A report from the Edmonton Transit System Advisory Board is identifying short-term options to address the high demand for park-and-ride stalls.
On Wednesday, councillors took the first steps towards charging more for reserved parking spots and increasing the number of reserved spots at park-and-ride locations.
The exact number of those extra spots is not known yet. After passing the motion, council asked city administration for a report on the numbers and specifics.
“Transportation committee is recommending that we move forward on increasing the proportion of paid park-and-ride stalls so people have better certainty and that’s a step in the right direction and we’ll sort out the rest through the transit strategy,” ETS advisory board member Anand Pye said.
The current cost of a reserved stall is $42 a month, which has not changed since 2010 and is lower than some other Canadian cities. A reserved stall in Winnipeg comes in at between $44 and $271 a month, while a reserved stall in Ottawa costs $53.50 a month, and in Calgary costs between $70 and $80 a month.
“We have to be careful of finding that right balance,” Natalie Iazurko with the city said.
“The last thing I want to do is spill people out into neighbourhoods opposed to using our park-and-ride lots.”
The transit report found 87 per cent of stalls at LRT Park and Ride sites are free — meaning there are charges to park in the remaining 13 per cent — and money is needed to maintain and operate the park and ride facilities.
On most days, unreserved stalls are not available after 7 a.m. at Century Park in south Edmonton, and after 8 a.m. at all other LRT stations.
“I wait for someone to come out of the LRT station so I can just follow them to their car,” student Harina Aujla said. She often spends 45 minutes circling the Century Park lot looking for a spot.
Given the difficulty of finding a free spot each morning, there is a huge waiting list for a reserved stall. For example, there are 240 assigned stalls at Century Park, but 3,540 people on the waiting list.
Council would like to see the increased prices and added reserved spots in place by early September.
There are 5,022 park-and-ride stalls in the city, with 4,005 at LRT stations. There are eight park-and-ride facilities in total.
Down the road, they are also considering designating time limits for some of the unreserved spots.
There are four recommendations listed in the report:
- Converting existing free stalls to paid reserved stalls
- Increasing the price to park in reserved stalls
- Offering time limits or charges for unreserved stalls, such as four-hour parking and daily parking rates
- Seeking alternative parking stalls at convenient places such as at malls and churches