So according to a CBC article I read today, to deal with the issue of congestion, a parking fee is going to be introduced to two lower mainland parts to discourage the congestion. A $2 per hour parking fee at Lynn Headwaters and Belcarra Park. The goal is to ease the congestion and limit the number of visitors during the pandemic. Metro Vancouver justifies this by pointing out that parking is a finite resource and the parks fill up early in the morning from Mike Redpath. Metro Vancouver hopes the fees will reduce the lenghth of stays at the parks to increase turnover or to motivate visitors to explore alternative methods such as public transit, and carpooling.
This is flawed and it only hurts poor and fixed income people. First let’s look at the issue about the pandemic. Encouraging people to take public transit or worse carpool is a good way to expose people to the virus. Individual private transportation is by far the safest method of travel during a pandemic. That includes cars, motorcycles and bicycles. While Translink has gone to great lengths to protect passengers on buses, it is still a risk factor exacerbated by variants. I have no hard data on transmission on buses and I don’t care to spend time looking for any. Numbers would be low and it isn’t the point of my response to this stupid plan.
The second flaw is using money to discourage park use. This is absolutely unfair to any one with limited financial means. A lot of people are struggling during the pandemic and adding one more cost to life is just going to put the parks out of reach. Those with money will pay the fees and most likely not alter or change the duration of the stay. If we get more turn around time with those spending less time in the park over the parking fee, it will only benefit those that can afford it leaving fixed income seniors, disabled people and impoverished people excluded. Another consideration is disabled people who have to spend more time getting in and out of vehicles, and potentially are much slower at movement being penalized with fees because they may take longer due to the disability just to enjoy a park.
I don’t like this. Any kind of system to discourage usage is flawed. It is a first come first serve system but it was at least fear for all when it comes to opportunity and means. I know $6 bucks for 3 hours does not seem like a lot. But when all you have in your bank account is $20 bucks for the next few days, that essentially makes it impossible.
Leave the parks alone or impose a 3 hour parking limit. Don’t hurt people with limited financial means. Parks are one of the few activities low income people can enjoy.