Making Street Parking more Equitable
COV staff will be forwarding a proposal to city council in 2021 on implementing mandatory parking permits for all residential streets throughout Vancouver. Exceptions will be made for accessibility spaces. A low-cost permit strategy could be put in place as early as next year, transitioning to a market-based strategy. A surcharge based on the cost and carbon intensity of the vehicle will be implemented for a residential parking permit for vehicle model years 2022 and beyond.
Vancouver streets are car warehouses—nearly one-third of our street space is dedicated to parking, providing little value for the more than 25% of Vancouver households that don’t own a motor vehicle. “The majority of on-street parking is either free for use or severely underpriced relative to its value to the overall community and is neither reflective of the parking demand for the space nor the potential of the space to be re-prioritized to serve transit, walking, cycling, or additional public space.” (CEAP, page 30) “Examples of other uses include green infrastructure, mini parks or other public space, wider sidewalks, safer cycling infrastructure, outdoor seating and patios, and shared mobility (e.g., car-share spaces or bike-share stations). These other uses support other City goals and help to build safer, healthier, happier and more resilient communities.” (CEAP Appendix F page 2)
Kits Point has 785 on-street parking spaces. Yet vehicles aggressively circulate the neighbourhood looking for free parking—a safety crisis that has exacerbated with increased visitors during COVID-19. On-street parking with demand-based rates will:
- Discourage vehicle drivers from circling the neighbourhood searching for free parking,
- Discourage parking by commuters who neither live nor work in Kits Point,
- Eliminate multi-day parking by boat dwellers moored off Kits Point beaches, and
- Eliminate the temptation for overnight RV parking in Kits Point.
The COV has been more strict in enforcing parking regulations this year and is listening to citizens’ complaints. For example, four free-parking spots in the 1800 block of McNicoll were changed to a two-hour minimum. If/when implemented, we’d like to see demand-based rates for on-street pay parking—and on-street rates should not be lower than those in the Park Board lots.
Kits Point could receive residential parking benefits like in the West End where the COV increased residential parking-permit rates to reflect off-street market pricing (the ~$80/yr fee went to ~$400/yr), while providing exemptions for low-income households. The increase in revenue is used for neighbourhood improvement projects selected by the community through a participatory budgeting process. The COV has indicated, “Staff are studying the effectiveness of this program and its potential application in other parts of the city.” (CEAP Appendix F)
As taxpayers, we subsidize vehicle transportation even if we don’t own one. “If driving costs you $1, society subsidizes you $9.20 from emissions, the infrastructure for driving, parking, noise pollution, congestion and crash risks.” Included in the costs a passenger vehicle pays are PST on vehicle purchase, license and registration costs (including PST), PST on maintenance and repair, PST on tire costs, fuel taxes (the dedicated motor fuel tax, provincial motor fuel tax, carbon tax), the federal air conditioner tax, and the BC tire tax. (Data from http://pricetags.ca/2014/09/03/george-poulos-comprehensive-costs-of-transportation-in-vancouver-1/)
In 2019, parking permits brought in $1.2 million into COV revenue. A citywide parking permit requirement is forecast to initially increase revenue by $1 million to $2 million annually and after three years add upwards of $15 million annually.
Paris in October 2020 announced plans to eliminate 70% of its on-street parking, removing 60,000 parking spaces in the next five years along with adding 1,400 km of bike lanes.
Singapore has only 500,000 vehicles for its six million people, with only 1% more allowed per year. To own a vehicle, you must bid for a parking certificate that costs $75,000 and is only valid for 10 years.
What do you think? Share your thoughts on the KPRA website forum. Talk about the issues with your neighbours and if they haven’t registered on our website, please encourage them to do so. You could even write a post of your own and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
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