Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The City of Langley's 2012 Budget and the High Cost of Parking

Tonight, the City of Langley is hosting an open house on their 2012 budget. Last night, I had a look at the capital budget. I’m sure many people know that the Cascades Casino generates a lot of money for the City, but it still amazes me that 47% of the City’s capital budget is paid for from slots machines and card games. I wanted to highlight some of the big ticket items in the 2012 capital budget that I’ve been following.

Robert Bank Rail Corridor Overpasses - $2.8 million
The City's contribution to the 196 St rail overpass project in partnership with the City of Surrey, as the Project Delivery Agent for the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Combo Project.

McBurney Lane Reconstruction - $400k
Reconstruct McBurney Lane between Fraser and Douglas to conform with the Public Realm Plan.

Timms Parking Underground - $2.4 million
Additional 77 underground parking stalls bringing the total of the underground stalls to 122. With 150 surface parking spots there will be 272 parking stalls in total.

Bicycle Facilities - 2015
Includes the procurement of land and construction activities associated with providing bicycle lanes, shared lanes, bicycle storage facilities.

I have to give the City of Langley credit for integrating cycling into all new road rehabilitation programs, but one of the things that the City lacks are continuous North/South and East/West cycling routes. The City has budget some money starting in 2015 for cycling, but 2015 is politically an eternity away.

I'm still amazed at how expensive "free" parking is. A full 22% of the City’s 2012 capital budget will be spent to providing 77 parking spots. That’s $30,525 per spots which is typical, but still shocking. While people may complain about being charged for parking, it makes no sense that in this day and age with tight budgets that the City provide “free” parking. To put this into context, these 77 parking spots cost more than the total budgeted spending to 2020 for all the City’s funding specifically designated to pedestrian, cycling, and transit facilities. Now I’m not against parking and we really need to reduce the amount of surface parking in the City, but before you complain about parking just remember how much it costs to provide and how much taxes you are paying for it.

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