Parking price hike could free up spots in downtown Kelowna

By-the-hour parking in evenings aimed to boost vehicle turnover in popular spots

A hike in parking prices may be the answer to freeing up some parking spots in the downtown core, city council heard Monday.

Urban Systems brought forward 12 recommendations to the downtown parking plan based on findings from surveying more than 3,250 people and stakeholders in 2017-18.

And one of those suggestions was paid evening parking in the downtown core.

Coun. Gail Given said the thorough and data-driven report deals with current challenges, but is also flexible enough to allow the city to adapt to future transportation needs.

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Zone A, which includes spots near the lake front downtown, could see rates between $1.75 and $3.50 an hour based on the duration of the stay—between one to three hours. Those looking to enjoy downtown in the evening will be paying $1.50 an hour until 9 p.m, although prices will drop by 25 or 50 cents in the off season starting in September.

Zone B prices, which includes popular on-street parking stalls on Ellis Street, St. Paul Street, Bernard Avenue and Pandosy Street, will ring in between $1.50 and $3 during the summer months, while Zone C prices will have year-round fees of $1.25.

By varying the rates of parking by location or time, motorists can decide where to park based on their needs and the price they are willing to pay. Different parking rates will encourage some users to use those less popular areas, freeing up spots in some of the most congested areas, the report to council reads.

The Downtown Kelowna Association said more turnover for parking in the busiest corridors would allow for more retail traffic.

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“There are a lot of recommendations here,” Coun. Gail Given said. “But they all work intertwined with each other and it’s really important we look at all of them to ensure we get the outcome we are looking for.”

Other recommendations seek to update the residential parking permit program, increase fine amounts for tampering with parking meters, expanding electric vehicle infrastructure and enhancing technology to improve the user experience.

Bylaw changes associated with any of the 12 recommendations brought to council on July 15 will come back to council at a later date.


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

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Updates to the downtown parking plan include evening paid parking and the implementation of varying rates for different zones. (Urban Matters)

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