Trying to find parking near the University of Winnipeg (U of W), especially during the weekday, can be challenging.
Drivers may struggle with a limited number of spots, two-hour limits and $3 per-hour rates.
Well, drivers may soon fear no more, (or, at the very least, fear a little less), as the new bylaw governing parking in Winnipeg has brought a number of potentially helpful measures into effect.
The by-law contains several provisions, but a small handful of them are of particular relevance to the U of W community. Arguably most relevant is the availability of 30-minute extensions to parking that’s already paid, either at the meter or via the PayByPhone app.
Colin Stewart, spokesperson for the Winnipeg Parking Authority, explains that since U of W students have been some of the quickest adopters of the PayByPhone app over traditional parking meters among any demographic in the city, they should be getting the most usage out of these extensions.
“We expect students to pick up on this and use it way more than the rest of the general public, because everyone’s got a smartphone,” he says. “If you have to go all the way back to your car to add the extra 30 minutes, that’s much harder to do than doing it on your phone.”
Imagine a situation where a class, lab or group work session runs longer than one anticipated while paying for parking. Whereas previously one would have to leave to move their car and come back, they can now simply purchase an extension on their smartphone in a matter of seconds.
Other changes introduced within the by-law include a requirement to park on a different block when the maximum time is reached in a 1- or 2-hour zone, and a new process for disputing parking tickets.
Whereas ticket disputes used to mean going to Provincial Court to speak to a Justice of the Peace, they can now be settled at the Parking Store, located at 495 Portage Ave, next to the U of W Student Services office.
Tomasz Maciejewski, an Education student, is enthusiastic about the bylaw changes.
“I welcome any changes that will make things easier for students who drive, especially given how limited the options are at the downtown campus,” Maciejewski says.
While he’s satisfied with the new bylaw, he wishes the university administration would do more with private companies to address the cost of parking on or near campus.
“People live, work and study in different places, and a car can be a necessity in spite of the other options available,” he argues. “Students who drive deserve better than to have their needs exploited by companies like Impark.”