VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Get ready to start saving all your spare change, parking your car in Vancouver is about to get a lot pricier.
As part of the City of Vancouver’s new parking plan, all curbside parking meters will be rounded up to the closest dollar amount, meaning a meter that costs $1.50 right now, will rise to $2. It also raises the base rate or minimum to $1.
“What the program provides is staff some flexibility to alter rates depending on demand to ensure that retailers and businesses always have availability in front of their businesses,” says NPA Councillor George Affleck.
The goal is to eventually have an 85 per cent occupancy rate on all city blocks. But to get there, rates on the busiest blocks will go up by $1 starting next year, meaning the city’s most expensive meter will cost you $7 an hour.
On the flip side of the coin, in lesser-used areas, the rates will drop to encourage more people to park.
“In some cases the rates will drop, in some places they go up. They also might be more flexible so they may be higher in the day and lower in the evening. So that’s benefiting, say restaurants but a bit tougher on say businesses. But it’s important we keep the traffic flowing so there’s an opportunity to park and go into a business and do your shopping or have your lunch or do whatever it is you might be doing,” explains Affleck.
The moves are expected to increase the amount of money going into the city’s coffers, though it says it won’t know by how much until early next year.
These changes come as little comfort to those people who will have to fork over more to park. “[Parking is] pretty expensive actually.
Transportation and gas is already expensive as is, and now you’re raising parking costs. Affordability in the city is just getting out of hand now. I already drive less because of increased costs, so this will encourage me to drive a lot less,” says one man, during his early morning commute.
“It’s not good, because there are not that many parking spaces anyway. I think that’s wrong, I think there’s enough impetus to take your bike or take transit that it’s not necessary,” adds another commuter.
The rounding up at meters will begin immediately while the other changes won’t happen until next year.