Vancouver City Council has passed a new plan for parking in the West End that will put new residents out of pocket $360 a year.
The new West End Parking Strategy is aimed at reducing parking congesstion in the dense downtown neighbourhood.
A report presented to council today says a lack of street parking is forcing West End residents to drive an extra kilometer per trip, while visitors drive another three.
West End Neighbours Director Randy Helten says the new plan was needed.
“[There’s] a lot of frustration with people driving around to find parking spots and finding it very hard to find any year round. I’ve got friends and relatives who would refuse to even come and visit the West End just because it was so frustrating to find parking.”
New parking permits will cost residents $30 dollars per month, while existing permit holders will be allowed to hold on to their $72 annual permits.
That’s a significant walk back from the originally proposed hike to $50 per month, which would have added up to $600 per year.
The plan will also divide the existing West End parking permit zone into three smaller sub zones.
The move is meant to prevent West End residents from abusing their permits to park in other areas of downtown that aren’t near their homes.
Helten says he thinks the move in the west end is only the tip of the iceberg.
“Depending on how this works out in the West End, City Hall could be looking at raising parking prices in other parts of the city. This is not just going to stay in the West End. I think other people should keep an eye on this and watch out for their own parking.”
With West End parking permit costs set to rise dramatically, there’s also questions about how parking in the neighbourhood became so scarce, and whether bike and car share programs play a role.
The introduction of Mobi bike share stations as well as a trio of car share programs – EVO, car2go and Zipcar – are all taking up residence in the West End these days, and it has led to some elimination of parking spaces.
The city gets reimbursed $400,000 annually for use of the public space by the bike share program.
There are 37 metered and non-metered Mobi bike share spaces, and about 23 parking spaces taken up by the three car share programs.
To put it into context, city data says there are about 3,500 street parking spaces in the West End.
With files from Matt Lee