West End parking driving you crazy? Answer new survey by City of Vancouver

CoV west-end-parking-strategy-landing message

Image credit: City of Vancouver

(Updated) The City of Vancouver conducted a survey in November 2015, which we introduced previously (click here). Now the City is at the next stage, with nine recommendations, some of which could significantly affect your cost of living, convenience, and quality of life in the West End, as well as the experience the many visitors have when they come here. Some proposals will affect your pocketbook. Below is an excerpt of some of the introductory material from the City, plus text of the survey, with some of our comments interspersed), and media coverage links. (At the bottom we have added some comments from 25-year local resident Paul Juzkow. Among other things, he believes other neighbourhoods might find that similar 700% increases are going to be proposed for them too.)

We encourage West End residents to study the options, take the survey, attend the open houses and provide their feedback to the City. Decisions will be made by City Council in the fall of 2016, and implementation will start in 2017.

Online survey (deadline August 15, 2016)
vancouver.ca/westendparking (link to info and the survey)

Open houses (City staff will be present) 

  • Tuesday, July 19, 4 pm – 8 pm, West End Community Centre, 870 Denman St
  • Saturday, July 23, 10 am – 2 pm, Nelson Park, 1030 Bute St (next to farmers market)

In the City’s words:

Parking in the West End is difficult today.  It’s hard to find parking in the West End resident parking permit zone whether you live there or visit someone who does. To find parking during busy periods, it takes:
Residents about 5 minutes and over 1 km of extra driving
Visitors about 10 minutes and almost 3 km of extra driving
Our goal is to make it easier to find parking in the West End permit zone without encouraging more driving overall. The strategy responds to community-identified concerns and supports actions in the Transportation 2040 Plan and West End Community Plan.

West End Neighbours reminds people that scores of new towers and about 10,000 new residents (i.e., higher density) are set to arrive in the West End in next several years 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. Also, be prepared for construction-related disruptions and noise.

MEDIA STORIES

City looks to jack up parking prices in the West End: Heavy price tags for street parking in West End neighborhoods would alleviate traffic, city says (By Jon Hernandez, CBC News, JulY 11, 2016)

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Here below is the text of the survey, with some comments by WEN (food for thought) in italics. Please excuse the lack of formatting.

TEXT OF CITY OF VANCOUVER, WEST END PARKING SURVEY, JULY-AUGUST 2016
https://www.talkvancouver.com/R.aspx?a=680&as=Qx6db8Ef8f

West End Parking Improvements – Recommendations

We heard you! Last fall, almost 4000 Vancouverites shared their thoughts on parking in the West End, and provided feedback on tools to improve it.

We’re now back with specific recommendations for you to consider. Our goal is to make it easier for people to find parking in the West End permit zone, in ways that don’t encourage more driving overall.

Parking is a serious issue for most people in the neighbourhood, even if they don’t own a car. During busy periods, it takes residents about 5 minutes to find parking on the street, including over a kilometre of extra driving.

For visitors, the problem is worse, taking about 10 minutes to find parking, including almost 3 km of extra driving.

Tell us what you think of our proposed recommendations to improve parking in the West End!
Your input will inform our recommendation to Council this fall.

This survey is open until August 15th.

Visit us here for more detail on each recommendation and what we heard in the Fall 2015 engagement:

 http://vancouver.ca/streets-transportation/west-end-parking-strategy.aspx

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RECOMMENDATION #1:

Adjust permit prices to market based rates,
with the following conditions:

a. Renewing permit holders would continue to pay the same rate as today (a.k.a. ‘grandfathering’)

b. New permit holders would pay a market-based rate (~$50 per month)

c. Any increase in revenue from permit sales would be invested in the West End, to help deliver community-identified needs

Why?
It will make finding parking easier and reduce congestion, by encouraging people who can to park off-street

->On-street permits are currently much cheaper than off-street parking. (Approx. $6/month vs. over $50/month)
->By charging a market rate for on-street permits, more people will choose to park in their buildings, freeing up on-street space for those who need it.
->This will make it easier to find parking on street, and reduce traffic caused by people driving in circles looking for parking.

It addresses concerns about affordability

->Existing permit holders would pay the same rate as before, so there is no risk of pricing existing residents out of the neighbourhood.
->Historical data shows that many permit holders choose not to renew their permits over time, so most permits would be at the new rate within 5 years.

It generates revenue to improve the community

->Any increase in revenue from permit sales will be used to help pay for amenities in the West End

What We Heard Last Fall:
->There is community support for increasing rates from visitors and most residents, except among residents who currently have parking permits (who represent 20% of West End households).
Do you support this recommendation?
Please select one response only.

Strongly support

Somewhat support

Neutral

Somewhat oppose

Strongly oppose

Don’t know/ Not Sure
If you are opposed, why is that?
Please be as specific as possible.

