Parking stalls underused

More than 250 parking stalls in downtown Penticton are being lost to developers in the near future, but close to 4,000 remain within a 10 minute walk of the downtown core.

That's part of the message the City of Penticton will be taking to the streets later this month when it starts public consultation on the city’s parking strategy.

Director of Development Services Anthony Haddad delivered an update on the city’s parking situation to council Tuesday, stating that despite a few hot spots, downtown has more parking now than in the past.

The neighbourhood has lost a grocery store, dry cleaner, hotel, community hall, office supply store and nightclubs in recent years, easing up on demand. However, all but three monthly parking lots have waiting list, suggesting a shortage of employee parking in some areas.

There’s no better place that shortage is on display, than around the Canada Revenue Agency offices, which employs 325 people. The adjacent municipal 54-stall parking lot is being developed, which will further contribute to the game of musical cars that sees workers move their vehicles every two hours to avoid a ticket.

But across the entire system, the utilization rate for the 3,391 parking stalls in the downtown area is just 45 per cent, well below the 70-80 per cent that would warrant the construction of a parkade.

“I struggle with the 45 per cent utilization figure, because that is incredible to me, we have the available parking, we just need to design a system that supports people,” Chief Administrative Officer Peter Weeber said. “We designed a system that people are not conforming to.”

Councillors Max Picton and Helena Konanz urged city staff to “think outside the box” when designing a parking strategy. Picton floated an idea for a large parkade and shuttle service while Konanz asked that public transit to taken into account.

“We can't have buses driving around empty while we lose our parking spots,” she said.

The city will launch online public commenting on the topic on June 12, with a full day of on-the-street outreach planned for June 14.


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