Below we share an analysis by kind reader Rhett Tolmie of some impending changes in Vancouver parking policies that have been largely un-noticed so far (time-limit zones being in effect Sundays and holidays, and the reduction in the early payment option on parking tickets).
Parking is expensive, and policies affect many people who drive or ride in cars. In the pocketbook. In convenience. In stress levels. In time consumption. And you could even say quality of life. They also affect customer traffic for businesses that depend on customers who drive. If you have comments, you are invited to write or speak to Council.
The Vancouver City Council meeting on Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 (Standing Committee on City Finance and Services) will consider “Parking Meter Program Changes and Various By-law Changes Related to Parking” (download staff report here, PDF 27 pages). (This item was bumped over from the Nov 15 Council meeting to hear from speakers.)
Letter from Rhett Tolmie to CityHallWatch editor from RT, 15-Nov-2016.
Parking Meter Program Changes and Various By-law Changes Related to Parking
The media is reporting on the parking meter increase, but it’s skipping over the other various by-law changes that may be interesting too.
The two changes that are getting a pass over are, making parking time limit zones in effect on Sundays and Holidays, and the plan to reduce the early payment discount when we get a parking ticket.
I’m sure it may have gone un-noticed that when the city installs new 2 hr parking signs they are blank on any mention of which days they are in effect. (example: Mon-Sat) You’ll find this on the signs around Olympic Village among other locations. That blank area would suggest it was in effect 7 days a week. But, the truth is due to the wording in the bylaw, no time limit is in effect on a Sunday or holiday.
But, that’s about to change. Time limits, where the sign is blank on the days in effect will now be effective on Sundays and Holidays. As for the old signs, watch how fast the city scrapes of the old Mon-Fri/Sat off the time limit signs.
The other change is reducing the early payment discount from 50% to 40%. Say you get a ticket at a meter, pay it off in 14 days and you would be out of pocket $35. After the city change, it will cost you $42. That’s around a 17% increase. Why the need to punish the early payers? Two official reasons.
First, it “brings discounts closer in line with other Canadian cities.” That is true, sort of. Most cities do give a smaller discount on the early payment of a ticket, but most cities don’t have as high of fines as Vancouver does, in the first place. A parking meter ticket in Toronto is $30, in Montreal $60, in Halifax $25.
Second, “encourages increased compliance with parking regulations.” But, the city also admits, “The recommended reduction of the early payment discount for by-law tickets… is expected to result in an increase of $1.4 to $2 million of annual revenue.”
The annual revenue of parking tickets for 2016 is expected to be $17.6 million on approximately 375,000 tickets issued. This means the city expects an added $2 million in revenue by writing fewer tickets. I don’t usually see parking enforcement as a “cash grab”, as enforcement is needed in our city. But, to make more money on the backs of people doing the “right thing” by paying their parking ticket early smacks of a shameless cash grab.
SELECTED MEDIA COVERAGE
Media coverage on parking fee increases.
CBC – Pricier parking could be coming to peak areas in Vancouver: City eyeing big changes to meters, including some rate hikes, some rate decreases.
CTV news – $1/hour parking meter increase recommended in parts of Vancouver.