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Temporary closure means 40 fewer parking spots in downtown Kitchener

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Parking in downtown Kitchener is becoming more difficult to find – and there’s calls to open up more options as the busy summer season approaches.

Finding a spot can be difficult on the best of days.

“When I come to meet friends, there's no parking,” says Kitchener resident Julieanne Bishop. “It discourages you for coming in to do any shopping downtown. There's just no place to park that's free.”

The temporary loss of 40 spots in a lot on Queen Street North isn’t helping.

The city was leasing the space to operate a parking lot.

But now a developer is using the property as a staging area for a new housing project on Fredrick Street.

“We're transitioning 22 Frederick into a residential building to serve the downtown for rental needs to serve students who may be at Conestoga College," explains Europro Vice-President Jesse Nathanson.

Europro says when that’s finished, they aren’t sure what they’ll use the lot for.

Meanwhile, the city says it continues to offer more than 3,000 parking spaces downtown, including around 400 in the Duke and Ontario parking garage and more than 300 free two-hour spaces on downtown streets.

But those who visit or work in the downtown regularly say parking is still difficult to find.

“It’s a struggle, especially with the patios, but at the same time, it’s an exchange. You’re getting planters, patios for people to sit and come downtown,” says Sydney Claurie, co-owner of Marlowe.

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