Drivers hoping to park in Victoria’s downtown streets on Sunday should start carrying some pocket change at the beginning of next month.
Starting May 1st, metered on-street parking downtown will cost $2 an hour with a maximum 4 hour stay per spot. On a weekday, the same spot costs $3 an hour with a 90-minute maximum stay.
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The council predicts that the new lowered rate and extended maximum stay will not discourage shoppers from visiting the downtown core.
“The combination of longer duration with reduced overall Sunday parking demand will likely still ensure adequate turnover and parking availability,” reads a Council report of the meeting.
Additionally, city parkades will remain free on Sundays, maintaining an area where drivers can still park for free.
Revenue generated from the new paid street parking is intended to fund free bus passes for youth (anyone under the age of 18) in Victoria.
The council hopes to eventually have free transit passes for every Victoria resident in an effort to help combat climate change.
Mayor Lisa Helps is bringing the motion to the transit commission in an upcoming meeting at the end of April that would first call for free youth passes in the entire region, then later free passes for every resident.
Should the transit commission approve of the motion for free youth passes, the revenue from Sunday’s parking fares would go towards other city climate change initiatives.
A document listing the city’s 2019 Financial Plan motions shows that based on parking revenue generated on Saturdays, charging drivers to park on-street on Sundays would generate an additional $500,000 – $600,000 in revenue per year.
On-street parking zones with a 24-hour time limit currently have a $9 day rate, and 20-minute meters are $1 per 20 minutes.
In February 2019, City of Victoria spokesperson Bill Eisenhauer told Victoria Buzz that no public consultation process was undertaken by the municipality and that there are no future plans to seek input from the constituency.
Council did, however, take into consultation the views of local businesses and organizations like the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA).
DVBA Executive Director Jeff Bray believes that scrapping free on-street Sunday may be positive for people visiting the downtown core on Sundays.
“Anecdotally, we’ve heard that Sunday parking can be very difficult for customers on-street,” Bray told Victoria Buzz in February. “In many cases, business employees are the first downtown and they park on the street because it’s free all day.”
The city hopes that the four hour maximum stay and access to free parking at city parkades will create a reasonable turn-over rate at spots for drivers.