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HEIGHTON – Why is parking such a hot button topic in Kamloops?

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

PARKING. IT’S A TOPIC WE LOVE TO DEBATE, discuss, dissect and study. The question for me is: Why is parking is such a hot button topic?

Depending on who you talk to, the reasons for the parking debate are many. Some would attribute it to abundant affluence which results in a community of privileged drivers where it’s perceived as a birth right to drive. Others would tell you it’s due to lack of accessible and appropriate transport options. Still others would tell you its geography.

Jeremy Heighton.

I don’t know that there is ever “one answer” to these social challenges. I can tell that as a former employer of over 50 staff in a business that operated 24 hours a day and seven days a week, driving was a necessity.

If I had a non-driver I couldn’t staff them after 10:00 without lining up a ride, due to a lack of bus service from the Shore to uptown.

I can tell you, having ridden a school bus on the vast openness of the prairies growing up, that typical Canadian winter cold is not pleasant to stand and wait for buses in.

I can tell you that we (me included) live farther away from commerce centres and so need to get to shopping and services in a quick and efficient manner.

Which gets us to the real question: Why don’t we design better cities, that are decentralized, allow for easier access to transit, and have shopping hubs within walking distance to most homes?

The reality is that urban sprawl has been, and continues to be, the single greatest challenge to efficient movement of people and our driving problem (notice I didn’t say parking).

Here on the Shore, we are working on options to challenge our driving problem by opening up to our members and community in our upcoming planning session, the discussion of our parking/driving and transportation options.

We believe that while central hubs such as a Performing Arts Center are great for community celebrations and large scale events; smaller more intimate event venues can connect our communities, get us out of cars, minimize traffic congestion and create greater connectivity.

I offer this thought to challenge you to think in different terms, to think creatively about the common challenges we all experience in our cities, and communities within those cities. I challenge you to come up with solutions, and then share them with us. If we live in a world of complacency, we shrink from opportunity. When we think critically about our future, new horizons emerge.

I hope I will see you at one of our community planning sessions. Your voice and ideas are critical to creating the well balanced community that someday may solve our driving problem, and other challenges.

Jeremy Heighton is executive director of the North Shore Business Improvement Association. He has lectured on leadership and business around the world.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6800 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.

4 Comments on HEIGHTON – Why is parking such a hot button topic in Kamloops?

  1. “The maximum distance car drivers are willing to walk is short in the context of weekly shopping (approximately 100 meters) and work (maximum 50 meters) …” (from the Journal of Transport and Land Use). There is plenty of similar data. This tells me that people want to walk within two city blocks at most, from where they intend to shop, and that, tellingly; the overwhelming cause of parking issues in the downtown is the people who work downtown. This makes a great case for encouraging more use of public transit by workers. The parking problem is, simply put, a human behavior (read laziness) problem, and it s a problem everywhere.

  2. Alan C. Kuhnert // February 1, 2019 at 9:21 AM // Reply

    As a 70 year old man I find it simply inconceivable that able bodied Kamloopsians can’t park their environmentally obscene SUVs 3 blocks from the downtown core and walk. Families with young children get a pass but millennials meeting friends for lunch or dinner should be ashamed. I’ve been known to walk downtown for lunch from Coopers on Tranquille. Try it folks your bodies will thank you.

  3. Parking is not a problem at all, it is the laziness of having to walk a little.

  4. We live in a world of complacency…you said it Mr. Heighton!
    It is also called “comforting conformism”…also known as “go along to get along”.
    It is a tough paradigm to break.
    But fundamentally, as this old philosopher friend of mine once told me, people don’t fix problems…they create problems.

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