What if Kingston…

Parking pass receipt, Kingston, OntarioWe’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?

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

8 thoughts on “What if Kingston…

  • As an aside, too – I wasn’t aware that you could move between pay & display spots. I could be wrong – but as far as I knew, each P&D booth thing covered a specific area (Like a given lot, street or block) and when you moved, you had to go to the new P&D booth to get a new receipt.

  • Too funny, guess I should have dug a bit deeper before hitting publish. That said, I can’t understand why businesses aren’t taking advantage of this option. Are the rates too high?

    @Tommy Vallier I can’t find a link to anything that would back up my claim that parking slips are safe for re-using in multiple locations. Regardless, from experience, I am nearly certain this is the case. So long as you are in a parking space that is covered by the receipt/paper slip system, and you’ve still got time remaining (as indicated on your slip), you are good to go. It might seem hard to accept because this new(ish) system could actually save consumers money, and it’s convenient to boot.

  • Actually – I have had a ticket for trying to use a pass puchased on Bagot Street (at City Park) for parking on Barrie Street. Maybe the zones come into play – different rates are charged for different areas…

  • Having planned and implemented a municipal parking revamp, I’ve seen many concepts that might work here. Vary it up and use by pay-by-space for some areas, pay-and-display for others, use a system like Mint for updating your ticket time by cell phone, etc. Kingston does not have to use just one system, and it may be preferable not to.

    As for advertising, I would suggest focusing on local business involvement rather than running to Rogers and their ilk. Here’s the city’s ticket advertising scheme detailed with costs:

  • @That Guy I would love to see Kingston get a cell phone-based ticket system, even if it was only available in certain areas of the city. Further, although I agree that it would be best to promote local businesses, I doubt their pockets are deep enough to afford it. If Rogers hasn’t already jumped on Kingston’s tickets, the likes of The Griz or Kimco arern’t likely to either.

  • I’ve always used the same ticket in various locations. It didn’t even occur to me that it would be a problem and I don’t remember ever seeing that written on a ticket booth. I don’t think the rate changes around the city unless it’s an area that still has metered parking. It’s $1.50 an hour everywhere from what I’ve noticed. I’d be very surprised and disappointed to find out we are expected to pay twice for parking. That’s not very good motivation to shop downtown when I can park for free at the RioCan or the mall.

  • Perhaps potential advertisers don’t want their name associated with the bad taste of getting a parking violation ticket from the omni-present meter cops. Nothing burns people more than paying for parking, only to be a few minutes late getting back to their car, and finding a parking violation ticket on top of what they’ve already paid.

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