The verdict to date on the implemented on-street parking changes in downtown Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood is that the “parking strategy is working as expected.”
About two years ago, annual parking permits in the area increased by 400% from $6 per month to $30 per month, and free two-hour parking spots were completely replaced with $1.00 per hour metered parking (limit of three hours).
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According to a recent City of Vancouver staff report, the number of permits being sold is decreasing and the amount of parking available for visitors has increased.
“One of the primary goals of the West End Parking Strategy was to encourage residents to use the off-street parking available in the area and reduce the number of permits sold to free up on-street parking spaces.”
However, while sales of parking permits have seen a decrease, the total number of active permits in the West End permit zone still exceeds current on-street parking supply, with over 6,700 active permits but only about 2,700 on-street permit-only parking spaces.
“It is likely some of the active permits are being held by permit holders that have moved from the West End and have not returned their permit. These permit holders will not be eligible for a permit for the 2019/2020 permit year,” reads the report.
“Another finding is that existing permit holders that are eligible for the non-market rate are not shedding their permits as fast as expected. After the end of the 2018 permit renewal period, the sale of non-market permits to existing permit holders decreased by only 21%, year over year. This was projected to be a 36% decrease.”
As for visitor parking, 180 free parking spaces that were converted to metered parking on 22 blocks have increased parking availability. The municipal government says just four of these blocks were below the city’s targeted on-street parking occupancy of 60% to 85% during peak times, but after the change to metered parking, this increased to 14 blocks within the targeted occupancy range.
“This observed data matches anecdotal feedback from residents stating that an overall improvement for visitors looking for parking within the West End,” the report continued. “The goal of this [metered parking] action was to make it easier for visitors and service providers to find parking without encouraging more driving overall.”
The municipal government is currently providing West End residents with the opportunity to decide how $100,000 of new revenue generated from the new parking measures can be spent in their community.