I agree with Kitchener Rangers President Craig Campbell that the City of Kitchener should not use revenues from the paid parking lot at the Auditorium to pay for bylaw enforcement of on street parking during events at the facility.
As part of its 2014 budget process, the city released seven issue papers with proposals to increase revenue. At a public input session on the budget on Monday night, I’ll be speaking to two of the proposals including this proposed use of Auditorium parking fees.
Campbell said to me that the city is already getting revenue from the enforcement of parking regulations through tickets issued. He also said that over time, the need for enforcement should decrease as parking behaviors improve. I agree with both of these points. There may not be a direct relationship between ticket revenue and the enforcement but there is an indirect one and the need should reflect the level of enforcement deployed.
Better to use Auditorium parking revenues to reduce parking on residential streets
Before going further, I’d like to make a correction to the report which said “revenue funds from paid parking at The Aud were always intended to fund a variety of future parking and transportation management initiatives, including the enforcement of current parking regulations.” Rather at a public meeting held February 2012, the proposal presented by the Rangers targeted those funds to repay a new loan from the city to pay for an additional 100 parking spaces on the site.
If the proposal is accepted, it sends a message to residents that Auditorium parking on residential streets is to continue at present levels–along with the existing problems that require enforcement.
If those funds are not being used to add parking to the Aud’s property, they should be used towards reducing on street parking to pre-expansion levels if not even lower.
Better uses for these parking funds would be to:
- enhance and better promote the free ride program on GRT including making it more accessible to fans attending the occasional game
- have shuttles from a downtown parking garage that also picks up fans at the bus terminal and the iXpress stop at Ottawa and Charles
You may remember that I said that the shuttle idea from a downtown parking garage wouldn’t work without new incentives or disincentives. I did and I still think so.
If the city wants to get increased revenues from Aud parking, I recommend having paid parking for all lots at the facility for all vehicles with fewer than 4 passengers.
Doing so should increase parking revenues, reduce the overall number of vehicles looking for parking and see fewer vehicles parking on residential streets.
The existing car pool lot has quickly filled since it was first created. This suggestion increases the number of spots for vehicles with 4 or more fans while at the same time creating an incentive to come to the game as a group.
Paid parking at the Aud while offering free parking downtown and shuttles to the Aud creates incentives to park at a city garage downtown for vehicles with fewer than 4 fans.
To start the parking rate at the Aud could be something modest like $5 per vehicle but the city should consider over time increasing it to be on par with parking for the Centre in the Square.
The bottom line: eliminate need for enforcement
But whether the number of spaces with paid parking increases or not, allocate enough revenue to reduce the need for the current level of parking enforcement by bylaw.