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New city-wide parking plan in the works for North Vancouver

Pay parking, electric charging stations, patios, bike lanes and more could be up for an overhaul as the City of North Vancouver develops a curb access and parking plan
Numerous street signs line Lonsdale Avenue near 15th Street, as heavy traffic pours by a curbside seating area. | Nick Laba / North Shore News

A new plan could curb some types of vehicle access in the busiest areas of the City of North Vancouver, while freeing up more space for other uses.

On Monday, staff presented a report on a new curb access and parking plan, intended to better manage car parking – “not necessarily reduce it” – and enable more diverse use in accordance with the city’s mobility strategy.

Council voted unanimously for staff to undertake an initial consultation phase, which will roll out this fall, and to report back with findings early next year that will inform a draft plan.

Existing curb regulation is consistently identified as not meeting the needs of residents, visitors and businesses – from parking vehicles to loading and unloading people and goods – staff said in the report.

“Parking data collected across the city aligns with community observations,” reads the report. “Many streets, particularly those close to commercial high streets (e.g., Lonsdale Avenue), are near full occupancy throughout the day, both on weekdays and weekends.”

In the city today, more than 90 per cent of curb space is dedicated to vehicle parking, staff said, leaving less room for a growing number of other uses, including transit stops as well as parklets and patios.

“There may also be a need for dedicated room for various road users to travel in the curb lane, including transit, active and electric modes, including bikes, scooters and vehicles,” staff said in the report.

To better manage demand, possible tools include time-limited parking, resident exemptions and paid parking. The plan will also direct regulations for parking, considering a lack of available parking can impede access to residences, businesses and other destinations, staff said.

Other initiatives in the plan will review loading zones, accessible parking and car share. Staff said they will also be looking at opportunities for on-street electric vehicle charging.

'We are a very busy, very compact city,' mayor says

With curbside space being so precious, Coun. Tony Valente asked why staff were considering on-street vehicle charging.

There’s going to be significant uptick in demand for electric-vehicle charging, replied city transportation planner Blair Underhill.

“Where we’re currently at from the regional side of things in terms of whether this can all be accommodated off street and in underground garages, whether we can retrofit multi-unit buildings to accommodate this, whether we can increase the amount of workplace charging to handle that type of demand, we’re in the ideation and exploration phase of that one,” he said.

Noting that parkades are currently underutilized, Coun. Angela Girard asked if there would be a review of these spaces.

“There’s certainly a direct linkage between on-street capacity and off street as well,” Underhill said. “So that’s definitely something that our team continues to observe and undertake data collection for.”

Everyone wants to be moving efficiently while accessing our homes, shops and services, said Mayor Linda Buchanan. “We can all agree we are a very busy, very compact city. And we’ve all felt the pressure increasingly, the demand for our curb space.”

“Council has been very strong in our commitments, in making sure that our streets are safe, inclusive and equitable, and that they also support a strong economy,” she added. “That’s why this body of work is so important.”