West End Parking Survey: City Hall asks for YOUR input til November 30 (Mon)

Cardero_Nelson towards Davie-aerialVancouver City Hall is asking for input from residents regarding parking in the West End. An online survey is open until November 30, 2015.

To take the survey, please
CLICK HERE (“Talk Vancouver website).

We note that scores of new towers and new density are proposed for the West End under the West End Community Plan adopted by Council in 2013 — towers 20, 30, 40 and up to 60 storeys high. The thousands of new residents will bring more traffic.

Below is some information on the City web page dedicated to parking in the West End (vancouver.ca/westendparking), plus some excerpts of the survey. To support public involvement WEN has also created a little poster for you to download and post in your building or local bulletin board. Download here (PDF): West End Parking Survey WEN notice, Nov 2015

“Parking in the West End is difficult today.”
Finding street parking is difficult during busy periods, especially for visitors.
Residents – Time taken: 5 minutes. Added driving: 1 km. 
Visitors – Time taken: 10 minutes. Added driving: 3 km. 

Circling around the West End to find parking is inconvenient, increases congestion and pollution, and reduces safety. [On top of that, it makes residents and visitors rather angry, some vowing never to return again!] Parking affects everyone in the community – regardless of how they travel.

Did you know?

  • There are over 6,000 active West End parking permits at any given time and only 2,700 on-street spaces.
  • On-street permits cost about $6 per month, compared to $25 to $100 or more per month for off-street parking.
  • If every car parked in off-street spaces, the parking would only be three-quarters full.
  • Many buildings have lots of unused parking spaces, often next to buildings with little or no on-site parking.
  • There are fewer than two on-street visitor parking spaces for every 100 households in the West End.We [the City] want to make it easier
    We want to make it easier for you to find parking while also:
  • Discouraging more driving
  • Considering impacts to overall affordability
  • Reducing inconvenience, congestion, pollution, and safety risks

The survey follows up on actions in the Transportation 2040 Plan and West End Community Plan.

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WEN notes…here are some features of the survey.

The Parking Toolkit: mentions various tools available that could be used to improve parking in the West End — intended to encourage more residents to park off-street in existing parking spaces, freeing up on-street spaces for visitors and those who really need it.

Parking Permit Pricing

Presently in the West End, annual on-street permits cost about $6 per month, whereas the market price for off-street parking ranges from $25-100 or more per month.

Many cities charge more for on-street permits to discourage people from parking on the street if off-street options are available. This makes it easier for permit-holders and visitors to find on- street parking. Toronto, for example, charges $15-52 per month for on-street parking (depending on whether the permit holder has access to off-street parking).
The survey asks if you would support increasing permit prices, if it made it much easier for permit-holders to find a space within a block or two of home: and significantly reduced the amount of local traffic caused by people driving in circles in search of parking?

Charging Different Parking Permit Prices

Charging different rates for permits depending on someone’s circumstances could be one way to ensure fairness, address affordability concerns, and best manage the street.
The survey asks which of the following options the respondent supports:

  • Existing residents who don’t have access to off-street parking pay less than residents with access to off-street parking
  • Residents with smaller cars pay less that those with longer cars, since they take less curb space
  • Residents with more energy-efficient cars pay less than those with less efficient cars
  • Residents requesting more than one permit pay less for the first permit, and more for subsequent permits
  • Residents who are renewing an existing permit pay today’s price, but people applying for new permits pay an increased price (i.e. ‘grandfathering’ rates for existing permit holders)
  • Low income households with a demonstrated need for parking pay less

Parking Permit Zone Size

The West End parking permit zone is very large. Although permits are intended to help people find parking near home, some residents use them to make car trips across the neighbourhood (e.g. using the permit to park for free when shopping on the other side of the neighbourhood). This can make it more difficult for other residents to find parking near home. The survey asks if the respondent would support smaller permit zones, if it:

  • made it much easier for permit-holders to find a space within a block or two of home;and
  • significantly reduced the amount of local traffic caused by people driving in circles in search of parking?

Limiting the Number of Parking Permits Sold

Over 6,000 residential parking permits are active at any given time in the West End, but there are only about 2,700 on-street spaces.

Some cities limit the number of permits they sell based on how many spaces there are on the street. This guarantees that permit-holders will always be able to find a parking space within a block from home. When demand exceeds supply, there is a wait -list, and priority is given to renewing permit holders and residents who don’t have off-street parking options.
The survey asks if the respondent would support the City limiting the total number of permits sold, if it:

  • guaranteed permit-holders could always find a space within a block or two of home; and
  • significantly reduced the amount of local traffic caused by people driving in circles in search of parking?

Limiting the number of permits sold would guarantee that permit-holders find a space close to home, but could result in a wait list. The survey asks which of the following groups should be prioritized: seniors, people with disabilities; people without off-street parking; renewing permit-holders, or other, or first come, first serve.

Access to Underused Parking in West End Buildings

While parking on the street can be difficult in the West End, our research indicates that in many buildings, there is a lot of parking that goes unused – sometimes 50 spaces or more.

There are about 16,000 cars registered in the area, about 22,000 off-street residential spaces, and about 2,700 on-street residential spaces (23,700 total). This means there are about 1.5 residential parking spaces for every car registered in the West End permit area.
Right now, this off-street parking is usually only available to the people who live in those buildings.

The survey asks, would you support allowing people to park in unused off-street parking in West End buildings they do not live in? Select one.

  • Yes, for anyone who needed a spot
  • Yes, but only neighbours from nearby buildings
  • Yes, including neighbours and regular commuters to the neighbourhood
  • Yes – other group (please specify)
  • No, because

What features might make this tool more appealing? Multiple choice.

  • Security upgrades (e.g. gates, security cameras, security patrol)
  • Limiting access to West End residents that are validated by the City of Vancouver
  • Revenue for those with unused parking spaces (from others renting the spaces)
  • Other

Visitor Parking

On-street visitor parking is important to accommodate friends and family arriving by car, and service providers like health care workers and home repair contractors.

Currently, there are less than two on-street visitor parking spaces for every 100 households in the West End. During peak periods it can take visitors 10 minutes and almost 3 kilometres of extra driving to find a parking space.
Would you support converting some on-street resident parking spaces to visitor parking spaces to make it easier for visitors to find parking? Strongly support, Somewhat support,
Neutral, Somewhat oppose, Strongly oppose, Don’t know/not sure.

During certain times of the day, resident permit parking spaces are less likely to be occupied (e.g. weekdays during the day, when many residents are at work).

Would you support allowing visitors and service providers to park in the residential permit spaces during those times for a fee? Yes or No.

The West End Community Plan includes a direction to install parking meters for visitor parking. The parking meters would encourage turnover, which would increase availability for visitors and service providers.Which of the following options would you support?

  • Install parking meters at every on-street visitor space
  • Only install parking meters at some visitor spaces, but keep others free
  • Allow longer time limits at the new parking meters, to accommodate a broader range of visitors and service providers
  • Offer discounts and extended time limits to resident-validated visitors and service providers
  • None of the above

Which of the following options would you support? Please select all that apply.

  • Install parking meters at every on-street visitor space
  • Only install parking meters at some visitor spaces, but keep others free
  • Allow longer time limits at the new parking meters, to accommodate a broader range of visitors and service providers
  • Offer discounts and extended time limits to resident-validated visitors and service providers
  • None of the above

The survey goes on to ask some demographic questions, and invites you to join a focus group on parking in the West End, and invites you to sign up for future e-mails on the topic.

 

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