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New parking rates and hours for downtown Kelowna

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New rates and hours for downtown Kelowna parking – Jul 16, 2019

On-street parking in downtown Kelowna could hit the pocketbook a little harder in the future.

“The biggest change is a shift to variable-rate parking programs,” parking services manager Dave Duncan said.

Parking on busy streets, particularly those closer to the water, will soon cost up to $1.75 an hour, compared to the current rate of $1.25, Duncan said.

READ MORE: Kelowna battling ongoing parking meter vandalism with new pay stations

Meanwhile, parkade prices will stay the same, and they’ll be free from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. instead of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m, he added.

“It’s really about getting that shift of people from the on-street into the off-street lots, especially staff or longer-term parkers that are taking up prime space,” Duncan said.

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Courtesy: City of Kelowna

Drivers will also soon need to pay to park until 6 p.m. instead of 5 p.m., and high-demand areas will charge for parking until 9 p.m.

“It’s really just trying to shift the longer-term parkers into using the available capacity that we have in the evening in the parkades,” Duncan said.

READ MORE: Parking in Kelowna’s downtown could become more costly in some areas

The city’s hope is that the changes will increase the accessibility of on-street parking, he said.

“And ensure that there’s one or two spaces available on every block,” Duncan added.

Drivers will soon be allowed to park for three hours instead of just two, but that last hour will cost double, Duncan said.

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Certain areas will have a summer rate from mid-May to mid-September and an off-season rate that’s marginally cheaper.

“I don’t think it’s a cash grab because we’re also at the same time reducing the hours in the off-street lots, and it really is to shift the demand,” Duncan said.

READ MORE: City looks for solutions to parking woes in downtown Kelowna

Downtown Kelowna executive director Mark Burley is hoping the changes will help ease congestion downtown.

“There is lots of parking, but everybody wants to park right where they’re going. They don’t want to walk a block or two,” he said.

“The same cars seem to be parked in the same spots all the time, and what we want for our businesses downtown is for these cars to move so that new customers can come in and shop and enjoy downtown.”

Council is expected to pass changes to the parking bylaw at the next meeting, and then parking rates and hours could start changing in mid-August, Duncan said.

The off-season rates will be used for the initial launch, he added.

Over the next year, city staff will also be looking at developing a flexible monthly parking pass program, so that there’s an incentive for a driver to walk or bike to work.

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