Ward 7 response to parking permit changes
The Ward 7 office has heard the numerous complaints about the Residential Parking Permit (RPP) system that was approved by the previous City Council (January 2021) and the rate increase approved by City Council (November 2022). As the Ward Councillor, I genuinely hear and feel your concerns and must make a few things abundantly clear.
- There are over 80 residential parking zones across the entire city where parking management is required. In some places and cases, RPP is justified. However, not all RPPs are the same nor are the public expectations for parking management. The RPP has been in place in Calgary for over 30 years. Detail on Calgary’s parking policy framework, it can be viewed at Calgary Parking Policies or https://www.calgary.ca/planning/transportation/parking-policies.html
- Some consider the amended RPP program ‘a fee for the privileged select few who wanted to protect parking in front of their own home’. I disagree especially when many taxpayers in other parts of Calgary can park in front of their homes without the cost of a parking permit
- Many of these taxpayers are also not exposed to the external parking demands on-street in our many Ward 7 intense parking use areas (i.e., retail districts, hospitals, post-secondary, LRT stations, etc.). The RPP was put in place to manage parking in areas because of these external demands – not to satisfy the privileged. Thus, I consider placing the onus of cost-recovery on the homeowner and tenants as unfair.
- In 2020, as a private citizen I opposed the proposed changes to the Residential Parking Permit when it was came before the previous City Council. During the 2021 municipal election, I campaigned on making changes.
- The previous parking permit fees of $54.45 after the 2nd permit issued did not cover Calgary Parking’s parking management service cost and The City sought to achieve cost-recovery. The City had calculated that a $50/year first permit, $75/year second permit, and $125.year third permit plus a $75/year max 2 visitor permit fee would cover the full cost of the program for users of the Residential Parking Permit program. Unfortunately, it was deemed that area residents and tenants cover this cost.
- After I was elected, in 2022 I sought to correct the Bylaw and return balance of accountability but there wasn’t Council support to make the change. Administration had originally proposed a $15/permit/year rate as a transition towards user payment of the program. But City Council, during 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budget deliberations in November 2022, approved a recommended motion to move immediately to full cost recovery from the homeowner / tenant. Unfortunately, the amended parking rates were bundled with other fees that required approval and I begrudgingly voted in favour of the changes.
- The approved Residential Parking Permit will come into effect when your current permit requires renewal. For some, this will be many months away. Calgary Parking will be moving to an annual renewal process so that you will not need to pay for a two-year fee upfront.The annual renewal fees are $50 first permit, $75 second permit, and $125 third permit plus a $75 max 2 visitor permit fee.
New parking management choices to consider
- Not deterred and still unhappy with the RPP changes, I began working with Calgary Parking this year to define new ‘residential parking management’ approaches that would provide Ward 7 residents communities A Choice that works for them.
- Draft concepts of these choices was presented in part at the Quarterly Council of Communities Meeting (a Ward 7 Councillor gathering of our 21 community associations and 5 business improvement areas) in March. With the opinions of the attendees and favourable consideration, I took comments back to Calgary Parking for refinement.
- Calgary Parking has returned to advised that these other choices are viable alternatives to the amended RPP and fees. These choices would allow for a different parking management systems and fee mechanisms that is fairer in certain situations. These choices to consider include:
- Removal of RPP Removal of Residential Parking Permit Zones by area resident request or by The City upon confirmation that there is no or little demand for parking management services. More information on this process can be found at www.calgary.ca/rpp.
- Time permitted parking Replacing the current Residential Parking Permit with a ‘One, Two- or Three-Hour Parking Permitted Zone’ and ticket enforcement for those exceeding the limit. The permitted days and timeframes would be customized around the period’s external parking demand is the highest. This would necessitate area residents to apply for a permit to park in the Permitted Zone area and a permit fee maybe required (to be determined). Visitor permits would still be available for long-stay visitors. More information on this process can be found at www.calgary.ca/rpp
- Incentive parking Replacing the current Residential Parking Permit with an ‘Incentive Parking Zone’ whereby on-street parking would be permitted for an hourly parking fee via the ParkPlus machine, online payment, or mobile app by those without a residential parking permit. Area residents and their visitors could still use the permit program to allow for longer stay parking. Revenues from this initiative could help offset parking permit fees. This option would require a neighbourhood level approach to be successful. Calgary Parking can then evaluate the feasibility to determine the potential revenues, costs and possible revenue return to the community. More information on this option will be forthcoming.
- These choices are being packaged for discussion with Ward 7 communities and with neighbourhood block residents where there are active RPP zones. They will be applicable either at a community-wide level or a neighbourhood block level. A process is being developed to share details of these alternatives and a timeline defined to implement the changes.
- If none of these approaches are viable, the current Residential Parking Permit remains viable and the approved fees would apply upon renewal.
For further information or questions about these approaches, please contact Calgary Parking at permits.calgaryparking.com
In closing, the Ward 7 Office has been working for weeks diligently to address your concerns around Residential Parking Permit program and fees. We did not come out to share our efforts until after Administration was able to confirm these alternatives. An earlier response could have been provided but it would not contain alternatives for you to consider. Please accept our timing on providing this response.
We heard you; we are advocating for you; and we are working on better resolutions for you. As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reminder that this is a Respectful Workplace Environment. For the Ward 7 office, I ask that your comments and questions be considerately placed. Rude and abusive responses is not tolerated and will not be responded to.
Respectfully, thank you!
Terry Wong (He/Him/His)
Ward 7 City Councillor