Home > Streets and transportation > Parking > Residential parking permits > West End Parking Strategy
West End Parking Strategy

West End Parking Strategy

Parking in the West End is difficult today

It's hard to find parking in the West End resident parking permit zone whether you live there or visit someone who does. To find parking during busy periods, it takes:

  • Residents about 5 minutes and over 1 km of extra driving
  • Visitors about 10 minutes and almost 3 km of extra driving

Our goal is to make it easier to find parking in the West End permit zone without encouraging more driving overall.

The strategy responds to community-identified concerns and supports actions in the Transportation 2040 Plan and West End Community Plan.

What's happening

February 8 Council meeting: decision on updated recommendations

We're presenting our updated recommendations to City Council at the February 8 standing committee meeting. We updated the recommendations based on public feedback we received in summer 2016. If Council approves the recommendations, we'll implement them starting in 2017.

Updated recommendations to improve parking

In summer 2016, we proposed draft recommendations that built on ideas and feedback we heard in our fall 2015 public consultation PDF file (1.1 MB) from over 4,000 people.

We have since revised the recommendations based on feedback in our summer 2016 public consultation PDF file (500 KB).

Browse the updates and full recommendations below.

Key updates

  • Reduce the proposed new permit rate from $50 to $30 per month. Let renewing permit holders keep existing rates.
  • Explain how residents can help decide how to spend new permit revenues.
  • Provide details on parking options for people with limited mobility.
  • Offer a reduced permit cost for low-income households to the West End.

1. Charge market-based rates for new parking permits

1. Charge market-based rates for new parking permits

Recommendation

Adjust the permit price to market-based rates, with these conditions:

  • Renewing permit holders would continue to pay the same rate as today
  • New permit holders would pay a market-based rate ($30/month or $360/year)
  • Any increase in revenue from permit sales would be reinvested in the West End to help deliver community-identified needs

What changed?

  • In response to affordability concerns, we reduced the recommended new monthly rate from $50 to $30.
  • The initial recommendation was based on existing off-street parking prices, whereas the new rate reflects more detailed modelling of the value of on-street parking compared to off-street spaces.

Why we think this is a good idea

It will make parking easier and reduce congestion

By charging a market rate for permits, more people will choose to park in their buildings. This will free up street space for people who need it, making parking easier and reducing traffic caused by driving in circles looking for parking.

It addresses concerns about affordability

Existing permit holders would pay the same rate as before, so there is no risk of pricing existing residents out of the neighbourhood.

It generates revenue to improve the community

Any increase in revenue from permit sales will be used to help pay for amenities in the West End.

Background

On-street permits are currently much cheaper than off-street parking.

  Monthly cost
On-street permit $6
Off-street parking usually over $50

As a result, many people currently choose to park in the street, even if they can park in their building. Some buildings have over 100 empty spaces.

Overall, there are about 1.5 residential spaces for every car registered in the neighbourhood.

What we heard in summer 2016

We recommended to charge a $50/month permit rate, keep existing permit holders on their same rate, and give revenue back to the community.

Visitors and residents without a car supported the recommendation, while residents who have a car (both permit holders and non-permit holders) didn't.

Support for increasing permit prices as proposed in summer 2016 public consultation

What we heard in fall 2015

Visitors, residents who have a car but no permit (who represent 34% of households), and residents without a car (who represent 46% of households) support increasing permit prices.

Residents who have a permit (who represent 20% of households) don’t support increased prices.

Support for increasing permit prices

 Close

2. Keep existing permit holders on the same rates

2. Keep existing permit holders on the same rates

Recommendation

Let existing permit holders renew at today's rate, exempting them from the market-based rate for new permit holders.

Why we think this is a good idea

It addresses concerns about affordability

With existing permit holders paying the same rate as before, there is no risk of pricing existing residents out of the neighbourhood.

It will make the transition to market-based permit prices easier (see Recommendation #1)

Permit price increases are supported by all groups except permit holders (20% of West End households). Since most permit holders choose not to renew their permits over time, most permits will be sold at the new rate within 5 years.

Background

There is high permit turnover in the West End. Of the approximately 20% of West End households that have parking permits, many choose not to renew their permits. After about 5 years, only about 1 in 5 original permit holders remain.

 

 Close

3. Create a parking benefit district

3. Create a parking benefit district

Recommendation

Report back to City Council on the possibility of doing a participatory-budgeting trial.

What changed?

We clarified that the community will help decide how to spend any new permit revenue through participatory budgeting (a democratic process requiring we work with community members that's been used successfully around the world).

Why we think this is a good idea

​It will help improve the West End

Revenue will be used to help deliver amenities identified by the community.

What we heard in fall 2015

This is a new idea from people who filled out the survey.

Illustration of Jim Deva Plaza

 Close

4. Divide the permit zone

4. Divide the permit zone

Recommendation

Divide the West End permit area into three smaller zones with Denman and Davie streets as new dividing lines.

What changed?

  • This summer, we heard that many people with limited mobility rely on the larger permit zone to park at destinations away from their home for medical visits and so on.
  • We added detail about the SPARC Parking Permit Program for People with Disabilities External website that is free and allows qualified people to park:
    • In all resident parking permit zones for up to 3 hours
    • In no-parking zones for up to 30 minutes to load and unload

Why we think this is a good idea

It will make finding parking easier

Three smaller zones will make it easier to find a parking space closer to home because residents will only use the zone where they live. The West End permit zone is the largest in the city. Many people park in destinations far from home and, as a result, make it more difficult for people living near those destinations to park.

