City of Vancouver seeking public feedback on mandatory parking permits for all residential streets

Jan 27 2021, 7:38 pm

Just over two months after Vancouver City Council approved the planning process for the implementation of mandatory parking permits, city staff are now seeking public input on the forthcoming changes that will come into effect for all residential streets in all neighbourhoods.

The initial focus is to bring mandatory parking permits to neighbourhoods where such permitting systems do not exist. Currently, permits are mandated in residential areas near and within the Metro Core, including the West End, Kitsilano, Fairview, and Mount Pleasant, as well as near retail districts, major public parks, and high-traffic attractions across the city.

Neighbourhoods that already have permit requirements will retain their existing fees for the time being.

City staff state they have not determined the new rates at this point of time, but the base permit cost for the new zones would likely be lower than $45.45 annually — the current rate in the cheapest existing permit zones.

For new gas and diesel vehicles after the regulations come into effect, a carbon surcharge would be added to the base permit cost, which is intended to encourage residents to purchase new electric-battery vehicle models.

“The intent of the surcharge is to encourage people who are buying new vehicles to choose efficient ones, if there are clean options available to them in the market. It is not intended to punish people with older cars,” reads a city backgrounder.

There will also be consideration for improving the permit application and renewal process, and visitor parking.

Public consultation early this year will lead to a draft plan this spring for city council’s final decision in the summer. The mandatory parking permits would then be rolled out into new neighbourhoods starting in late 2021 or early 2022.

vancouver parking permit map

Existing residential parking permit zone locations as of 2020, with BLUE as residential permit parking zone and GREEN as resident-only parking zone. For later in 2021 and beyond, the City of Vancouver plans to expand parking permit requirements outside the blue and green zones, across the city. (City of Vancouver)

After the complete rollout, the municipal government will explore ways to merge different parking permit programs into a single unified system.

Last year, city staff noted the second phase of the transition will be into a market-based system between 2023 and 2025, where the price of a permit fluctuates based on curbside parking supply, such as parking spaces removed to provide more green space and the change in demand from a newly constructed residential building.

The introduction of mandatory parking permit requirements is one of over 30 policies and directions approved by city council under the Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP), including road tolls into the Metro Core, bus-priority lanes for TransLink buses, and greener building design standards.

City staff claim the new mandatory requirements are needed to make it easier for residents, visitors, and service providers to find parking on residential streets, and it could discourage some residents from driving.

But it will also generate significant new revenue for the municipal government. The expansion into a citywide parking permit scheme is estimated to initially raise $1 million to $2 million annually, and potentially as much as $15 million annually after three years. In 2019, parking permits brought in $1.2 million in revenue.

The city has suggested the new revenue will go towards CEAP, but this also comes at a time when the municipal government is forecasting structural financial pressures in its operating and capital budgets for the foreseeable future due to the city’s expanding mandates and COVID-19 economic challenges.

The online survey for the current round of public consultation will remain open until February 28, 2021.


Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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