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EDITORIAL – Two-block rule of thumb on parking calls for change to PAC plans

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

TWO BLOCKS. Those might be the two most important words that came out of a pair of City of Kamloops online information sessions on parking at the end of last week.

Two blocks. That’s the distance the City’s parking consultants define as a “reasonable” walking distance from vehicle to destination.

Remember those two words the next time a City bureaucrat of councillor insists there’s plenty of parking in Kamloops.

One of the online sessions pointed out there are more than 200 on-street parking stalls on the Tranquille Road corridor and half of them are usually available at any time during the day. But  the consultants say “available parking supply is not within reasonable walking distance.”

That reasonable distance being two blocks.

The situation in the downtown core is much the same. There are more than 2,000 on-street spaces and lots off street as well, which often leads City Hall to insist there’s plentiful parking if only people stopped expecting to park right in front of where they’re going.

But, again, there are many “hot spots” where parking is at a premium, and those tallies on available spots take in a huge area, all the way up to Columbia Street and east to the Columbia-Battle intersection.

Which brings us to the performing arts centre. The City went from supporting a large underground parkade with the first version, to insisting that parking doesn’t matter in the second.

The 1,500 people attending events in the main auditorium can find parking within a few blocks and hike to the venue, they say. But the two-block rule puts the kibosh on that rationale.

Parking, or lack of it, at the Sandman Centre proves the point. The parking issue was bungled when the arena was built, and now some PAC supporters want to ignore parking as a way of keeping the costs down.

Clearly, they better go back to the drawing boards before the next vote.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (8338 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.

6 Comments on EDITORIAL – Two-block rule of thumb on parking calls for change to PAC plans

  1. “The City went from supporting a large underground parkade with the first version, to insisting that parking doesn’t matter in the second.”
    That is inaccurate.

    The first time around, the City’s own initiated PAC proposal did include a parking structure, and the price tag for that … basically sunk it come referendum time.

    The second proposal was not a City initiated proposal, and even though Council voted to support the independent proposal by the KCA Society, the City itself never said that ‘parking didn’t matter’ or ‘insisted’ anything. The KCA proponents realised that for public infrastructure projects, parking is purely the responsibility of the City alone, and that their proposal was not responsible for parking. In essence the KCA ‘insisted’ that it wasn’t their problem, not the City saying it wasn’t needed.

    A store, restaurant or even residential private development must include parking as a part of the proposal, that is a private development norm. A PAC, ice rink, swimming pool or community centre is a public infrastructure works, therefore the independent proponent is not bound by that requirement. Parking is the responsibility of the City, not the proponent.
    This is a crucial distinction.

    Council has still not set aside available land for a future downtown parking structure. In fact the City has allowed residential developments to be built on a number of prime downtown spots that would have been perfect for a parking structure. The City has not even developed a plan to increase parking in the downtown core … at all.

    The City only response to future parking needs has been ideas to change Seymour into a slow zone and support biking lanes, and tell people to walk and take transit … ya.

    • Mel Rothenburger // March 15, 2021 at 3:49 PM // Reply

      The City has been intimately involved from the start, and City staff and councillors have been vocal about the supposed lack of a parking issue with respect to the PAC.

      • Sure, but vocalising about the lack of parking in the proposal isnt the PAC’s fault, it is their own. They can ‘say’ whatever they like to appease public concerns, but the responsibility for parking rests solely on the City. That was my point. Deferring the cause to the PAC, is a sidestep to the question of City parking. It really doesnt matter where parkers walk to.

        The problem is, we have a City that has learned not to approach its taxpayers with budgetary needs to build a stand alone, full parking structure for tens of millions. Not a savvy, long term political career move for anyone on Council. Kinda reminds me how no PM wants to be responsible for fixing 24 Sussex.

  2. In downtown Vancouver the hockey arena holds 18,000. BC Place holds 50,000-plus. AND there are 68,000-plus parking spaces within two blocks of them both. If the consultants are right that is.

  3. Dave Monsees // March 15, 2021 at 5:42 AM // Reply

    I don’t know how the City is able to find thee idiots so easily when they eed consultants. They must be searching continuously and keeping and accurate list of current ones. The competitive walking distance from your care to the store you are looking for is about 1/2 a block. That’s how close you are to the main entrance at parking at any of the three big malls in Kamloops. Down town is always looking for ” how to get shoppers back down town”. Well, stupid, the answer is convenience, never mind the pricing. If I drive to town to purchase an item, I’ll be looking for the most convenient store to get to, and it sure as heck is not driving the length of Victoria twice, hoping to find a parking spot with in two blocks of a store, plus paying a meter that is still hard to read, and then taking 20 minutes of walking to get to where I think the product might be. Give your head a shake folks.

    • Convenience, quality of service and safety. The downtown “experience” is getting worse in my opinion and the number of preferred stops is dwindling in my case. I sure would not want to justify million of dollars of tax money to satisfy special interest groups…they can put up their private money for parking as far as i am concerned. And we sure need to be leery of those so-called consultants working for the City. Inevitably it ends up costing us more and more regardless of what it is they “consult” on with questionable results.

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