WEN COMMENTS:

  • When this option was presented in the initial phase of consultation, it is likely that no one expected that “an increase” would constitute a 700% increase in the price of a parking permit.
  • Is it fair to treat the same a person who has no access to parking on their property (such as heritage buildings) with someone who has knowingly moved into a new development that provides insufficient parking on the site.
  • Should the West End be treated like other neighbourhoods in the City, with a reasonable permit fee maintained?
  • Does this look like a cash grab? (Generally, amenities for a community should be arising from new development and from tax revenue – not from parking revenue.)

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RECOMMENDATION #2:
Unlock underused parking:
Enable buildings with excess parking to rent spaces to other West End residents by:

a. Updating zoning and bylaws

b. Exploring ways to help building managers make sharing easier and address security (e.g. 3rd party apps, security audits)

c. Ensuring parking in future development is designed to be sharable

Why?
It will free up space on the street and make better use of existing resources

->There are more residential spaces than cars in the neighbourhood. (~1.5 residential parking spaces for every car registered in the West End permit area)
->Some buildings have over a hundred unused parking spaces, sometimes next to buildings where parking is nearly full.

What We Heard Last Fall:
->There is strong support for this idea among both residents of the West End and visitors.

Do you have any comments about this recommendation?
Please be as specific as possible.

WEN COMMENTS:

  • Is this realistic as a recommendation?
  • Should the City force property owners to allow non-residents to have access to their buildings.
  • Will current residents in a building have concerns about non-residents accessing a secured space?
  • How about revising this option to “surface parking”? Could it work then?
  • Is  is appropriate for the City to be assigning taxpayer-funded resources to “helping building managers” deal with these types of things.
  • Should the City simply establish a reasonable policy framework, and let the market decide?

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RECOMMENDATION #3
Subdivide permit zone into smaller zones, with Denman and Davie as dividing lines
Click to see the current West End Parking Zone, and the proposed zone divisions.
(Maps will open up in new windows)
Why?
It will make it easier for residents to find a space close to home

->The West End permit zone is by far the largest in the city. Many people mis-use their permit as a ‘free parking pass’ to park in areas far from home.
->Smaller zones ensure that people who live far away don’t use spaces intended for residents in the immediate area
->Dividing the zone along the major streets Denman and Davie makes the new zones easy to understand and enforce.

What We Heard Last Fall:
->There is community support for making smaller zones among most residents and visitors, except among residents who currently have parking permits (who represent 20% of West End households).

Do you have any comments about this recommendation?

WEN COMMENTS:

  • This proposal has the potential to make movement in the neighbourhood awkward, and would create very small parking zones.
  • Shouldn’t residents of the West End who have a West End parking permit should be able to park in the West End?

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RECOMMENDATION #4

Use a mixture of strategies to improve visitor parking  in the West End residential zone

Visitor parking is even more difficult than resident parking. During busy periods,
it can take 10 minutes for visitors to find parking, including over three kilometres of extra driving.
Recommendation # 4 Why?
Meter some existing visitor parking, and explore ways to offer lower rates and extended hours to resident validated visitors. It will help ensure some visitor spaces are always available. Metering spaces will increase turnover.
Allow visitors and service providers to park in residential spaces during less busy off-peak periods, for a fee It makes use of spaces when they aren’t being used by residents. Most people are working during the day, so more spaces are available
Convert some residential parking spaces to visitor parking spaces, after other actions reduce residential demand for on-street space It creates more space for visitors. There is currently very little visitor parking in the West End. (Fewer than two visitor spaces for every 100 households)
What We Heard Last Fall:
The tools above were generally supported in the fall 2015 consultation, and are now being proposed as recommendations.

Do you have any comments about these recommendations?

WEN COMMENTS:

  • Do you support parking meters in residential areas?
  • Instead, are appropriate time limits and appropriate enforcement reasonable approaches?
  • Would you like your visitors to be able to visit without having to pay for parking.
  • Perhaps incremental implementation of policies would be appropriate, to see how much extra  vacant street parking appears in the West End after parking permit costs increase. 

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RECOMMENDATION #5:
Improve parking enforcement and alternatives to driving
a. Improving parking enforcement and providing better alternatives to driving were ideas frequently suggested by the public in the fall 2015 consultation.

b. Although not part of the initial set of parking improvement tools presented at that time, we are now including these as part of our parking recommendations. In some cases, these actions are already underway as part of other work being undertaken by the City.

Recommendation # 5 Why?

Improve parking enforcement by using new technology It will make it easier to find parking by reducing the amount of illegal parking.
Improve alternatives to driving, e.g. by implementing bike sharing, and continuing to support car sharing It will reduce demand for parking.

