Most of the town issues don’t affect me as I live out of town. But this so-called parking problem is a concern when I do business in town.
Some seem to forget that Rimbey is a rural community, with a heavy dose of oilfield related business; many of us drive full size pickups. Driving straight into or backing out of an angle spot is safer than trying to parallel park between two compact cars, especially when there is no signage to designate where one spot starts and the other ends. Just look at the mishmash of parking on the north side, and alas many of us are a wee bit rusty on our parallel parking skills.
I don’t know the exact numbers, but I do know there is a healthy population of seniors in town and the surrounding area who are still independent enough and rely on their vehicles to get around. Angle parking, I believe, is much easier for them also — rather than trying to wiggle in between two vehicles. How many seniors would get stranded and stuck in the wintertime from that ridge of snow that always gets left against the curb from partial snow removal if they had to parallel park into it? Or fall getting out onto a slippery roadway?
Approximately three angle parked vehicles can be parked in the spot taken by one properly parallel-parked vehicle. Some days in Rimbey Main Street and side streets are full. So on days like that, if you had 20 or 25 parallel parked vehicles on the south side, where may I ask are the 40 to 50 other vehicles going to park? Are seniors expected to park in the hotel parking lot or down by the vet clinic, or the Co-op and have to walk when it’s -30 degree C weather to the drugstore for medications. The autobody shops and insurance companies will profit with the increase of business from dented bumpers. But I see Main Street businesses losing out. People shop where they can park close. When there is no parking they go elsewhere.
Parallel parking doesn’t speed up traffic flow. It takes longer for a person to get their car parallel parked — especially if they are having problems and also has the tendency to cause waiting drivers to get annoyed with that person. A vehicle backing out of a spot only takes a few seconds, hardly impeding the flow of traffic.
You just have to be an observant, courteous driver. When driving down Main Street, slow down and pay attention. If you see somebody backing up, be polite let them out, it only takes a few seconds of your time. The same when backing up, slowly back out so that oncoming drivers can see you and can stop. That’s what reverse lights on our vehicles are for. It’s never been a problem for me.
Another thing made me shake my head, what’s this Russian roulette thing at the four-way stop. The odd time maybe two of us have arrived at exactly the same time. It’s an easy solution, show courtesy, take two extra seconds and wave the other driver on. Boy that’s faster than playing rock, paper, scissors and no road rage involved.
Addressing the truck drivers. So let me understand this, they can do business in town as long as they don’t park — how does that work? I think if the guys and gals can stop for a few minutes and grab a coffee and snack at the GTI, it makes them safer and more alert on our roads. The crosswalk they are supposed to be blocking has pedestrian lights, which I understand means you stop for pedestrians when it is flashing. The trucks are parked to the curb so there is plenty of room to drive by in your own lane. Actually, they serve to slow down drivers speeding into town. Boy there’s that slowing down traffic to make it safer thing again. And as far as them blocking the vision from the side intersection, the trees are what blocks the sight line.
If council does this thing, then they had better be buying up the vacant, unoccupied lots on Main Street and building parking lots, or offering a free park and ride from the community centre. Their other alternative would to make Main Street a one-way east, keep the angle parking, put up better no parking signage close to intersections and reroute an alternate side street the other one way. But I don’t see that to be feasible either.
This so called parking problem is a molehill that doesn’t need to be made into a mountain.