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Reserved stalls at park-and-ride lots like the one at Century Station will be available next year. ((Jim MacQuarrie/CBC))

City council has voted unanimously in favour of reserved parking stalls at LRT parking lots for riders willing to pay for a guaranteed spot.

The one-year pilot program will set aside 18 per cent of the stalls at the Clareview, Belvedere, Stadium and Century Park lots. Each stall will cost between $40 and $50 a month.

The remaining spots will be free, on a first-come, first-served basis.

"It costs us a lot of money to supply those stalls, and this way we'll be able to recoup some of the money," said Mayor Stephen Mandel.

A report prepared by city staff said the passes could generate up to $315,000 a year if 85 per cent of them are sold.

It would cost about $25,000 to set up the program and another $50,000 a year for a private company to distribute, monitor and enforce the passes, the report said.

The reserved spots would be open to anyone during the evening and weekends.

"We're talking about one out of five parking stalls having a price on it so that people can guarantee access to a parking stall if they're not there right at 7:30 in the morning," said Coun. Don Iveson.

"They'll be the parking stalls closest to the platform, which are a premium thing, [it] makes sense to charge for them," he said. "This is a better project than charging for all the stalls all at once because clearly that hasn't worked in Calgary, and we heard significant backlash against that idea when we looked at it in the fall last year." 

But the parking passes don't really address the key issue, said Mandel.

"How do we then do better transit to the LRT stations so people don't have to take their cars? I think that's the question that's important," he said.

The plan is to have the passes available in January 2011.