Resident critiques City’s bulletin on new West End parking policy recommendations after public outcry

CoV west-end-parking-strategy-landing message(Updated) A twenty-five year resident of the West End, Paul Juzkow (PJ), has shared his analysis and observations of a bulletin issued by the City of Vancouver today (July 14) regarding West End parking policy recommendations.

We copy the City’s bulletin below, with his comments interspersed in red italics. The City’s statement is in response to a media and public outcry about the recommendations, which will be reviewed along with public input in the fall of 2016.

Mr. Juzkow was interviewed on CBC on July 19, 2016, starting at about 2:20 into this broadcast.

As a background please see our previous post regarding consultation currently underway by the City of Vancouver to address the tight parking in the West End:
West End parking driving you crazy? Answer new survey by City of Vancouver (West End Neighbours, 12-July-2016)

Besides direct responses to the City’s bulletin contents, Paul offers additional comments about topics not covered in the bulletin. We are sharing Paul’s observations to promote pubic dialogue of the issues, and further input back to City Hall.

People in other neighbourhoods are wondering if the City would try to roll out these policies elsewhere in the Vancouver in the future. West End Neighbours supports full public awareness and dialogue, to produce the best outcome. Let the City know your thoughts by taking the online survey until August 15, 2016, at this official link (www.vancouver.ca/westendparking). You may also wish to communicate with your elected officials (see how here). Also, Open Houses are planned Tuesday, July 19, 4:00pm – 8:00pm, and Saturday, July 23, 10:00am – 2:00pm. See City website for details.

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From: City of Vancouver Communications Office
Date: Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 10:07 AM
Subject: Information Bulletin: Clarification of West End parking recommendations

City of Vancouver
Information Bulletin
July 14, 2016

Clarification of West End parking recommendations

The City would like to clarify some key facts related to public consultation on the recommendations regarding parking in the West End.

The West End is one of the oldest, and by far the largest, permitted parking areas in the City, and was long overdue for review. This was confirmed by the West End community plan, which identified parking as a major issue for the community.

The City conducted a survey on West End residential parking in November 2015 with a high response rate of almost 4,000 – 80 per cent of respondents were residents, and about half of those were current permit holders.

The City’s current recommendations were developed based on those results, and a survey was recently launched to solicit feedback. Consultation, including open houses, will continue through the summer and a report will be presented to City Council in the fall. The City will consider the feedback before implementing any changes.

With regard to permit costs and a proposed new permit fee:

  • Annual on-street permits are currently much cheaper than off-street parking. Permits cost about $6 per month, whereas off-street parking typically costs $50 or more per month. The proposed new permit parking fee of $50 per month is based on market pricing for the area.

PJ: The city proposed raising parking permit prices, but nobody expected this much of a rise!  There was no mention of actually increasing the permit price to market, just “increase permit prices”!  [Revised text: This proposal will eventually generate about $5 million annually (8000 spaces x $520 plus meter revenue plus enforcement revenue) in ADDITIONAL revenue coming right out of the pockets of West End residents.].  This decreases affordability in the neighbourhood…why does the city propose something that decreases affordability especially at this time with the high housing costs?..it just doesn’t make sense.  It is already unaffordable here.  Why are there no revenue-neutral options, e.g., limiting the number of permits sold which also had strong support from non-car owners.

Additionally, this targets a minority of the people in the neighbourhood, especially seniors, who may have mobility issues and fixed incomes who use their cars for things like grocery shopping and going to their doctors, etc..

  • Current permit holders will not see an increase; the new parking permit price would only apply to new permit applicants. The decision to grandfather pricing for current permit holders was based on feedback from the November 2015 survey; the majority of residents who were not current permit holders were in favour of an increase in permit prices.

PJ: There was a mention that within 5 years all the permits turn over and will be paying the high price.  This is just passing the buck onto future west end residents!  It is a sneaky way of getting these changes in.

  • It has been proposed the additional permit revenue would be directed toward community amenities in the West End.

