Three city polls show varying opposition to Vancouver’s mandatory parking permit

Earlier this year, a total of three separate opinion polls were conducted by the city of Vancouver on its proposal to implement mandatory overnight parking permits for all residential streets in the city.

An initial poll conducted through the city government’s Talk Vancouver public consultation platform received nearly 19,000 responses, with 80% expressing disapproval of overnight residential permits and only 16% supporting the policy.

A separate question on the proposed annual pollution charge on newer, more polluting vehicles (2023+) – in addition to night permits – saw 72% opposition and 25% support.

Those who were most impacted by the proposed permit responded in greater numbers to the open survey, residents of single-family homes representing 61% of respondents, 61% of ground residents to 71%, homes occupied by their owners at 67%, households without a car at 5% and residents who depend on a motor vehicle for their transport needs at 70%.

According to city staff, the proportions of Talk Vancouver survey participants who live in single-family, ground-facing homes and depend on motor vehicles do not reflect city-wide demographics.

Based on city data, the actual share of city households living in single-family homes and ground-floor accommodation is 15% and 39%, respectively. Households without a car represent 27% and those who use motor vehicles as their main mode of transport are 46%.

City staff also asked Sentis Market Research to conduct a demographically representative survey, which solicited the opinions of 521 people. Support levels were higher in this second survey, with 50% against and 31% against the night permit, and 36% against and 55% against the pollution charge.

A third survey was then commissioned by City staff, as a follow-up to respondents to the second survey conducted by Sentis. It received 390 responses.

According to the city, for the third survey, respondents were assessed on the idea of ​​reducing the basic night permit fee for low-income households and shortening the duration of the night permit. They also clarified existing vehicles and most new economy vehicles and family vehicles would be exempt from the annual pollution charge.

Based on these proposed changes to the strategy, the Sentis follow-up survey of a smaller group of respondents revealed marginal opposition to the night permit, with 47% against and 45% against. The most important change concerns the results of the annual pollution charge – 28% against and 63% against.

The follow-up investigation led to city staff’s revised draft for the parking permit strategy, which was revealed earlier this week and will be submitted to Vancouver City Council next week for deliberation and final decision. If city council approves it, city staff will implement and roll out permit requirements in early 2022.

The new night permit regulations would be in effect from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. – instead of the previous start time of 10:00 p.m. nightly.

Night permits for all streets will be $ 45.45 including GST annually upon launch, with low-income households paying $ 5 plus GST annually.

Although the higher levels of support in the third survey are based on the introduction of lower fees, it should also be noted that previous reports to city council and public comments from city staff indicate the intention of the city government to transfer the original “low” night permit. rates at “market rates” in just a few years, which would likely be much higher than the 2022 implementation rates.

In addition to overnight permits for residents, the 2022 plan calls for temporary permits for overnight visitors, with rates of $ 3 plus GST per night.

Overnight residential parking permits will be available online, by phone at 311, or in person. For night visit permits, they are accessible by PaybyPhone or by new payment terminals installed in Vancouver.

In addition to the overnight stay permit, there would be a new annual pollution tax for new, more polluting vehicles for 2023 and newer models – starting at $ 500 for most sport sedans and small gasoline SUVs, and up to $ 1,000 for most gasoline – luxury sports cars, large SUVs and full-size pickup trucks. No pollution charges would be applied to all existing vehicles and 2023+ battery electric vehicles, hybrids and most economy vehicles. Exemptions would be offered for heavily polluting vehicles modified for people requiring wheelchairs or other mobility devices.

Net revenues from the combined night permit and annual pollution charge are expected to reach between $ 40 million and $ 68 million for the city government over four years, from 2022 to 2025. City staff say the revenues could cover some of the costs. City council climate emergency action plan projects, such as dedicated bus lanes, signposted crosswalks, additional sidewalk ramps, tree plantings, and new battery-electric vehicle chargers.

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Sandra J. Lacey

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