You'll pay to park at night

You will soon have to pay to park on the street in the evening in parts of downtown Kelowna.

That was one of numerous recommendations, aimed at making parking downtown more accessible, adopted by city council Monday.

Natasha Elliott, a transportation engineer with Urban Systems who studied parking patterns downtown, said at the present time, on-street parking stalls are occupied between 85 and 100 per cent of the time.

"We are aiming to bring all areas to less than 85 per cent, which ensures residents can find a parking spot on each block whenever they visit downtown," said Elliott.

They hope to achieve this with a plan to vary rates and zones within the downtown core.

This would be done by introducing three different rate zones.

"Zone A, is the core right close to the lake, and this area would have the introduction of evening pay parking. Zone B is the rest of the main downtown core. That is basically status quo with a few tweaks to the rates and times.

"Zone C is up Sunset Drive and the northern end of Ellis Street. These are mainly residential where we are seeing high occupancy. So, this is the introduction of pay parking, but with no essential time restrictions."

As an example, Zone A would have a rate of between $1.75 and $3.50 an hour depending on length of stay during peak summer times during the day and $1.50 an hour from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Those rates would drop during non-summer peak months from mid-September to mid-May.

The remainder of downtown would have a year round rate of $1.25 an hour from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday with no evening charge.

This is one of nine recommendations made which would be implemented immediately, including implementing residential restrictions within urban centres, supporting alternative transportation modes and even increasing fines for those found tampering with meters.

On that front, Parking manager Dave Duncan told council his department plans to complete a transformation from the single pay meter to meter stations throughout downtown by next year due to the increase in vandalism of the single pay machines.

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