Dividing the zone along the major streets Denman and Davie makes the new zones easy to understand and enforce.

 

What we heard in fall 2015

Visitors, residents who have a car but no permit (who represent 34% of households), and residents without a car (who represent 46% of households) support smaller permit zones.

Residents who have a permit (who represent 20% of households) don’t support smaller zones.

Support for dividing the permit zone

 Close

5. Unlock unused parking

5. Unlock unused parking

Recommendation

Enable buildings with excess parking to rent spaces to other West End residents. To do this, we would:

  1. Update zoning and bylaws
  2. Explore ways to help building managers make sharing easier and address security (like with third-party apps and security audits)
  3. Ensure parking in future development is designed to be shareable

What changed?

We clarified that ensuring building security is a high priority and that any program would be voluntary.

Why we think this is a good idea

It will free up space on the street and make better use of existing resources

Some buildings have 100 or more empty parking spaces, sometimes next to buildings where parking is nearly full.

Allowing neighbours to use these unused spaces will free up space on the street.

Measures can be put in place to minimize security issues (like adding security gates, or focusing on unused spaces in surface lots).

PLENTY OF PARKING SPACES
residential spaces for every West End car

Background

There are more residential spaces than cars in the neighbourhood (about 1.5 residential parking spaces for every car registered in the West End permit area).

Some buildings have over 100 unused parking spaces, sometimes next to buildings where parking is nearly full.

What we heard in fall 2015

All groups support allowing people to park in neighbouring buildings with lots of unused parking.

Support for parking in buildings with unused parking

 Close

6. Improve parking enforcement

6. Improve parking enforcement

Recommendations

Improve parking enforcement with new technology like cameras on City vehicles that automatically scan licence plates.

Why we think this is a good idea

It will make finding parking easier

Fewer cars will park illegally and there will be less demand for parking.

It makes it easier for people to drive less and own fewer cars

Bike- and car-sharing give people more transportation options.

Background

The West End has the lowest car ownership in Vancouver (about 50% of households have access to a private car).

What we heard in fall 2015

This is a new idea from people who filled out the survey.

Car ownership in the West End

 Close

7. Let visitors park in residential spaces when it’s less busy

7. Let visitors park in residential spaces when it’s less busy

Recommendation

Allow visitors and service providers to park in residential spaces for a fee when it's less busy during off-peak periods.

 

Why we think this is a good idea

It uses spaces when residents are out

Most residents work during the day so more spaces are available.

Background

Parking can be extremely difficult for visitors. It can take visitors about 10 minutes and almost 3 km of extra driving to find parking during busy periods.

 

VERY LITTLE VISITOR PARKING
on-street spaces for every 100 households in the West End

What we heard in fall 2015

All groups support allowing visitors to park in resident permit spaces during less busy off-peak periods.

Support for parking in buildings with unused parking

 Close

8. Add parking meters to some visitor parking spaces

8. Add parking meters to some visitor parking spaces

Recommendation

Meter some existing visitor parking. Offer lower rates and extended hours to visitors that residents verify.

Why we think this is a good idea

It will help ensure some visitor spaces are always available

Metering spaces will increase turnover.

Background

Unmetered spaces are more likely to always be full. Metering parking encourages people to only use parking when they need it.

What we heard in fall 2015

There was a slight preference to metering some visitor spaces instead of metering all visitor spaces.

This idea comes from the West End Community Plan.

Parking meter and mobile app

 Close

9. Convert some residential parking to visitor parking

9. Convert some residential parking to visitor parking

Recommendation

Convert some residential parking to visitor parking – after other actions reduce demand for on-street residential spaces.

Why we think this is a good idea

It will help visitors find on-street parking faster

Background

Parking is more difficult for visitors than for residents. There is very little on-street visitor parking in the West End – fewer than 2 spaces for every 100 households.

As a result, it can take visitors about 10 minutes and almost 3 km of extra driving to find parking during busy periods.

VERY LITTLE VISITOR PARKING
on-street spaces for every 100 households in the West End

What we heard in fall 2015

Visitors, residents who have a car but no permit (who represent 34% of households), and residents without a car (who represent 46% of households) support converting some residential parking.

Residents who have a permit (who represent 20% of households) don’t support converting some residential parking.

Support for converting some residential spaces to visitor parking

 Close

Timeline

Here is our process and anticipated milestones to create and deliver the strategy.

  • Nov 2015

    Phase 1 community engagement

    Conduct survey and engage residents to better understand parking issues, test support for various tools that could improve parking, and invite people to share their own ideas.

    • Nov 7 – Dec 7 online questionnaire
  • July 2016

    Phase 2 community engagement

    Get public and stakeholder feedback on draft recommendations

    • July 19 and 23 open houses
    • July 7 – August 15 online questionnaire
  • We are here
  • Early 2017

    Council meeting

    Present recommendations to City Council for approval

  • 2017 onwards

    Implementation

    Carry out the recommendations if Council approves the strategy