Parking in Canal Park: Convenient or Frustrating?

Posted at: 08/02/2013 4:44 PM | Updated at: 08/03/2013 10:05 AM
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Finding a parking spot in Canal Park can be tough, but city officials said paying for the parking has gotten easier.

Payment kiosks went up along Canal Park Drive four years ago with the convenient ability to accept credit cards, dollar bills and coins. Still, drivers were forced to park, pay at the kiosk and then return to the car and put the receipt on the dashboard.

That changed last week. Now guests can just pay for parking and go. City officials said it makes the Duluth system identical to ones used in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Still, visitors had mixed opinions about interacting with the kiosks along Canal Park Drive and similar kiosks in off-street parking lots nearby on Friday.

“It's the worst system I've seen in my life and I've seen quite a lot. I'm an old guy,” Bob Conarrow said.

Conarrow said the credit card and dollar bill options were not convenient for him.

“Well, first of all I didn't read the fine print on the thing. I fed it a 5-dollar bill and it didn't give me any change back. It also didn't accept my credit card,” Conarrow said.

He was down from Canada and visiting Duluth for the first time. Conarrow admitted the lack of experience the machine could have skewed his ordeal.

“I think next time I would know what I'm doing,” Conarrow said.

The shift to kiosks and change for receipts is an improvement to some users like Alex Huth.

“The parking, I feel like it's easier than it used to be. I like it personally. I mean it's pretty self-explanatory,” Huth said. “I'd probably give it a B, a B+ on a good day.”

Still, opinions varied on if the kiosks along Canal Park Drive and in off-street parking lots nearby make it more or less convenient to park and pay in Canal Park. The changes for parking along Canal Park Drive took a back seat to interacting with the kiosks for several people on Friday.

Parking along Canal Park Drive remains limited to 2 hours, but the public parking lots nearby have longer time limits and similar kiosks.

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