Committee approves updated parking strategy

OTTAWA – City councillors are proposing an idea where parking rates are based on area demand.

“The city’s Transportation committee approved an updated parking strategy that will help improve service and ensure short-term parking is available to support businesses, institutions and tourism,” city staff released in a statement yesterday.

 Street parking rates would be based on demand for parking in each parking zone. The city would collect and review parking data twice a year and adjust rates within a defined zone by 50 cents, up to a maximum of $4 per hour, if demand is too high or too low. The city would consult with stakeholders before changing parking rates. The $3-per-hour parking rate would increase to $3.50 per hour starting in January 2020 – the first rate increase since 2008.

The updated parking strategy shifts power to council for decisions on whether to introduce paid street parking to a specific zone, when a parking study finds paid parking is warranted. Previously, the Ward Councillor, business improvement area (BIA) and community association needed to agree before paid parking could be introduced. Staff would continue to consult with these stakeholders and with residents on parking studies.

Supported by the results of a governance review by an independent consultant, staff recommended the city maintain its current parking model, based on the updates to the parking strategy. The Municipal Act requires that parking revenues only be spent on projects that align with the parking strategy and have a reasonable connection to parking, such as maintaining roads and sidewalks in paid parking areas, clearing snow in paid parking areas, managing street parking permits, managing bicycle parking and maintaining park-and-ride facilities.

The committee also approved three new full-time equivalent staff for Parking Services, funded through parking revenues, to help develop and implement the Bike Parking Strategy, which is scheduled to go to the committee in 2020.

The committee also approved a motion for consideration in the draft budget for 2020 to apply the expected $4-million surplus in the parking reserve to eligible projects in progress. The project funding returned to the city-wide reserve would be used to implement certain projects from the Strategic Road Safety Action Plan, which will be presented to the Committee in December.

Items from the Transportation committee meeting requiring City Council approval will be considered on Wednesday, Oct. 9.