Pay parking comes into effect across all of Granville Island starting today

Traffic backs up at the south entrance to Granville Island in Vancouver, British Columbia March 13, 2004. CP PHOTO/Don Denton

The days of circling Granville Island for a free parking spot have come to an end.

Starting Saturday, all parking stalls will have to be paid for within the peak hours of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Pay parking will be lifted on all stalls across the island outside of those hours.

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The $3 price starting Saturday will last until Sept. 30, when the cost goes down to $2 per hour for the winter months. The price goes back to $3 on May 1.

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“We’re hoping to improve availability and congestion on the island,” Granville Island planner Bethany Dobson said. “We also want a simpler experience for visitors.”

The new parking system was first announced in October 2018 and finalized last month.

READ MORE: Year-round pay parking is coming to all of Vancouver’s Granville Island

Up until now, roughly 40 per cent of stalls on Granville Island cost $3.50 per hour between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The rest of the stalls were a mix between one hour and three hour free parking.

That caused many visitors to keep driving until they nabbed a free spot, which Dobson said often clogged the roads on the island and caused safety concerns for pedestrians.

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Free parking on Granville Island may be coming to an end – Mar 26, 2018

“We know that under the current system drivers are willing to circle the island and pass by one of the paid stalls looking for a free stall,” she said.

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“We hope that under this new system people will choose the first stall they see.”

Drivers will be able to purchase parking time in 15-minute, 30-minute and one-hour increments using either coins or parking payment apps, including Honk, PayByPhone and EasyPark.

READ MORE: New valet service at Granville Island – for bikes

Dobson is hopeful the new plan will push visitors to use other modes of transportation to get to the island, including cycling, walking and public transit.

A bike valet is also in place to ensure cyclists don’t fall victim to theft, allowing them to lock up their rides in a secure, monitored area. The island has also added more bike racks since 2016.

“If people are coming in their cars and want free parking, we hope they check us out a little earlier or later outside of those peak hours,” she added.

The plan also isn’t meant to be a revenue-earner for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which manages the island.

“This is purely about easing congestion and availability,” Dobson said.

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