unsatisfactory

When last I ranted about the pathetic state of scooter parking affairs in the city of Vancouver, I made special effort to not appear crazy or be myself in any way. My intention was to write something that I could send to the city and to the local papers to try and bring attention to the major hypocrisy regarding two-wheeled vehicles, but ultimately, I wasn’t happy with my post and didn’t forward it anywhere else.

Enter Darren, who apparently felt otherwise. He took it upon himself to write a letter to the Mayor of Vancouver, quoting parts of my post and linking them to the site. Darren is awesome! He copied me on the letter he wrote, and he was far more eloquent and coherent than I could have been:

I’ve been debating buying a scooter for commuting to work but downtown seems less than friendly towards scooter parking. A local blogger put it quite well in a post today:

Other cities are doing their part to encourage people to consider alternate forms of transportation. In Toronto, scooters are allowed to park on sidewalks. In San Francisco, entire blocks of the downtown core are reserved for motorcycles and scooters at $0.25 an hour, for a maximum of ten hours

https://blog.deliciousjuice.com/2009/08/10/4-wheeled-respect/

I’m glad to see more bike options opening up such as the recent Burrard Bridge bike lanes but I’d like to see more encouragement for scooters and motorcycles since they help cut traffic congestion and CO2 emissions. Are there any plans to address the inadequate scooter parking situation in downtown?

He sent the email on August 10th, the day I wrote the post. I’ve never written to the mayor before, so I wasn’t sure of the protocol – do they usually respond to email from their constituents? Would anyone notice that I totally didn’t swear in the post? Would the lack of pop culture references end up costing me credibility?

The mayor and his people work on a different calendar than the rest of us do, and finally on August 28th, Darren received a response to his email. It was interesting to note how many people it bounced to before a response was written, but even *I* usually respond to things sooner than 18 days out.

At any rate, the Parking Programs Supervisor of the Parking Management Branch of the City of Vancouver responded to Darren’s email and my post:

Thank you for your email which was forwarded to my attention for review and response. We welcome feedback from the public as this can often provide the opportunity for us to improve our service to the community.

I would like to assure you that the City of Vancouver recognizes the use of scooters as a viable means of transportation.  Although scooters are smaller than cars, they are still subject to the same traffic and parking regulations as automobiles.

In your email, you ask “Are there any plans to address the inadequate scooter parking situation in downtown?” I’m pleased to inform you that the City of Vancouver launched our ‘Motorcycle Parking Program’ downtown back in 2006.  We have installed 40 on-street parking spaces designated for motorcycles/scooters only.  These spaces have been installed within existing marked oversized corner clearances and are identified with special signage and road markings.  The cost to park a scooter in one of these authorized spaces will be ½ the cost charged to automobiles in adjacent meter spaces. Please note these spaces are intended for short term parking and therefore, they will be metered for visits of 2 hours or less. They can be found at the following locations:

1600 Alberni
1600 Davie
500 Cardero
1100 Burrard
400 Hornby
500 Hornby
1000 Hornby
900 Cambie
1000 Dunsmuir
400 Howe
800 W. Cordova
900 W. Cordova

In addition, the vast majority of downtown curb-side spaces are allocated to short-term parking (for visits of less than 2 hours).  Vehicles used by persons looking for ‘all day’ parking are encouraged to purchase off-street parking all day or monthly parking. In this regard there are a number of options available.  ‘EasyPark Vancouver’ (jointly owned by the City of Vancouver and the Downtown Vancouver Association) offers discount parking to motorcyclists.  Working together with the British Columbia Coalition of Motorcyclists, Easy Park encourages motorcyclists to park downtown by offering discounted parking at three of their locations (150 W. Pender, 535 Richards, and 520 W. Georgia).  There are plans to expand this program to other locations in the future.  Motorcyclists using the ‘Unattended/Meter Lots’ and parking in motorcycle stalls can save over 50% off regular vehicle rates.  All these designated motorcycle stalls are covered, clearly signed, and most are located near the parking lot entrance. Motorcyclists can pay the meters by using coins or credit cards.

Should you have any additional questions or concerns regarding our ‘Motorcycle Parking Program’, please call Leanne Toderian at 604-873-7340.

Let’s look at this more closely, shall we:

I’m pleased to inform you that the City of Vancouver launched our ‘Motorcycle Parking Program’ downtown back in 2006.  We have installed 40 on-street parking spaces designated for motorcycles/scooters only.

Well, that sounds promising – 40 spaces is quite a few.

The cost to park a scooter in one of these authorized spaces will be ½ the cost charged to automobiles in adjacent meter spaces.

