MLA opposes 350% street parking cost increase in West End

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Vancouver to consider 350% street parking cost increase in West End

MLA opposes the move, saying the approach unfairly penalizes West End residents compared to other neighbourhoods.

Vancouver is considering increasing the cost of street parking in the West End to $360 a year, up from the current rate of $50.

Emily Jackson/Metro File

Vancouver is considering increasing the cost of street parking in the West End to $360 a year, up from the current rate of $50.

City council is set to approve some big changes to street parking in ancouver’s dense West End neighbourhood — including a 350 per cent increase in the residential street parking fee.

It’s a move the city’s engineering department says is necessary to relieve the West End’s “extreme” parking problem, where 99 per cent of parking spots are usually occupied. The hope is to encourage residents to rent underground parking spots in their apartment building by making the street parking just as expensive as underground parking.

Existing permit holders will be grandfathered in at the current rate of about $80 per year, while new permit holders will have to pay $360 a year.

Spencer Chandra Herbert, the MLA for Vancouver-West End, opposes the changes as just one more added cost being levied on the residents of a neighbourhood with some of the highest rents in the city. He pointed out that there are neighbourhoods in South and East Vancouver where residents do not have to pay at all for residential parking.

“For somebody who just got a job this year that requires them to have a car, that does no good for them.”

Anthony Kupferschmidt, executive director of the West End Seniors Network, said the tight parking situation is causing problems, with homecare providers and visitors to vulnerable seniors unable to find parking.

But he’s also been hearing concerns about the changes from elderly West End residents. Part of the city’s plan is to separate the West End into three parking zones, meaning a resident permit will no longer cover the entire West End. Seniors, some with mobility challenges, use the entire zone when they go shopping or visit parks and beaches, he said.

Instead of the “stick” approach, Chandra Herbert said he’d like to see the city work with building owners to make more parking available for rent to people who don’t live in the building.

Kupfershmidt said the city has been listening — they have reduced a proposed $600 a year charge to $360. He added that there are plans to promote an existing parking permit available to people with disabilities. Another positive, he said, is that the city is proposing a participatory budget process to invest the extra $300,000 to $500,000 revenue back into the community.