Changes are coming for Coquitlam's City Centre parking strategy

Changes are coming to Coquitlam
Changes are coming to Coquitlam's City Centre parking strategy.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Coquitlam's pay parking strategy is currently losing thousands of dollars annually and a new plan is being considered that the city hopes will bolster revenues.

Over the past three years revenue from fines and parking fees has varied between between $63,000 and $88,000 while the average annual cost has been close to $100,000.

The city hopes that by contracting with a parking services provider Precise Parklink Inc. and restoring on-street pay parking along Pinetree Way around Douglas College that it will be able to increase revenues.

"Currently, the city is losing revenues associated with the provision of parking services," said a city staff report. "Implementation of a new pay parking services strategy and the proposed contract will result in increased revenues and a positive cash flow over time."

The new pay parking strategy has been divided into three phases. First, the city will install new equipment at its current pay parking lots at the Pinetree Community Centre, City Centre Aquatic Complex and Evergreen Cultural Centre over the next 90 days.

In the second phase, on-street pay parking meters will be re-introduced along Pinetree Way where previously 116 metered spaces existed. That process should be completed at some point in July.

A third phase, which would require further study and approval of council, calls for the possible expansion of on-street pay parking in the City Centre to include Pipeline Road, Guildford Way, Glen Drive and several other side streets in the neighbourhood.

The third phase would also consider raising pay parking rates from 50 cents to $1 per hour, something Coun. Mae Reid said she would oppose if the initiative came back to council.

"We are trying to attract people to our City Centre," she said. "I do not believe in raising the parking fee."

Mayor Richard Stewart said he would like to see a system where the first hour is free in order to encourage quick parking turnover in the city's major commercial area.

The current system, which forces a motorist to pay for an entire hour even if they only need ten minutes of parking, should also be changed, he added.

"The goal of pay parking isn't necessarily revenue generation," he said. "It is to keep parking turnover for local businesses."

With the Evergreen Line on the way, Stewart said the city needs to re-consider its parking rates and strategy for the City Centre neighbourhood.

The rapid transit line, which is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2016, is expected to bring increased traffic to Coquitlam and the Douglas College area.

"The purpose for street parking isn't for commuters," he said. "We obviously don't want parking spaces taken up in front of local businesses for ten hours by someone who is commuting to Vancouver."

With the new parking strategy the city will also be adding 35 hours of bylaw enforcement, meaning lots will be patrolled between 8:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. six days a week.

The city's previous parking enforcement contract with Impark expired in 2008 and has been renewed on an annual basis since then.

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