PJ: There is no mention on how this money will be managed and implemented.  How do we know that we will get this additional money spent each year in the west end?  Who will control it?

Current parking issues:

  • Parking can be difficult for residents. During busy periods, it can take five minutes for residents to find parking, including over a kilometer of extra driving. Some residents use their permit to park anywhere in the West End, not just near their own residence – this makes parking difficult for other residents.

PJ: Nobody disagrees with that parking can be a challenge during peak periods.  Why were there no “peak” period options, e.g. not allowing certain permit holders to park on street during peak periods, having different types of permits(days only, evenings/weekends)..why only big price increase?  How about requiring new buildings to have adequate parking and maybe even city permitted parking onsite?  Or how about raising prices a modest amount (10%/year) for a few years to see how the parking situation improves? or how about forcing new buildings to have $50/month parkades in them?

  • Parking is even more difficult for visitors. During busy periods, it can take 10 minutes for visitors to find parking, including over three kilometers of extra driving.

PJ: Raising the price so much will force people to not buy passes and these people will now compete for visitor spaces AND existing parking meters on Davie, Denman, and Robson streets.  I don’t believe that the visitor parking situation will actually be improved by these proposed changes.

  • Parking affects everyone in the community; even those who don’t drive have visitors and service providers who do.

PJ: Agree

  • People driving in circles looking for parking increases traffic, pollution, and safety risks.

PJ: Agree

  • Many buildings have unused parking spaces, sometimes next to buildings where parking is full. Some buildings have more than 100 unused spaces.

PJ: How does the city really know?  Have they got the info from the building owners? or just what people say?  More spots are usually empty during the day when people are at work.

  • There are more than enough residential parking spaces for every car. There are about 1.5 residential parking spaces for every car registered in the West End permit area (16,000 cars, 22,000 off-street spaces, 2,700 on-street spaces).
  • There is very little visitor parking available. There are fewer than two on-street visitor parking spaces for every 100 households in the West End.

The City’s goal with these recommendations is to make it easier for people who live in or visit the West End to find parking.

PJ: At what cost?  $500 extra a year!  I don’t think anybody agrees with this amount! 

More information about the recommendations and a link to the survey can be found on the City’s website.

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End of City of Vancouver bulletin. Below are additional observations from Paul.

The clarification doesn’t mention anything about:

(1) Splitting the west end into 3 zones

-This will decrease liveability. e.g., I know an 82 year old senior who lives west of Denman that drives to St. Paul’s hospital regularly and uses his pass to park.  He won’t be able to do this now with his permit and will have to park in a visitor’s space.

-Disagree with the city that existing permit holders “mis-use permit as a neighbourhood parking pass”…That is exactly what it is!

(2) Trying to get buildings to rent out their spaces

-Security is the biggest issue with trying to get buildings to rent out their spaces…most people are against this, unless the parking is outside.

(3) Metering Visitor parking

-The July 14 bulletin from the City makes no mention about how much of the visitor space will be metered.  We should be able to have visitors (family and friends) visit us for free in some spots.

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SELECTED MEDIA COVERAGE

West End street parking costs could increase 700 per cent, Global News, 13-Jul-2016, with video.
http://bc.ctvnews.ca/west-end-street-parking-costs-could-increase-700-per-cent-1.2986138

City seeks to fix ‘extreme’ West End parking problem
A host of proposed solutions to parking problems in Vancouver’s West End includes a big price increase for new parking permit holders. (Metro News Vancouver, 13-Jul-2016)
http://www.metronews.ca/news/vancouver/2016/07/13/city-seeks-to-fix-extreme-west-end-parking-problem.html

Vancouver eyes massive West End parking permit hike (News 1130, 12-Jul-2016)
http://www.news1130.com/2016/07/12/vancouver-eyes-massive-west-end-parking-permit-hike/

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 (CBC, 11-Jul-2016)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/city-looks-to-jack-up-parking-prices-in-the-west-end-1.3674302

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