City looks to jack up parking prices in the West End

The City of Vancouver has released a survey that's looking to garner some public support to increase the prices of parking permits by 750 per cent.

Heavy price tags for street parking in West End neighborhoods would alleviate traffic, city says

The City of Vancouver is looking to increase the price of parking permits in the West End — and introduce new meters. (CBC)

Parking in Vancouver's West End could get a lot pricier.

The city is sending out feelers to West End residents in the form of an online survey to find out just how many people support a potential 700 per cent increase to annual on-street parking permits.

With enough support, the city would increase the annual permit rate from $80 to $600 and eliminate free 2-hour parking spaces in favour of meters as part of the West End Parking Strategy, pending approval from council.

According to Vancouver transportation director Lon LaClaire. the price hikes will encourage current permit holders to look for alternatives and free up parking space.

"The target is that we want to have 15 per cent of the spaces of available so you don't spend a bunch of time driving around looking for parking, adding to congestion and to the traffic problem, "said LaClaire.

The changes would reduce the maddening hunt for parking that many West End drivers endure by five minutes and one kilometer, according to a study conducted by the City.

"We've had general support from across the community, with exception of the current permit holders — and that's understandable," he added.

The new rate would be grandfathered in, meaning only new applicants would incur the updated costs.

A 'market-based' price

But not everyone is satisfied with the city's approach.

"Parking's not that bad in the West End," said Paul Juzkow, a 25-year resident of the neighbourhood. "And you shouldn't need a 700 per cent price increase to fix it."

Juzkow has had his parking permit for the nearly 20 years, which he uses when he goes out to get groceries or visit friends on the other side of the West End..

"You should be able to park in your own neighbourhood for a reasonable price," he said.

Juzkow​ believes the new permits will only add to the already high costs of living in the West End and will unfairly target residents who rely on vehicles.

"Some people need their cars. Not everyone can ride a bike," he said.

The survey closes on August 15. The proposal will be introduced to council in the fall.