BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — During the September 16 Municipality of Grey Highlands Council meeting, Chamber of Commerce administrator Michelle Patey presented the group's concerns regarding parking in Flesherton and Markdale. She cited a lack of marked spaces and signage on roads in both downtown areas as an impairment to the business community. "Retailers are seeing customers driving past them not knowing where to park," said Patey.
Patey explained that traffic problems could also be addressed quickly and without much investment. "Drivers are unsafely merging two lanes into one," she said. In her presentation, she also described how drivers are using the parking lanes to pass vehicles as they slow down or stop to turn left, causing a dangerous situation for pedestrians.
"Locals are taking things into their own hands," said Patey as she described vehicles using the parking lane to pass-on-the-right at village intersections. The picture above shows one grass-roots attempt made to stop the practice.
According to Patey, a Transportation Committee of Council made several recommendations regarding the parking situations in Markdale and Flesherton but they were never acted upon. Grey County agreed with the proposal made in 2012 to mark parking spaces on east-west roads in both communities. Councillor Paul Allen confirmed that many of the ideas presented by Patey in her September 16 Chamber of Commerce delegation were echoed in a document that he, himself, helped to prepare and present to Council in 2012.
The issue has also been revisited since then. "In 2018, Chamber Board member Don Kopplin and the Chamber’s summer student performed an exhaustive review of parking spots throughout our municipality. The report was provided to the then-current CAO," explained Patey.
In July, 2019, Councillor Allwood brought forth a motion requesting staff to look at the parking issue in all our communities and come back with solutions to be included in the 2020 budget. Grey Highlands Director of Transportation and Environmental Services, Herb Lemon was set to present a plan for Markdale but Patey would like it to include Flesherton as well.
Among the Grey Highlands Chamber of Commerce suggestions for improvements are painted parking spaces with signs indicating time limits and municipal parking signs at lots in Flesherton and Markdale with directional signs leading vehicles to these areas. The picture above shows proposed marked parking areas in Flesherton.
Patey lamented that parking limits and bylaw enforcement were included in the 2012 plan which did not come to fruition at that time and emphasized the need to get something done about this. "We need a high turnaround and we need to move in the right direction," she said, marking the urgency of the parking problem. "We should also look at best practices and ensure that the new parking spaces include accessibility spots to maintain a proper ratio for our community."
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