Nearly 40 per cent rate rise proposed on parking meters in downtown Nelson
The City is contemplating a 37.5 per cent increase to hourly meter parking rates in the downtown to help bolster an already $1 million revenue generator.
City council approved the first three readings of the bylaw on Tuesday night during its first regular council meeting of 2024 to thrust hourly rates from $1.25 to $2 per hour, with early payment parking fines doubling to $20 (if paid within 14 days).
It is expected that the rate rise on the meters will add up to $400,000 to the $1 million the City already collects from meter usage per year.
“Increasing rates will encourage vehicle turnover and make more spaces available for those who need them,” said City deputy chief financial officer Aimee Mooney in her report to City council. “It will also help offset costs of a mobile parking solution that will be implemented in 2024, and to allow for more funding for the capital reserves that support the City’s transportation infrastructure.”
Designated commuter parking spaces will remain at $5 per day to encourage use of commuter parking areas outside of the downtown core.
The parking revenue goes directly to fund improvements to all transportation infrastructure including roads, bike lanes and sidewalks, Mooney explained.
“This means it is not just city residents that fund these costs, but everyone who benefits from our transportation network,” she said in her report.
According to City staff, Nelson is facing the following challenges including:
- increase in capital infrastructure costs — according to Statistics Canada, non-residential construction costs have increased 42 per cent since the beginning of 2017;
- a need for more transportation infrastructure;
- limited bylaw enforcement resources — a 2021 parking strategy identified the need for additional resources within the department;
- limited downtown parking; and
- non-compliant parkers.
Source: City of Nelson Jan. 9 agenda
Ending the end around
At the current hourly rate of $1.25, paying for eight hours of parking is the same cost as the early payment price of an expired meter ticket.
Although it is possible to receive multiple tickets per day, this encourages some drivers to risk getting a ticket rather than paying for a day of parking, said Mooney in her report.
Seven years ago the City of Nelson increased parking meter fees from $1 per hour to $1.25 per hour.
Pay more, pay often
To City will implement a mobile payment option in 2024.
People who park at a metered stall will soon have the option to either continue using coins in the parking meters or use a mobile device to pay.