which was rather disheartening for those who were down here doing their holiday shopping,” Davis said in an interview with CBC’s Information Radio.

After hearing about the tickets, she went out and put sticky notes on parking meters saying “You must pay on Saturday now!” to prevent more people from being fined. 

The city says it recently changed its interpretation and enforcement of a bylaw that has been in place for more than a decade. About 82 vehicles were ticketed under the new enforcement.

On Wednesday, the city said it will refund or cancel any tickets handed out downtown on Saturdays between Dec. 2 and Dec. 23, 2017. Going forward, drivers will be able to park for free up to two hours downtown on Saturdays between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., excluding hospital zones.

Although Davis says she’s glad the city has decided to cancel the tickets, she worries customers who received a ticket will be less likely to return.

“What’s really a shame is that people are down here, a lot are down here because they want to shop local, they want to shop handmade, and they want to contribute to the…

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