Parking fees could increase in Brampton and free parking hours could be scrapped
Published November 20, 2023 at 2:52 pm
Some residents and businesses in Brampton have expressed concerns about a plan that could see parking fees increase in the city in 2024.
A report written by city staff members recommends that council adopt the proposed Brampton Parking Plan, which would, if passed, see the free hour of parking eliminated and prompt existing fees to increase to $3 per hour, $13.50 per day and $120 per month.
If the changes are approved by council, the new fees and other changes would come into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
The plan also recommends a paid residential on-street parking permit program “where feasible” and prioritizing curbside uses other than parking within certain areas in the city.
“The paid residential on-street parking permit program will address parking constraints in specific areas of the city that will be selected on the basis of a strict set of criteria,” the report reads.
According to the report, provincial regulations allow up to three parking spaces per lot in many neighbourhoods, but no more than one spot is officially required.
The program also recommends increasing the number of electric vehicle charging stations, rolling out car share services, improving transit, establishing bike share and e-bike programs, creating a downtown parking benefits district and developing a points-based Transportation Demand Management (TDM) checklist.
The report says recommended technological improvements include converting downtown on-street parking meters from pay-and-display into pay-by-plate and smart parking meters and upgrading the payment technologies.
The report says the Downtown Brampton BIA had concerns about removing the free hour of parking downtown and increasing rates, saying they worried the changes would hurt businesses–especially when there’s already below-ground work being done in the Queen Street and Main Street area.
The report says planning group Arcadis IBI told the BIA that increased rates increase turnover rates, which means the businesses could see more customers than before.
“The absence of parking charges contributes to congestion, cruising for parking and increased car use,” the report said.
The report also suggests council can delay the elimination of the free hour of parking until June 2025 after the Downtown Queen Street and Main Street infrastructure construction is completed.
The report also says off-street parking in the city’s downtown core is underutilized and could be leased to businesses or companies generating jobs and other economic benefits.
Based on a downtown parking survey undertaken in October 2022, approximately 900 parking spaces were available in the municipal off-street parking system that could be leased through parking agreements to support significant office development in the area, the report says.
“There is potential for additional annual revenue from shared parking of under-utilized parking spaces in the downtown municipal parking garage from approximately $800,000 to $1.1M, less some costs (approximately 10 per cent – 20 per cent of annual revenue), associated with tracking who should or should not be parking, ongoing administration for billing/setup, start-up for new parkers, addressing comments/complaints etc,” the report says.
The report also calls on the city to beef up its existing enforcement team, saying that only four officers are available to enforce parking rules from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. While the report says that the city currently offers 24/7 enforcement, the service requires “enhancement.”
The report also calls for the removal of minimum parking requirements in intensification areas, reducing parking minimums in the rest of the city, and setting parking maximums for select land uses city-wide.
The plan also includes changes to truck parking policies, such as allowing off-peak use of lots at large venues, shared use of commuter parking lots, truck parking permits in industrial and commercial areas and more.
The priorities in the report include short-, medium- and long-term recommendations.
The city began exploring changes to its parking policies in 2019, engaging residents and businesses along the way. While some concerns have been expressed, the report says that generally speaking, “residents and stakeholders were supportive of the recommendations.”
The report estimates the costs and revenue associated with the plan include $1.9M of capital costs, $200,000 of annual operating costs and $700,000 of annual revenue.
“The Parking Plan proposes a made-in-Brampton approach to managing city-wide parking based on extensive background research, public engagement, and best practices relating to policy, programs, and operations,” the report reads.
The report will come before council on Nov. 22.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising