Next time you desperately drive around the downtown core, looking for a parking spot that won’t cost you more than a decent meal would, think of our neighbours to the east in Calgary where their monthly downtown parking rates are the highest in the country.
In a survey conducted by commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield, it was reported by the Calgary Herald that between surface and underground parking lots, it costs an average of $473 to park your vehicle in the downtown Calgarian core. That’s almost double the national average in the country – estimated to be $251.
The high costs, according to Bob MacDougall, senior managing director for Cushman & Wakefield Ltd. in Calgary, is “a direct response to supply and demand. Pure and simple.” MacDougall cites a limited amount of spaces creating an escalation in cost, not unlike escalating rents in the city. A trend that’s familiar to all across the country.
MacDougall also noted that, “It will be interesting to see what that sort of threshold point is where parking users say enough is enough … not only does it bring parking policy into play but it also brings public transportation into play.”
Calgary transit ridership has increased only marginally by 0.08 per cent from 2010-2012 according to Calgary Transit Statistics with an annual ridership of 101.9-million. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Skytrain system accounts for 120-million riders annually alone. According to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Ridership Reports statistics for 2013, Vancouver’s Skytrain system is the ninth-most used rapid-transit system in North America.
Of Calgary transit, Maggie Schofield, executive director of the Calgary Downtown Association says otherwise. To try and increase transit ridership, Calgary parking policy dictates a “significantly reduced amount of parking that any new buildings can put when they do their construction … in consideration of moving people over to another mode of transportation. I think quite specifically around transit. We have seen the uptick in transit ridership really blossom.”
So it’s possible that Calgary’s sky-high monthly parking rates is a limited amount of spaces and a discouraged transit system.
“It just keeps getting more expensive and it is supply and demand. There’s no greater example of that,” said Schofield of the parking rates.
Featured Image: Car parking downtown Vancouver via Shutterstock