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EDITORIAL – Just smile and pay more at the downtown parking kiosk

An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

PARKING RATES in downtown Kamloops are going up again.

As of January, the first two hours will cost $1.50 an hour at the kiosks, and $3 for the third hour.

That’s a hike of 25 cents for the first two hours, 50 cents for the third.

It’s no surprise, though — or shouldn’t be, since the decision was made four years ago. Plenty of warning.

Looked at another way, the hourly rate has gone up by 50 per cent over that time. And, in 2013, when the new parking kiosks were brought in, the $1 per hour we paid then was double what it was under the old meters.

Those kiosks, which were terrible things from the beginning, now look worn out. Not long after they were installed, there were so many complaints that the City tested out a better screen so people could read the thing, but three years later nothing more has been done.

And that one lone improved screen on Victoria Street is in such tough shape you have to practically break your thumb trying to get the “Okay” button to work.

But today’s question is, are we paying too much for parking? Let’s set aside the argument for free parking for the moment, and look elsewhere.

In Vancouver, the basic rate is $2 an hour for on-street parking. In Kelowna, it’s a buck twenty-five. Victoria drivers pay $1.50, the same as Kamloops drivers will pay next year.

And, not to forget that parking in the Tranquille Road shopping zone is free, because no civic politician is willing to commit political suicide by suggesting a level playing field.

Nobody likes to pay more for parking. Nobody likes to pay for parking at all.

But, let’s face it, the parking rates in downtown Kamloops aren’t out of line with what people have to pay in other B.C. cities.

So, come Jan. 1, we’ll just have to suck it up and shell out another quarter for the privilege of shopping in downtown Kamloops.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear twice daily Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on ArmchairMayor.ca and CFJC Today. Contact him at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (5669 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

7 Comments on EDITORIAL – Just smile and pay more at the downtown parking kiosk

  1. Parking rates aren’t really the reason for the anger. Buying those new kiosks from an overseas company, and paying them a commission from parking money is. It was an unnecessary expenditure when the original meters were working just fine. The kiosks were purchased just because , gasp, someone else had them , and Kamloops must therefore have them too. Ridiculous thinking by city staff once again, and a major fail for council not using common sense and sending that idea to the recycle bin. I too agree with JP.

  2. Kathryn Goudy // November 3, 2017 at 8:01 AM // Reply

    I think we are already paying more than $1.50 for the first 2 hours. Yesterday, I put in $2.00 and received 1 hour and 48 minutes worth of parking. It would have cost me $2.25 for a full 2 hours.

  3. The parking rates are not the biggest problem downtown. The greatest challenges continue to be all about those unpopular kiosks and the parking pressures on Victoria Street between 1st & 5th avenues.
    I am not in favour of increasing the cost of parking in our downtown core unless there is a specific value or benefit attached to this increase, as it could give just one more reason to avoid shopping downtown. I lament that we changed to those kiosks, but we have live with that decision for now. However, if we want to increase fees we should consider some additional incentives to overcome the current obvious parking challenges, such as; variable pricing based on parking demands, or offer bonus time to reward parking in lower demand areas, and offer free 2hr parking on Saturdays.
    The intention to change to the expensive more high tech kiosks was in the hope of better management and control of parking downtown. I question if the goals have been achieved, with the ongoing negativity and complaints continuing years later.
    I regularly hear from the critics, but rarely from the people who appreciate the new system. Council should be aware of both opinions, so we can make an informed and measured decision as to what to do in the future, when the initial contact expires.
    We also need to decide whether revenue generation or managing the parking is the priority. I favour a more blended and creative management style, one that would give people more options, benefits, and incentives when choosing to support downtown businesses. Any suggestions? …please email me at dwalsh@kamloops.ca .

    • Gosh Denis:
      There has been a list of suggestions…I am kind of sick and tired to repeat myself over and over and few others probably feel the same.
      Who is not listening?

  4. I agree with JP Winston’s assertion that the real issue, the thing that gets people angry, is the kiosks. They are incredibly difficult to read and they are slow as molasses. And you have to mash that OK button at least a couple of extra times every transaction (the “Press OK to continue” message that keeps popping up). The city should insist that the vendor fix their machines or they should fire them and get a system that works.

  5. Chris Guiguet // November 2, 2017 at 7:43 AM // Reply

    Downtown parking in Quesnel is free. Maybe council could check out how that’s working.

  6. I think the parking amount is a red herring. Limiting discussion to just that narrow topic is missing the point. It’s all the other things you mention about the kiosks that people hate, not the rate. The increasing rate is just an opportunity to say it. By the way, ALL the other cities you mentioned as comparisons are larger cities, with larger downtowns, and with more parking issues than our downtown. Comparing larger cities with more demands on parking than Kamloops has is like comparing, “Yes this Ming dynasty vase is more rare than Walmart one, but they’re both a vase so you should pay the same for the Walmart one.” Exaggeration intended to make the point.

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