Parking wars: 400% price hike proposed for new West End street parkers

Next week, a report will go before council outlining a recommendation to raise the permit rate from $72 per year to $360 per year for new permit holders.

Increase from $72 per year to $360 per year intended to help cut street parking gridlock

The City of Vancouver is looking to increase the price of street parking permits in the West End to address the gridlock. (CBC)

Years ago, bumpers stickers that read "I found parking on Granville Island!" were all the rage in Vancouver, the humour lost on no one who had ever dared drive there, sucked into the vortex of endlessly circling cars.

Fast forward three or so decades and the updated, but equally valid version of the bumper stick could read "I found parking in the West End!"

On average, a visitor to the West End spends 10 minutes and drives three extra kilometres searching for a place to park according to a study by city staff. 

Street parking sign allowing short term parking except with permit. (David Horemans/CBC)

Next week, a report will go before council outlining a number of recommendations to help curb the problem, including raising the permit rate 400 per cent, from $72 per year to $360 per year for people wanting to buy a permit for the first time. Those with existing permits will only see small increases.

"By charging a market rate for permits, more people will choose to park in their buildings," the report says.

"This will free up street space for people who need it, making parking easier and reducing traffic caused by driving in circles looking for parking."

City staff had originally proposed raising the permit rate to $600 per year but scaled back the amount after a period of public consultation last year. 

The study points out that there is 1.5 parking spaces for every West End car but residents with an underground spot will often park on the street out of convenience. 

The revised recommendations also propose dividing the West End permit area into three smaller zones which it claims will help residents find a space closer to where they live, and updating zoning and bylaws to allow buildings with excess parking to rent it out to other locals.

A city spokesperson told CBC News "the changes are not intended to increase revenue for the city, but are intended to make parking easier in the West End."