An ArmchairMayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
PARKING IN KAMLOOPS is a lot like that drawer full of tangled-up electronics wires we all fight with every time we want to connect one of our devices. Every one is different.
They’re shaped differently, they plug in differently. The only thing they have in common is that we all hate them.
Royal Inland Hospital has a new payment system for its almost-new parkade. The old new one was around all of five months, almost. It came into being with the opening of the Clinical Services Building.
The new parkade is a blessing, reducing the number of nervous breakdowns considerably. With it came a new payment system for parking. You drove in, pulled a ticket out of a machine, the bar raised and in you went.
It’s the same system that was used — let’s see — seems like several times in the past at the old parkade. And was replaced with a remember-your-parking-stall-number-and-pay-for-parking-inside system, I forget how many times.
The new-new system for the new clinical services parkade has now been swapped out with a “gateless pay-on-entry or pay-in-advance” system. Now you must estimate your parking time when you arrive and pay at one of four stations, where you must enter your licence plate number.
According to Interior Health, it’s “intended to alleviate lineups and traffic congestion caused by a single exit gate…”
With some $80 million spent on the new building and parking, would it not have been possible to include a plan for a parking system that worked in the first place?
Would it not, in fact, be possible for everyone to get together and co-ordinate parking payment systems throughout the city? The technology certainly exists — the advances in pay-parking machinery and software have been amazing, spurred on by the fact it’s big business that generates big profits.
But in Kamloops, you have to negotiate different payment systems wherever you go — the downtown core, Royal Inland, Thompson Rivers University, private parking lots, parkades.
It’s confusing as hell. Different machines, different ways of paying, different rates.
Is there not a civic leader who will say, “This is a problem for people who live and visit here. Let’s fix it for them”?
Isn’t it time Kamloops became a modern city with one, single, easy way of paying for something so basic as parking? What a miracle that would be. What a gift.