Monday, February 17, 2014

Making a Bad Situation Worse: "Temporary" Parking Motion

Last week, I posted about how the Township of Langley created a situation that it could have avoided by provisioning “temporary” on-street parking in some neighbourhoods in the community. One of the things that I’ve learned in life is that temporary usually become permanent. Even though the Township marked the on-street parking it provided a “temporary”, some of that parking has been there for over a decade. People started to expect that this parking was to be provided forever. When this parking disappeared, people got very upset.

On February 3rd, a resident near 80th Avenue and 212 Street in the Yorkson area requested that council approve more parking in the area. As I noted last week, the Township already requires a generous amount of off-street parking in each new development. I was a little shocked when I saw the following motion that will be voted on this afternoon by Township Council:

Councillor Richter provided the following Notice of Motion for consideration at the next Regular Afternoon Council meeting:

Be it resolved that Council ask staff to proceed with the provision of twelve temporary, on-street parking stalls at the corner of 212 Street and 80 Avenue as described in the February 3, 2014 memo to Council at a cost not to exceed $50,000; and Be it further resolved that six of these temporary parking stalls be designated Visitor Parking and six be designated Resident Parking.

There are a few problems with this motion. The first is that the motion doesn’t address the root cause of the perceived lack of parking in the area. It further exacerbates the situation as these residents will expect this “temporary” parking to last forever. What will happen when the Township removes the parking?

While it is normal for local government to restrict parking for residents or permit holders on a block, these restrictions are normally part of a coordinate and comprehensive parking policy. This motion is ad hoc, and if approved, would open the floodgates for other petition in the Township to start mini-parking fiefdoms. At $50,000 per request, is this something the Township really want to get in the business of doing?

The real long-term solution is to develop a parking demand management strategy in the Township that will be fair to residents. The plan should enable the best use of on-street parking which is a limited, highly valuable resource. Approving this motion would be a mistake.

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