A Norfolk County pilot project kicking off this week will aim to welcome consumers and visitors to Simcoe’s downtown core.

Beginning today, three downtown parking lots will transition from a 2-hour maximum to a 48-hour limit until Dec. 31. During that time, County staff will consistently encourage those who require parking for extended periods – including individuals who work downtown and those who rent apartments with no assigned parking – to utilize these longer-term lots as much as possible, thereby making the shorter on-street parking more available to customers of the downtown businesses.  The overall intent is to both provide longer parking options for those who need more than the 2-hour limit available at on-street parking stalls, as well as make the on-street parking more available to customers of the various businesses in Downtown Simcoe.

The lots undertaking this change are as follows:

  • Lot 1 – Bordered by Culver, Argyle, and Sydenham streets
  • Lot 2 – 86 Argyle street at the Lynn River bridge
  • Lot 3 – Between Kent & Colborne streets near Robinson and Young.

“Over the last year and a half, Norfolk County residents, visitors, and our business community have been affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Zvi Lifshiz, Norfolk County Director of Strategic Innovation and Economic Development. “Now, with the return of in-store shopping and significant growth in the number of customers coming into the Downtown, we are seeing an increase in parking-related issues. By pursuing this pilot project, our goal is to support the businesses of the downtown by increasing the availability of street-side parking so that businesses experience noticeably improved access for their customers.”

“As a result of this project, we’re really hoping that downtown residents and staff of local businesses will experience a higher level of confidence being able to park for more than two hours without the possibility of parking enforcement,” said Jim Millson, Norfolk County Supervisor of By-law Enforcement.

The new project gained legs this past spring when Norfolk staff from Economic Development, Roads, Clerks, and By-Law began conducting a broad review of parking as it relates to both urban core issues and tourist zones. The information-gathering process included input from the Simcoe BIA and other community groups, with more to follow in the coming months.

Staff will be dealing with parking issues in a phased approach, with parking in the Simcoe downtown core the first to be addressed.

Parking passes and reserved paid parking areas are possible future projects being discussed to ease downtown issues. Paid parking and other measures will also be investigated in a subsequent phase dealing with popular tourist zones.

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