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Marketplace parking limited to one hour

Lot will remain free and open to the public during the Olympics

Marketplace customers take note: starting this Saturday, you will only be able to park in the free lot for one hour, rather than two.

Managers of the parking lot hope the new restrictions will free up more spots throughout the Olympic and Paralympic period, when most of Whistler's other parking lots will be closed to the public.

"With losing most of the parking in the village starting Feb. 1, we need to make sure that there is a way for the clients of Marketplace to get there so they can do their shopping," said Jim Watts from the Whistler-based company fastPark.

"We did a survey of the merchants, and they said most of their clients are in Marketplace for less than one hour."

During a normal winter season, the number of parking spaces in the day skier lots, Creekside parkade and the conference centre totals 4,618, explained Watts. But from Feb. 1 to 28 this year, that number will be reduced to zero.

The new one-hour parking limit will apply from Saturday, Jan. 16 until March 28, and signs will be installed this Saturday to advertise the change. After March, the parking time limit will return to the normal two hours.

Watts also stressed parking will remain free.

"It is important to note that the Marketplace lot is provided for by the businesses and merchants of Marketplace to ensure there is space available for their customers when they arrive," said Watts. "The merchants thought it was important to have complimentary parking for their customers."

Special arrangements will also be made for customers who need to park for longer than an hour to attend dental, physiotherapy, or hair appointments, said Watts. Customers should take their license plate number with them into their appointment so the merchants can enter the data directly into the system.

"Another point worth making is that over the Games, it is probably good to consider coming in early to run your errands, the same as you would at Christmas time," said Watts.

"We are expecting it to be busy, but it is important for people to realize that if they are coming in to do anything more than a few errands in Marketplace, they need to look at other transportation options."