Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/11/2011 (3709 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg has a new plan to help frustrated drivers find a spot to park without circling the block over and over again.
The city's long-awaited downtown parking strategy, released Thursday, outlines a broad plan to get rid of reserved parking stalls and parking subsidies that help eat up some of the 39,283 available stalls downtown. The plan recommends Winnipeg enact new policies to free up spots on the street, get rid of some surface parking lots, and encourage people to carpool or use transit or active transportation to get downtown.
The plan suggests Winnipeg aim to have 15 per cent of all parking meters available at any given time, which means one in every seven parking spots should be open. The report states in cities where this number of meters are not available, cars circle the block about 2.5 times before they find a parking spot. Other studies estimate 30 per cent of vehicles driving in a central business zone are looking for parking spots at any given time.
The strategy also recommends Winnipeg give developers financial incentives to build parkades instead of surface parking lots -- which are the worst use of prime downtown real estate. The report states surface parking lots take up 20 per cent of downtown real estate, and 20 per cent of all those surface lots are owned by the three levels of government.
Surface parking lots are cheap to build -- it costs about $2,000 per stall -- and that money is recouped in about a year since the average rate for monthly parking is $130. By comparison, parkades cost about $28,000 per stall and it takes an average of 15 years to make that money back.
The report suggests the city look at redeveloping some surface lots and require others to spruce up their act by setting standards for landscaping, lighting and signage.
Downtown development chairman Coun. Justin Swandel (St. Norbert) said the city is already moving ahead on some of the strategy's proposals, including reducing surface parking and incorporating better bicycle racks.
"I think we're bang on the right track here and this is what a vibrant downtown needs -- a parking strategy," Swandel said.
Earlier this year, the Winnipeg Parking Authority proposed extending parking hours, boosting fines for common fares and increasing rates for high-demand parking areas such as the Portage Avenue strip, Broadway and the Exchange District portion of Main Street to increase turnover to free up parking spots.
The parking authority was ordered to consult with the public and downtown businesses about the changes before they become final.
Fort Rouge Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said the plan includes a lot of great, broad ideas -- including a plan to address surface parking -- but does not include timelines so the city has an action plan that outlines deadlines and goals.
"We need to see some specifics and some timelines," she said.
Can't find a space?
Here's how many parking spots exist downtown:
3,757 metered spots on city streets
35,526 spots in surface lots or parkades
Why can't I find a spot if there are so many spots?
Winnipeg has some of the lowest parking rates in the country, which doesn't encourage high turnover at parking meters.
Many of the spots in downtown lots are reserved, so people can't park in them after hours.
Current policies don't encourage enough people to carpool, take the bus, or use active transportation.
What's the plan?
Move away from reserved parking so the same space can be used during the day by office workers and at night for restaurant patrons
Collaborate with developers to buy surface lots at certain locations that could be redeveloped. Require existing surface lots to look nicer, and establish a certain standard for landscaping, fencing, lighting and signs.
Ensure 15 per cent of parking meters are available at any given time.
Give developers financial incentives to build parkades instead of surface parking lots
Replace discounted parking rates for employees with transportation allowances, to encourage them to carpool or take the bus.
Explore whether things such as the Downtown Spirit bus can shuttle people between various locations so they only have to park once.
Give people who carpool and use energy-efficient vehicles better parking spots in city-owned lots.
Winnipeg Parking Authority should explore more opportunities so people can pay in advance for parking for events at the MTS Centre.