Signs point way to rarely used lots

Three under-utilized parking areas in Vernon are getting directional signage

Three under-utilized parking areas in Vernon are getting directional signage.

City council voted in favour of a staff request to spend $30,000 of unexpended funds from the 2013 budget for the design and installation of vehicle directional signs to the Bennett lot on 29th Avenue, the Vernon block on 31st Avenue and the parkade.

“We understand a longstanding issue for council, committees, residents, etc. has been proper signage of our under-utilized parking areas in our city centre,” said Cleo Corbett, long range planner for the city.

“The (Downtown Vernon Association) DVA is also trying to encourage people to park in these areas to alleviate pressure from metered, on-street parking locations.”

Coun. Bob Spiers questioned spending $30,000 “to direct people to three parking lots.” When he asked if the price tag included a consultant, Corbett answered yes.

“We do need a transportation engineer to analyze things,” she said. “Every parking lot has to be signed from all different areas to that location and direct people back. Our in-house staff has indicated they don’t have time to finish this.”

Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe voted in favour of the request, saying the issue has been “talked about forever.”

“We’ve gone over the parking issue so often and every single time people talk about there is no appropriate signage to let people know where parking is,” said O’Keefe. “The $30,000 is not a lot of money. We’ve done nothing but complain about lack of signage to those lots forever.”

Spiers motioned to spend only $15,000 on the signage but with no seconder, the motion died. Council voted in favour of spending up to $30,000 this year for the signage though Spiers was against it, and councillors Catherine Lord and Brian Quiring were absent from the meeting.

Staff also asked council to consider the development of what it calls a wayfinding strategy in 2015.

“This can provide a multitude of benefits for residents, visitors and businesses,” said Corbett. “Signage can be used for all types of travellers and can be provided at different scales for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.”

A visitor and wayfinding sign system was developed in 2006 but the signs have become outdated and do not include the new branding of the city and DVA.

A budget for such a strategy in 2015 has yet to be finalized.