Moose Jaw has one of the most unique downtowns in all of Canada.
A handful of restaurants have been doing their part to add to that appeal, by adding parking (roadside) patios during the summer months. A parking patio is a sidewalk patio that has been extended to include temporary conversion of designated parking stalls located on public streets.
The Mad Greek restaurant has been operating a parking patio for the past three years.
"Working with the Downtown Moose Jaw Association (DMJA) and groups like that, it's actually something we find attractive for our downtown," said Mad Greek owner John Iatridis. "I'd love to see more businesses doing it. It just creates another element to our downtown. I think we have one of the most beautiful downtowns in the country and doing things like that is just another thing that will improve it."
Iatridis says the idea of creating a parking patio originated during the pandemic to try and create seating options. He notes the patio is a popular option when the weather cooperates. The plan is to take it down at the start of September.
"[It's] just something to give our customers an option," he added. "Sometimes you have to do things whether it's a money maker or not. Just something to say 'thank you' to the people that support you and give them an option to have something else, something nice."
Moose Jaw's Director of Planning & Development Michelle Sanson says the idea of installing parking patios came from the Downtown Moose Jaw Association back in 2021. It's something that has become popular in other centres and the DMJA thought it would be a good fit for Moose Jaw. Four downtown businesses are operating parking patios this summer.
"It just adds to the character and the vibrancy and adding people around the city and in the downtown just adds to some of the fun parts of coming downtown and seeing people and eating outside and enjoying the weather," she remarked. "I seem to see quite a few people using them and enjoying being outside, especially when we have a short summer and enjoying the weather."
The city has a few rules that apply to operating a parking patio.
Parking patios and seasonal boardwalks must operate solely within the confines of the designated parking space(s) and the adjacent sidewalk. Additional space may be used for an additional fee.
The rental cost of a seasonal parking stall with a parking metre is $7.50 per day for a single parking stall plus $3.40 for each additional parking stall or a $1,100 seasonal rate plus $500 for each additional parking stall. Fees will be reduced by 50 per cent for parking stalls without parking metres.
Parking patios and seasonal boardwalks are prohibited in a loading zone or pedestrian ramp and they must be a minimum of 6 metres away from any intersection, bus shelter or bus stop
Significant vertical design elements (planters, fences) need to be included along the outer edges of parking patios and seasonal boardwalks.
Parking patios and seasonal boardwalks must provide:
- Barriers that are placed at both ends of the parking patio and seasonal boardwalk to the satisfaction of Public Works. The barrier that faces oncoming traffic must be angled to divert vehicular traffic onto the roadway.
- Traffic glow posts must be placed along the length of the parking patio or seasonal boardwalk
- Fencing is required around the perimeter of the parking patio and seasonal boardwalk.