Granville Island in Vancouver is looking to the future with an ambitious plan involving widespread change. We’ve posted on it previously (HERE).
Now, it seems, is the time to float a trial balloon on parking and motor vehicle control — and see what happens.
New Parking System Granville Island’s new parking system will include all public parking stalls on the Island.
- Pay parking in effect 11 AM – 6 PM
- Free parking before 11 AM and after 6 PM
- Winter season (October 1 – April 30) price of $2/hour
- Summer season (May 1 – September 30) price of $3/hour.
And it’s all about parking availability:
To evaluate the parking prices and hours, we will use the first and third Wednesdays and Saturdays of each month to monitor availability. For May 2020, we will re-evaluate the parking prices. If availability is higher than 40%, we will assess dropping the seasonal parking price. If availability is less than 15%, we will assess raising the seasonal parking price.
Part of the new Granville Island plan is summed up in this document, Granville Island 2040, Transportation Strategy (23-page PDF) from the spring of 2018.
Central to the Granville Island 2040 vision is the idea that Granville Island’s long term success will require increasing visitor numbers while decreasing the number of cars. This view is based on the observation that, given the Island’s limited road network, car-dependent visitor growth is not physically possible, especially at peak times of the year when the Island’s roads and parking lots are near full capacity. And over time, the Granville Island 2040 vision involves the reduction of surface parking in order to provide the necessary space for critical new developments that will continue to support tenant operations while attracting more visitors. To achieve this vision, future growth in visitor numbers will have to be largely accommodated by travel modes other than the automobile – walking, cycling, transit and ferry use.
. . . . Auto-dominated pedestrian experience. All visitors to Granville Island, regardless of their chosen travel mode, become pedestrians. Research shows that visitors tend to come in groups, often multigenerational in composition, and choose Granville Island for the overall “experience.” Making sure that Granville Island is safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities is crucial to the Island’s long-term success. However, in the view of many visitors, the pedestrian experience at Granville Island is undermined by the dominating presence of cars.
. . . . Parking Management Strategy In total, there are about 1,231 parking spaces at Granville Island which, along with the Island’s road network, account for approximately 20% of Granville Island’s total land use area. Parking space is distributed across Granville Island, and includes surface parking lots, parking garages, and on-street parking. Most parking stalls are either three-hour free or pay, which together account for about 75% of all parking stalls on the Island. The remaining stalls include reserved, one-hour free, handicap parking, and others.
Currently, there are 600 free parking stalls on the Island, with most of these in close proximity to the Public Market. The Island’s pay parking stalls are mainly on the east side of the Island.
The current approach to parking is a major contributor to the Island’s congestion, which during peak times can be significant. On the Island, the most desirable parking spaces – the free stalls near the Public Market – are also the furthest to drive to on the Island. In order to get to these spaces, the driver passes almost all of the other parking space options on the Island. During peak times when the free spaces are at capacity, the hope of finding one of the coveted free spots likely entices many drivers to circle the Island at least once before resorting to pay parking.
In order to address the issue of peak period traffic congestion at the Island, a more strategic approach to parking is required. Typically, as in other parts of the city and elsewhere, where there is higher demand for parking than supply, there is a cost to park. This helps ensure that the available parking space is better shared among the many people who wish to use it. At Granville Island, where parking can be at or near full capacity at peak times, this suggests that parking rates are too low. At the same time, during slower times of the year, where there is an abundance of available parking, parking rates could be lowered.
A first step for Granville Island is to meter all parking stalls on the Island, so that accurate data on parking usage can be collected. Currently, there is only parking usage data collected from the paid stalls, which is only about 40% of the total. A second and on-going step is to set the parking rates at a level that achieve about an 85% usage rate.
So here we are , and the first baby step is upon us: making all car drivers pay for using up Granville Island’s limited amount of land to store their motor vehicles.