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Editorial: North Vancouver parking rule changes not popular but necessary

Ultimately, residents and businesses will see the advantages
Numerous street signs line Lonsdale Avenue near 15th Street, as heavy traffic pours by a curbside seating area. The City of North Vancouver is moving to do away with free curbside parking. | Nick Laba / North Shore News files

City of North Vancouver council has signaled that free street parking will eventually be phased out in the commercial areas where demand outpaces available curbside spaces – Central and Lower Lonsdale.

It’s never a popular move making folks pay for something that they have become accustomed to getting for free. When it comes to storing our private vehicles, people tend to be doubly indignant. But we will defend the city’s chosen direction.

If you look to busy commercial areas around Metro Vancouver, or elsewhere in the world, you’ll find that free curbside parking went the way of leaded gas a long time ago.

It’s because municipalities have figured out that, more than a source of revenue, pay parking encourages turnover, which frees up more space for the next paying customer. If the city makes paying for parking easy via one of the many already existing smartphone apps, we expect residents and businesses will come to see the advantage.

Even less popular, we predict, will be the move to charge market rates for resident-only parking passes, and make them available to residents of multi-family properties. Today, the city charges only $25 per year, which is far too low to justify given the value of public land. It might just be the nudge folks need to clear out their garage so their SUV actually fits inside where it belongs.

More than finding more equitable ways to share our public infrastructure, these moves will encourage people to make more environmentally conscious transportation choices.

We have to start acting less like we own the road and more like we are renting the planet.

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