Improved alternatives to driving make it easier to drive less and even reduce car ownership.

The West End has the lowest car ownership in Vancouver (about 50% of households)

Do you have any comments about these recommendations?
Please be as specific as possible.

WEN COMMENTS:

  • Better enforcement is probably a good thing. This has been a major problem in the past.
  • Car sharing and bike sharing are reasonable City objectives, but perhaps they should not be linked to a parking strategy – or this this survey process.

 

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These last few questions help us understand how the feedback we receive represents the community. Individual responses are treated as anonymous and demographic information is always kept separate from personal identifiers.
What is your connection to the West End?
Please select all that apply.

Rent in the neighbourhood

Own and live in the neighbourhood

Own in the neighbourhood but live elsewhere

Live outside the neighbourhood

Work in the neighbourhood

Own a business in the neighbourhood

Visit the neighbourhood and live elsewhere

Other (please specify)
What is the nearest intersection to your home?
How many cars belong to your household?
Please select one response only.

0

1

2

3

More than 3
Are you a car share member?
Please select all that apply.

Modo

Car2Go

ZipCar

EVO

Not a car share member

How many on-street parking permits does your household have, if any?
Please select one response only.

1

2

3

More than 3

Do not have any on-street parking permits

Including yourself, how many people live in your household?
Please select one response only.

1

2

3

4

5

More than 6
What are the ages of the people that live in your household?
Please select all that apply.

0-5 years

6-14 years

15-17 years

18 to 64 years

65+ year

What is your home postal code?

Do you identify as…?
Please select one response only.

Male

Female

Transgender

None of the above. I identify as

Prefer not to say
Which of the following age groups do you fall into?
Please select one response only.

19 and under

20-29

30-39

40-49

50-59

60-69

70+
Which of the following categories best describes your total household income per year before taxes?
Please select one response only.

Under $40,000

$40,000 to under $60,000

$60,000 to under $80,000

$80,000 to under $100,000

$100,000 to under $150,000

$150,000 and above

Prefer not to say
How did you find out about this West End Parking questionnaire?
Please select all that apply.

Thinking about your experience with this consultation, how much do you agree or disagree with the following?
Please select one response for each item.
Would you like to stay informed about the West End Parking Improvement project?
Please select one response only.

Yes (please provide your email and contact information)

No, thanks

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Letter from resident Paul Juzkow, copied here with his permission.

I feel that these proposed changes decrease affordability, decrease liveability and decrease security in the West End.  Specifically to the 5 proposed changes:
1) Increase permit parking to market rates
-this is a 700+ percent increase (from approx $80/yr to $600/yr) targeted only at car drivers and only in the west end.  Parking isn’t that bad in the westend that people need to pay $500 more per year!
This decreases affordability in the neighbourhood!
-Many of the older buildings in the neighbourhood don’t have parking so if you need a car you need a parking permit.
-Many seniors buy the pass to be able to drive to do their shopping in the neighbourhood.
-Many people buy the pass to be able to let their visitors come over and use their building spot for free and they park on the street for a short time.
-The city says the extra money collected (est. $5million/yr) will be spent in the West End….who is going to enforce this? and how will we know they spent the additional $5million/yr in the neighbourhood.
-Why isn’t there a revenue neutral proposal, e.g. different types of passes: days-only, nights-only, peak-times costing more???  Why does it have to be a tax grab?
-transit is poor in the westend..buses only run about every 15 minutes and are always full so transit isn’t a great option.
-I have building parking, but use my pass to go shopping in the neighbourhood.  I have bad feet and can’t carry much or walk far at the moment.
-I think if this proposal goes through, you will have less people buying parking permits and more people circling the block trying to use the metered parking..when there will be lots of empty parking spots! So, in the end trying to fix one problem will create another problem!
2) Encouraging Building to rent out unused spaces.
-Main concern here from people I’ve talked to is building security..letting people we don’t know in the building.  My building garage was broken into last week and 10 cars were damaged and robbed!
3) Smaller parking zones
-This is a decrease in liveability.  This breaks up the neighbourhood into 3 zones.
-I have friends in other zones and frequently park cross-zone to do shopping and activities.  This would
4) Putting meters in existing free visitor parking
-Many people here have friends and relatives come to visit.  I think that people will get less visitors if they have to pay so much for parking!
-This decreases liveability!
5) Increased parking enforcement
-Nobody has too many objections, but this is just a money grab.  There is already lots of enforcement.
I know that the City will just push these changes through, but am speaking out in the hopes they won’t.  You know that it will also come to Yaletown, False Creek, Fairview Heights, Broadway, and Kits if it goes in the West End!  So, this will affect many Vancouverites in the next few years.
The bottom line is that I recommend that people do the survey: vancouver.ca/westendparking and state their objections!

 

 

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