tempting fate

It’s been over SIX MONTHS since I’ve ridden my scooter to work downtown (to be fair, I was unemployed for 4 of those months and working in Burnaby for the other), but not much has changed. The weather was finally nice enough for me to forego the hated bus and ride Lola in, so I got up nice and early this morning to a) rinse the henna out of my hair (I only destroyed two pillow cases this time!) and b) leave the house early in the hopes of securing a parking spot near my office.

I was successful at both of these, but I am confused and tempting fate: I did not pay for the meter where I parked Lola.

Because the “discounted motorcycle rate” for the designated spot I’m in is $18.50 for the DAY.

That can’t be right .. can it?

The City of Vancouver is trying to do right by those who prefer two wheels to four by creating additional parking spots for them downtown. This is great, and I approve of the initiative as well as the 50% discount on metered rates. However, the majority of the spots still seem to have either a 2-hour time limit (making them useless for people who work), or are apparently RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE. I could drive my car to work, and it would only cost me $16.50 for a day – what force on this earth could ever make it a good idea to pay $18.50 for 8 hours of motorcycle parking? Let’s do some Monday morning math:

  • Parking on the street at a motorcycle-specific spot: $18.50/day = $370/month
  • Parking in the lot down the street: $8/day = $160/month
  • Renewing my motorcycle parking pass: $5.25/day = $105/month
  • Bus: $5/day = $100/month
  • Bus tickets: $4.20/day = $84/month
  • Bus pass: $4.05/day = $81/month
  • Employee Discount Bus Pass (requires a 12-month commitment): $3.53/day = $70.50/month

For the sake of the work I need to do, I’m not calculating gas or insurance or depreciation on my shoes. It would seem that taking the bus to work is the most logical route, but DAMN I hate that idea – having my scooter available to do stuff is just awesome, and riding to/from work on a gorgeous day simply can’t be beat. Want to go to the beach after work? Meet friends across town? Grab some groceries on the way home; stop at the post office to pick up packages? All of this AND MORE can be done when I ride Lola to work. Hell, it even opens up my lunchtime options considerably – when I get sick of the offerings nearby, I can go for a quick ride and fetch myself anything that tickles my fancy times. On the bus, I’m trapped. Strangers are standing up in my business. There are never any seats, and people smell bad/talk loud/are obnoxious. It’s desperately hot, and there’s never enough air. I HATE THE BUS.

At best, I could combine a couple of options (parking pass during the summer; bus tickets/pass the rest of the time), but that is a hassle: if I don’t remember to cancel my parking pass on time, it costs me an extra month and I inevitably double up on one pass or another.

All of this is VERY EXPENSIVE. I should just move downtown, or live under my desk.

You know what the worst part of this is? In San Francisco, they charge motorcyles $.25/h to park and there are hundreds upon hundreds of spots. $2 a day to park your ride; $2.50 if you decide to stay the entire 10-hour limit. Vancouver’s parking situation is so incredibly frustrating – they’re penalizing people who drive to cover the cost of the bike lanes, used by people who don’t pay gas or insurance. Yeah, that’s an awesome idea: cater to those who contribute the least to the city’s coffers, at the expense of those who pay out the ass for the absolutely everything. Love it.

get with it, vancouver.

Now I’m grumpy, and I’ll probably get a parking ticket. BOO! BOO ON MONDAY!

7 thoughts on “tempting fate

  1. I am going to be all crotchety for a moment and take umbrage at slagging the bike lanes. A huge amount of the parking fees go to translink tax, to subsidize road construction/maintenance and public transit. Vancouver is making it inconvenient to drive any motorized vehicle into the city centre in the hopes that more people will walk/bike/bus.

    I hate a smelly, crowded bus as much as anyone, and think the way the bike lanes were pushed through was total BS (even though I don’t oppose their actual existence). But let’s not blame parking shenanigans on just bicycles. And be thankful there isn’t (yet) a $12/day congestion tax/toll just to drive into the city centre (never mind parking there) like there is in London.

    • And I am also going to be grumbly about “those who contribute least to the city’s coffers” – those who live close enough to bike generally live inside the city limits, and within a pretty reasonable jaunt of downtown. And where are property values (and therefore property *taxes*) highest? As opposed to anyone who doesn’t live within the city limits and pays zero taxes (outside of parking fees) into the city’s coffers.

  2. I was just going to say the same thing. I use the Vancouver cycling infrastructure outside the downtown core to commute, year-round (well, I cycle in the rain, but not the snow), and the downtown lanes on occasion; I also pay Vancouver property taxes and at least two or three transit fares a week, and my household pays gas taxes.

    Also, the bike lanes cost waaaaaay less than recent/ongoing SkyTrain and bridge projects, all of which come out of the same funds. And every person using a bike lane is one less person crowding your bus or competing with you for parking spots.

    • Really I’m just jealous that you live in Vancouver and get to work downtown while I enjoy the worst of the suburbs ;)

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