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Parking hikes should go beyond Vancouver's West End: economist

Last Updated Aug 4, 2016 at 7:12 am PDT

(Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

Expert thinks increasing residential parking rates across Vancouver would be beneficial

Permit rates for people in the West End could soon jump from $80 to $600 a year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Finding parking can be a nightmare when you drive into the City of Vancouver. So, a┬áretired SFU economics professor is arguing Vancouver shouldn’t stop at the West End as it looks to jack up residential permit prices to market levels.

Essentially, Vancouver’s streets are congested needlessly, in John Chant’s view. “Right now, there’s a strange situation in the West End, in that the streets are just clogged with parking, a lot of it in resident-only parking,” explains Chant. “At the same time, many of the apartments have [vacant parking spots].”

You can’t blame people who get the permits — at $6 a month, it’s the logical thing to do — but Chant says that system downloads the parking cost away from developers and permit holders, and transfers it to the general public.

“With all the unused parking, developers, as you might expect, say, ‘Well, why do we have to provide all this parking in our buildings? They’re arguing the requirements for parking be reduced, but this does nothing to help the clogged streets in the West End, and in fact, will make it worse,” says Chant. “A parking fee allows developers and residents to weigh the costs of building new parking spaces in their buildings against the market price of the parking on the city streets.”

“In effect, the city has conspired with residents in the West End and encourages them to park on the street by giving them special parking privileges,” says Chant.

In his blog posting on the Fraser Institute’s website, Chant argues this problem is only getting worse with the addition of infill and laneway housing.

Those living in the West End have been told their parking permits may go from $80 a year to $600, under the West End Parking Strategy, which has yet to go to council. That move would also drop free two-hour parking areas and replace them with meters.