In an effort to raise revenue, Edmonton city council approves higher parking fees among other changes

Edmonton city council has introduced changes to city-run parking spots that one councillor said could increase annual revenue by around $2 million.

Ward Métis Coun. Ashley Salvador put forward the four motions that were outlined as revenue options in the initial 2023-2026 operating budget.

Council voted to increase hourly rates, increase the operating hours drivers have to pay, introduce charges to park on Sundays and reduce the free parking period from 30 to 15 minutes.

Read more: City council considers ways to redevelop surface parking lots in Edmonton’s core

“I understand that this will likely not be super popular,” said Salvador during budget deliberations Wednesday.

Salvador said she put forward the motion because city staff told her parking fees have not been rising at the same rate as transit fees.

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“In the last twenty years, transit fares have risen by about 75 per cent while parking fees have not significantly increased over that time. A specific number was not provided but it looks like it was minimal if at all,” she said.

“I thought it was important that we take a look at this, just recognizing the current fiscal position that we’re in.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton parking ban compliance ‘poor’ says city, hampering snow clearing efforts'

Edmonton parking ban compliance ‘poor’ says city, hampering snow clearing efforts

The hourly rate for parking will be raised from $3.50 to $4.50 at 92 “high demand” stalls beginning in spring.

All ePark zones in the city would now operate from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Most zones, except those around Rogers Place, only operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. currently.

The city will also start charging for parking on Sundays between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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“Generally speaking, I’m guessing that Sundays being free is rooted in history rather than evidence, so it seems like a bit of a layover policy that’s not reflective of the city’s modern understanding of service delivery,” said Salvador.

Read more: Street parking overhaul gets go-ahead from Edmonton councillors

The other change — reducing the free period from 30 minutes to 15 minutes — was a return to pre-COVID policy, according to city staff.

Ward O’day-min Coun. Anne Stevenson agreed that the changes could help the city financially.

“(These are) small changes that not only help to strengthen our revenue side but also support curbside management, which is a really strategic thing that supports our business and communities,” she said.

The city introduced a curbside management strategy this year. The strategy describes parking pricing as a “demand management tool”.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton city councillors move forward on parking overhaul'

Edmonton city councillors move forward on parking overhaul

“Better parking pricing can help to open up existing parking spaces, encourage more frequent turnover, and in doing so, provide more parking availability within the existing infrastructure,” reads the strategy.

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The executive director of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association hopes the increased revenue is spent where it is earned.

“I’m really hoping that Parks and Roads Services will recognize all their new ePark money is coming from inside (downtown Edmonton) and (business improvement associations), and should be spent inside BIAs to achieve adequate service levels,” Puneeta McBryan tweeted Thursday.

Extending operational hours passed unanimously. Ward Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi Coun. Jennifer Rice opposed the other three changes and Ward tastawiyiniwak Coun. Karen Principe opposed the hourly rate increase.

City council is trying to find ways to increase revenue during budget deliberations, which are scheduled to come to a close on Friday. At this state of budget deliberations, the tax increase could be around five per cent, which has drawn the ire of local business associations.

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