Parking rates in New Westminster going up in the new year

LARRY WRIGHT photo | THE RECORD

City councillor Betty McIntosh is trying to set up temporary free parking on Columbia Street by the E.L. Lewis heritage building.

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New Westminster is finally about to move into the modern parking era, with pay-by-phone and mobile technology. But it will cost everyone more. Forty cents per hour more, to be exact.

City council on Monday passed the motion to raise parking rates. Parking services coordinator Sukh Maghera said the reason is to keep up with the other municipalities in parking rates and to upgrade the meters in the city. Along with the new prices will come convenient new technology.

“We want to bring in new software, new technology. Pay by phone. Mobile payments,” he said.

Currently, the city has a mix of pay stations and parking meters. Maghera said rates will apply to both.

All meters that are currently $1.35 per hour will be $1.75 per hour. Ones that charge $1.10 per hour will be $1.50 per hour. The exact date hasn’t been confirmed yet but Maghera believes it will start Jan. 1, 2014.

The Vancouver Sun reports off-season parking rate in White Rock is $1.50 per hour and the peak season hourly rate is at $3 per hour.

City councillor wants business owners’ input

City Coun. Betty McIntosh was the only one who opposed the parking rate raise at the meeting. She wanted to get the opinions of business owners and open up a discussion.

Business owners would prefer to have no meters. They would find it more helpful. More people would travel downtownt to part for five minutes and then go.”

McIntosh said the parking meters are unfair and inconvenient for those who want to complete small errands in the downtown core.

“With credit card, the minimum amount charged is $1,” she said.

City Coun. Bill Harper, chairman of the economic development advisory committee, ignored McIntosh. She said, “The committee has a variety of businesses that can give good advice, even ones without meters in front of their businesses.”

Later in the meeting, McIntosh put forward a notice of motion for free parking on Columbia Street by the location affected by the Oct. 10 fire. “one hour parking, free parking, and it would be enforced.”

She suggested having the free parking until the new year, but she isn’t getting any support from city council about this either.

Related articles:

Parking perspectives in White Rock (Surrey Now)

Parking rates go into reverse as Vancouver defies national trend (Vancouver Sun)

Vancouver parking rates in comparison to other North American cities (VanCityBuzz)

Downtown parking price hike deters overnight stays (CBC Calgary)

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