We’re back in the Limestone City after a whirlwind adventure that took us west on the MacDonald-Cartier Freeway with stop overs in Ontario’s feel good town, the big smoke, the city of opportunity, as well as the city of waterfalls steel. I always enjoy visiting other urban centres, both large and small, as it affords an opportunity to gain insight into the way our neighbours are doing business. In the past, we’ve highlighted differences by asking what if Kingston were to incorporate measures ranging from Victoria’s green parking scheme, to New York’s pedestrian-friendly streets, and Calgary’s atheist bus ads. Our latest trip has spawned another interesting ‘what if…‘ question, but perhaps this query would be better phrased as ‘why not?’.
If you’ve parked downtown over the past 4 years, you’ve undoubtedly used one of the automated, solar-powered parking machines. Kingston’s pay and display parking system may be a bit pricier than metered parking, however the balance on parking receipts carries over when you move your vehicle from one location to another. As far as I know, Kingston was not the first to adopt this system, as cities such as Toronto also use receipt-based parking on their streets. Toronto’s parking stations are identical to Kingston’s, in that payment can be made with coins, as well as credit cards. Without getting into the minutia of the text on the receipts, the content on the front-side of Toronto’s parking slips are much the same as ours. Further, while the backside of Toronto’s slips displays advertising, the reverse side of Kingston’s receipts contains the following, redundant text:
Must move vehicle from this street block or lot after posted maximum stay. Use attended lot for longer stay. Display other side up.
Hence, today’s ‘what if…’, or rather ‘why not’ question concerns advertising on the underutilized, reverse side of Kingston’s parking receipts. As Toronto has demonstrated, businesses such as Rogers are willing to shell out money to market their products and services on parking passes. Although I’ve been unable to determine how much this advertising space is being sold for, I’m certain that the advertising revenue would only add much needed cash to the Limestone City’s bottom line. So what’s stopping us from doing this? Do you consider the backside of our parking passes a sacred ad-free space, or does it make perfect sense to incorporate advertising on the flipside of Kingston’s parking receipts?