More reserved parking considered for some C-Train stations

Calgary Transit is looking at ways of improving the parking experience at your favourite C-Train station.

Free parking to still be offered but more reserved spaces seen as way to reduce wait lists

(Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Things could be changing soon at your favourite LRT park-and-ride lot.

Calgary Transit is looking at ways of improving the parking experience.

It currently has nearly 5,500 people on wait lists for a monthly reserved parking spot.

So it wants city council to change the policy, which sets aside 50 per cent of parking lots for reserved parking and 50 per cent for free parking.

Changes to reserved parking at C-Train lots are being considered by Calgary city council. (CBC)

It's looking at raising the proportion of reserved spaces at its most popular stations at the ends of C-Train lines (i.e. Tuscany, Somerset, 69th Street) which would mean less free spaces there.

However, Transit wants to add more free parking at other stations and slice the number of reserved spots where they're under-subscribed.

More reserved spaces could cut wait lists

Andrea Adams with Calgary Transit said the flexibility will improve the experience for regular transit users while not leaving occasional parkers or people who can't afford to pay for monthly parking out in the cold.

"In parking lots where there are long waiting lists — which we do have — we could offer spots to some of those people," said Adams.

At the 69th Street station alone, there are over 4,000 waiting to pay a monthly fee for one of the prized reserved spots.

Debate over parking policies at the Transit park-and-ride lots has ebbed and flowed over the years.

Transit brought in paid parking at the lots nearly a decade ago. But the pay machines were removed after Naheed Nenshi campaigned on the issue in the 2010 election.

Plans in 2016 to do away with free parking was again met with resistance on city council.

Nenshi called it "a terrible idea" that would run against council's goal to encourage more people to take transit.

Some free parking seen as necessary

Coun. Shane Keating, who chairs the transportation and transit committee, said the changes could be good for all users.

"I do believe that we have to maintain free parking at as many lots as possible, if not all lots," said Keating. "That doesn't mean it has to be premium, paved, lit, a number of these sorts of things." 

However, he suggests the city has to be mindful of the value of guaranteeing a parking spot at a station and the services accompanying it.

"Should it fall on all the taxpayers for everyone to have parkades and plug-ins and all of that or should those who request that service be expected to pay a little extra to actually guarantee a spot?"

Details on the proposed changes are expected later this year.

The transportation committee approved the change in principle. City council will discuss the plan later this month.