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'The honour system didn't work': Free street parking ending in Vancouver this week
VANCOUVER -- April 30 update: The City of Vancouver has since said when paid parking comes into effect. Here's the latest.
After a month of free street parking across most of the city during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vancouver council has voted to reinstate pay parking in many areas.
The decision was made during Tuesday night’s council meeting, where some councillors voiced concern about a serious loss of revenue and misuse of the system.
Parking is the city’s third largest source of revenue after property taxes and development and licensing fees.
The city announced on March 30 that drivers could park in metered spots for free as it temporarily suspended most enforcement. At the time, the city noted traffic volume and parking demand had dropped significantly as people followed public health advice and stayed home.
Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said since then she has heard from residents and businesses that some drivers have been parking in spaces all day.
“What we found, actually, is that the honour system didn't work and we do see instances of significantly more parking,” Kirby-Yung said during the council meeting.
“I've received quite a lot of communication from the public about it and we see it on a lot of our commercial and business corridors, and I don't get the sense that it's turning over.”
Coun. Lisa Dominato said she has heard of similar issues.
“I think we’ve been hearing loud and clear from the public they appreciate and understood the rationale for scaling things back in the initial month or two of pandemic response,” Dominato said “We are getting reports of (people) simply parking all day long in parts of the city and blocks being full.”
The city is still considering pay parking exemptions for essential and healthcare workers.
As for timing, council was told the switch back to pay parking will be rolled out this week.
Despite the resumption of enforcement, city staff also noted regular revenue will not return. With many people still staying home, the city is expecting a major drop in people using the spaces once payment resumes.
More details on the rollout are expected during Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s weekly COVID-19 briefing, which is happening at 12:15 p.m.