That’s fair; we range in size from tiny to almost car-sized, so half price is a good medium.

Please note these spaces are intended for short term parking and therefore, they will be metered for visits of 2 hours or less.

Wait, what?

This in no way addresses Darren’s emailed concern, or my blog post. He specifically said he was looking at a scooter as a means of getting to and from WORK. Who works a 2 hour work day? Perhaps the city does; that would definitely explain the 18-day response time. This is NOT a solution, it’s a joke. They did this in 2006 – what has been done since then?

The email goes on to address the longer-than-2-hour parking issue that currently has me swearing in Klingon:

Vehicles used by persons looking for ‘all day’ parking are encouraged to purchase off-street parking all day or monthly parking. In this regard there are a number of options available.  ‘EasyPark Vancouver’ (jointly owned by the City of Vancouver and the Downtown Vancouver Association) offers discount parking to motorcyclists.  Working together with the British Columbia Coalition of Motorcyclists, Easy Park encourages motorcyclists to park downtown by offering discounted parking at three of their locations (150 W. Pender, 535 Richards, and 520 W. Georgia).

These three locations are on the far east side of downtown, and not in the core (where most of the office buildings are).

Assuming you wanted to park there (all three locations are a 20 minute walk to my office), how much would it cost?

Motorcyclists using the ‘Unattended/Meter Lots’ and parking in motorcycle stalls can save over 50% off regular vehicle rates.  All these designated motorcycle stalls are covered, clearly signed, and most are located near the parking lot entrance. Motorcyclists can pay the meters by using coins or credit cards.

Well, that’s nice – discounts are good.

How much will it REALLY cost you, though?

Easy Park Vancouver’s website has two sets of information for motorcycle parking. The first is for metered or unattended lots – we can park for $.50/h, up to a maximum of $4. However, this only applies to the FOUR lots that have motorcycle stalls:

Lot 2 – 150 West Pender (GM Place) – 10 stalls
Lot 3 – 535 Richards (Harbour Center) – 6 stalls
Lot 5 – 520 West Georgia (White Spot) – 10 stalls
Lot 21 – 688 Cambie (QE Theatre) – 4 stalls

So we get discounted rates at 4 lots, for a total of 30 spots. 30 spots for all of the GVA’s motorcycle and scooter riding population. I can practically taste the love!

Easy Park also allows us to park at attended lots for a discount:

Lot 1 – 535 Hornby – $9/day
Lot 7 – 180 Keefer – isn’t actually downtown
Lot 19 – 900 West Cordova – $11/day
Lot 27 – 775 Hamilton – $4.50, if the 50% discount applies
Lot 31 – 160 Water Street – $4.50, if the 50% discount applies

Maybe some of you can use these spots, but I can’t.

The last section on Easy Park’s website is my favourite: Monthly Parking! Motorcycles receive a 50% discount at 5 downtown lots (out of 39), subject to waitlists and availability. Even with the discount, these lots START at $125/m. What a deal!

This is such a joke.

Hey, Vancouver. How about some affordable, usable parking options for 2-wheeled riders? Offering us 10 spots in a lot 6 blocks from the downtown core is not acceptable. 2-hour parking options are not acceptable. Graciously allowing us to pay $1500 a year or MORE on parking in 5/39ths of your lots is not acceptable. Refusing us entry in the majority of your lots, even when we are willing to pay, is not acceptable. There’s got to be a better way – other cities have figured it out; why can’t you?

Fail.

4 thoughts on “unsatisfactory

  1. I just think its 100% BS personally, all they (the city) care about is money that’s coming in but not the people who work/live downtown and who need to get from point a or b in either on 2 or 4 wheels since transit doesn’t go to where most of us need to go.

  2. You can’t please all people all of the time. Although I do agree that the percentages do not appear to be 2-wheel-friendly, remember that the City IS doing (has done) something. There are cities in this great country that you have NO consideration with regards to parking.

    I agree with the assessment that the City should do more, but I also think that the private lots should be doing MUCH more, as they are the money-grubbing capitalists who could shove 3 or 4 2-wheelers in the space of a 4 wheeler and make money hand over fist (or more hand over fist than they already are).

    I guess we should just be thankful we don’t have to pay to park at home!!!

  3. This is bad news bears, especially for me, because I’m looking at buying a motorcycle sometime in the next few months ( hopefully, if things go well ). I’m probably not going to be parking much downtown, it’ll be mostly used for going to visit the parents and the girlfriend, but the whole parking situation downtown really sucks.

  4. Pingback: mmix in review « delicious juice dot com

Leave a Reply to Blayne Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s