Could a parking ban in Vancouver help the city achieve its green goals?
That’s the idea put forward in a new study by researchers at Simon Fraser University.
The report, entitled, Can Cities Really Make a Difference? Case Study of Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy is authored by Brett Zuehlke, Mark Jaccard, and Rose Murphy, researchers at SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management.
It analyses the technological, economic, jurisdictional and political dimensions of transitioning away from burning carbon dioxide-emitting gasoline, diesel and natural gas in buildings, industries, and vehicles.
If Vancouver is to meet its “ambitious climate targets” in the future, says the report, “it must phase in policies that decrease the use of natural gas in new and existing buildings and the use of gasoline and diesel in vehicles.”
The targets – under the Renewable City Strategy – include:
- Deriving 100% of the energy used in Vancouver from renewable sources by 2050
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% below 2007 levels by 2050.
And on the transportation side of things, this means taking measures like reducing city-owned parking spaces.
“We focused on Vancouver implementing policies that reduce fossil fuel use in vehicles,” the report said. “Specifically, we assume that the City applies a policy that slowly reduces available parking spaces for gasoline and diesel burning vehicles in city-owned parking lots, on streets, and in new multi-unit buildings.”
For vehicles that rely 100% on gasoline or diesel, restrictions on available parking stalls would begin in 2025 and by 2040 there would no longer be “any city-controlled parking spaces available.”
Hybrid vehicles would have a little extra time: “The parking space reduction begins in 2035 and by 2050 there are no city-controlled spaces remaining.”
The idea behind the ban would be to increase the “intangible cost of operating a gasoline or diesel vehicle within Vancouver, while decreasing the intangible cost of operating an electric or biofuel vehicle,” the researchers explain.
“Vancouver has shown much-needed leadership in initially meshing its livability and emission reductions efforts, and now in recognizing the necessity of fuel-switching as the next stage,” said Jaccard.
The report was welcomed by Dr. Sybil Seitzinger, the executive director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.
“This is a solid and important piece of work because it examines the efficacy of climate policies and renewable energy goals that many cities around the world are seeking to implement,” Seitzinger said.