Anyone who parks in downtown Mission will have noticed some changes. Four new loading zones have been created along First Avenue to make deliveries easier, but according to the Downtown Business Association (DBA), the new zones were not necessary and they take away much-needed parking spots from potential customers.
“We tried to explain to them how they really were not necessary. The delivery trucks are in and out in less than five minutes,” said DBA president Carlo Billinger.
“Actually, with the trucks parking by the businesses, it actually slows traffic. It slows down the logging trucks and the gravel trucks.”
Billinger said that since the revitalization project was completed, parking has become the number-one complaint about downtown.
“We are struggling for parking as it is. By putting those in, it’s overkill.”
However, he said the loading zones aren’t all bad.
“There is the one down by the dance studio which is a loading zone/dropoff area. That works fine for the dance studio because it gives them an opportunity to pick up their kids, move on and go out. We have no problem with that one.”
Now that the new loading zones are in place, Billinger said enforcement of the parking limits is key. The District of Mission has moved the bylaws department to the downtown area, on Welton, and Billinger is hopeful they will “be down here more looking after the parking we do have.”
Michael Boronowski, the district’s manager of civic engagement and corporate initiatives, said the loading zones were required by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. He explained because First Avenue is a provincial highway, the ministry required the zones to be put in or it would not approve the new road design needed for the revitalization project and would not supply any funding.
“We’ve all seen delivery trucks double parked on First as they unload, and for us as a normal downtown street, that makes sense, but for a provincial ministry who are ultimately responsible for the road, it doesn’t make sense to reduce your traffic flow in half to allow loading.”
The new loading zones take up about 10 parking spaces along the road, but Boronowski said the spaces aren’t eliminated, just altered. The public can still use them. The loading zones are signed 15-minute loading between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Outside these hours, the loading zones/parking restrictions are not in effect. They also aren’t marked as commercial parking only, meaning that if a person is just popping into a local store for less than 15 minutes, they can use the loading zones.
“If you are doing a pickup or a dropoff at a store and you just have 15 minutes, you can do that,” said Boronowski.
“Just consider them 15-minute spots.”