278 people took the survey including 182 residents, 52 businesses, 27 patrons and 14 people who work downtown. Highlights include:
* 223 respondents (80%) said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the program.
* 47% of businesses said their customers told them they loved FreeP! and came downtown because of it. However, 42% of customers also said they found it more difficult to find a parking space. 20% said it made no difference to their decision to shop downtown, but was appreciated.
* 64% of businesses said the program was somewhat or very important to the businesses’ overall performance in December.
* almost 10% of people said they came downtown for the first time because of free parking.
Survey respondents also raised concerns about the program.
* 37 respondents said they or their customers could not find parking.
* 18 people said they avoided downtown in December because they couldn’t find parking
* 10 people said they were confused about the lots where Free P! applied
* 7 businesses reported a drop in customers because they couldn’t find parking
A working group of city transportation staff, the Burlington Downtown Business Association, Tourism, and myself have had several debrief meetings to review the program and develop proposals to improve the program, including looking at ways to encourage people who work downtown to continue to park in their usual spot and not fill the premium lots on Brant and Elizabeth by 8:30am before stores open. Those conversations are ongoing, and we will update the public on progress and recommendations.
Your Take: How can we improve the FreeP! in December program? Do you have suggestions for improving the program on Saturdays thoughout the year? Leave a comment below.