Vehicles parked at the side of a road in Philipsburg.
PHILIPSBURG--Due to the growing demand for parking in town, the Philipsburg Promotional Board (PPB) believes that the possibilities of establishing underground parking at the Clem Labega Square and the old Government Building should be explored for the long term and short-term parking created on Cannegieter Street.
The latter would accommodate persons who want to go to town just to shop and patronise businesses. This needs to go hand in hand with an improvement in the public transportation system, PPB told The Daily Herald.
“Philipsburg Promotional Board has come up with a … solution for increasing shopping opportunities by introducing short-term parking intervals along Cannegieter Street, that will significantly create opportunities for increasing sales in retail or do quick pickups or even visits to the ATM [automatic teller machine – Ed.]. Based on the intent of motivating more foot traffic from residents and stay-over tourists, the proposal is that the areas of Cannegieter Street be regulated for short-term parking intervals of 15, 30 and 60 minutes, which can be set out with signage and man-monitored – that if one overstays significantly, that their vehicle be fined an overstay fee. Its close proximity to Back Street and Front Street makes it a viable investment at minimal cost to increase spending downtown,” PPB suggested.
“There are currently some 40 and more parking spots on Cannegieter Street that can become vital in increasing business in the retail and shopping sector in Philipsburg, should such a short-term parking interval policy be implemented throughout the daytime. Business places are eager to welcome more shoppers and such availability of parking in addition to the Clem Labega Square, is likely to be an added attraction to residents and tourists wanting to shop in Philipsburg.”
PPB said these lots are currently occupied for the entire day by vehicles, the value of which can be considered much less than the added year-round economic return that can be derived from making them available to increase sales and turnover in and around the capital.
PPB said in recent years, the daytime economy in Philipsburg has developed rapidly with the advent of seasonal cruise tourism and the number of vehicles for workers has increased significantly. The accessibility of parking in and around the capital, however, has become one of the primary factors affecting stay-over tourists and residents wanting to shop and patronise businesses in the capital or just to do quick pickups.
“A long-term realistic solution of building a major parking facility to accommodate the number of vehicles is anticipated to be well off into the future. However, Philipsburg Promotional Board would like to recommend for such a development to be underground of the current Clem Labega Square and old Government Building, thus to take full advantage of the upper area to become a major green zone, which is very much lacking in Philipsburg,” says PPB.
“Also of great importance is to enhance the bus service with quality standards of vehicles, service, controlled bus stops, shade, benches and a bus terminal. Such improved bus service can significantly encourage more residents and tourists alike to utilise such transportation in the future.”
According to PPB, information it receives regularly from residents, day trippers, Internet reviews and discussions with hotel concierge managers, indicates that on many occasions individuals would cancel their trip to the country’s capital after driving around for long periods searching for a parking space without success.
“PPB also discovered in these conversations that a majority of repeat stay-over tourists to the island simply do not venture into Philipsburg because of the parking challenges and issues affecting pedestrians walking safely throughout the capital,” states PPB.
PPB has discussed its suggestions with government in the past as well as raised the establishment of a parking authority. It says it continues to encourage the need for a town manager. “Such entities are sure to make a difference in revitalising Philipsburg to be more pedestrian-friendly and attract more foot traffic to increase turnover in its stores, bars, restaurants, casinos and also increase hotel occupancies in the capital,” stated PPB.