Ron Down has been living in his Hillhurst home in Calgary for 25 years and hasn’t had to pay to park in front of house before.
But, in August, if he wants two parking permits and two visitor passes, he’ll have to fork out $275.
“Their rationale is that they need to recoup their cost of having to administrate all of this, but the rest of the city also comes down here and parks so why isn’t the whole city being charge for this?” Down asked.
The co-founder of the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association says there has been mixed reaction from community members.
Peter Oliver said for years the city has been subsidizing free parking of personal vehicles on public property at the expense of everyone.
“We have all been paying for our neighbours’ second, third and fourth vehicle to be stored on a street and that has come at a cost for the city to do all that parking enforcement.
“So I think this is partly about the city recouping the fees in order to enforce the parking so that it’s revenue neutral but also to make sure that we’re making the best use of our public space,” Oliver said.
Lower Mount Royal resident Robert Ferguson says it’s all about getting people away from car dependency.
“It’s kind of like smoking. The way you defeat smoking is not by taxing – that encourages smuggling. You defeat smoking by taking away the space. That’s how you eventually end the car. Can you take away the space? This is the first step in that,” Ferguson said.
“I am of the opinion that we need to work towards the end of the supremacy of the car. It takes up an enormous surface patch of our cities. If we vastly reduced car usage, we would get so much city back,” Ferguson said.
During last fall’s budget process, council voted for a cost-recovery option on the residential parking permit zones.
Up until now, homeowners in the parking zones were given free permits.
Calgary’s mayor says the costs that affected residents pay is largely up to them and how many passes they want.
“There’s a lot of variables here and I’m looking forward to hearing from the councillors who represent those areas. We have to see how residents are feeling and how businesses are feeling and make sure that the decision is a good one,” Gondek said on Friday.
A petition on Change.org had been signed by nearly 11,000 people as of Friday afternoon.
Concerns have also been raised that it’s unfair to charge inner city dwellers and it makes it more appealing to head out to the suburbs, which runs counter to the city’s commitment against urban sprawl.
Ward 7 Councillor Terry Wong said the city may have to do some reconsidering if the feedback is significant.
In the meantime, he said residents can have a review the parking permit status of their street and opt out or apply for a two-hour parking zone.