Mayoral candidate proposes $9-an-hour parking in downtown Ottawa
Parking prices in downtown Ottawa are the latest hot topic in the municipal election on Thursday. Mayoral candidate Brandon Bay says his transit plan includes increasing parking rates to $9 an hour to help cover the cost of transit.
Meanwhile, Bob Chiarelli became the latest candidate to release a detailed environmental platform.
CTV News Ottawa looks at what the candidates for mayor are saying on the campaign trail on Thursday.
PARKING RATES IN DOWNTOWN OTTAWA
Two candidates running for mayor of Ottawa are proposing increasing parking rates to discourage people from driving into downtown Ottawa, with candidate Brandon Bay floating a parking rate of $9 an hour at city of Ottawa facilities and on-street parking spots.
The idea of raising parking rates came up during the eco-debate for five mayoral candidates on Wednesday evening. Candidates were asked if Ottawa should impose a tax or toll on vehicles entering Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood like a congestion toll in London, U.K.
"On congestion charging, I think you have to have a well-functioning transit system and options, and today, the best way to provide congestion charging, I believe, is to increase parking fees in your downtown," candidate Catherine McKenney said. McKenney's campaign said Thursday evening that the plan is all "about options", including "making transit more reliable and accessible, making cycling safer and easing congestion.
In a statement on Twitter Friday afternoon, McKenney said their transportation plan for the 2022 election campaign "does not include an increase in parking fees."
Bay told the audience that his transit plan includes increasing downtown parking rates to $9 an hour, which would provide funding to cover transit fares.
"A blanket tax on vehicles that enter Centretown sounds difficult to enforce and also it would be disruptive to deliveries, and to rideshares and carpools and taxis," Bay said during the debate.
"We already have an effective tax on vehicles coming downtown and that is paid public parking, and that is at the heart of my transit plan – to increase those fees to discourage driving and to use that money to help maintain roads better and pay for transit.
"With the numbers I've worked out, if we increase parking rates from an average of $3.12 an hour to about $9 an hour, and include some in-station retail and vending machines, we can cover about 75 per cent of all transit fares and get rides down to about $1 a piece."
Bay told Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron that Ottawa that "this wouldn't be something we'd flip immediately," and he would wait until Stage 2 of the LRT system is running before parking rates increase.
"We're not going to go straight from $3 to $9 with no further improvements to our transit system, because it's not tenable while driving is the only option," Bay said Thursday afternoon. "But I think it's a goal we can work towards."
Candidate Nour Kadri told the audience he is against charging taxes on vehicles, "until we provide people with that affordability and reliability with public transit."
Mayoral candidate Mark Sutcliffe says he will not raise parking fees in downtown Ottawa.
"What our downtown requires now more than ever is people,” Sutcliffe said in a statement on Thursday. "In my view, raising parking fees for visitors to our downtown - including places like the ByWard Market, Elgin Street, Preston Street - will discourage people, rather than encourage them to come to our downtown core."
Parking rates at city of Ottawa facilities in downtown Ottawa include $2 per 30 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday at Ottawa City Hall and $1.50 per 30 minutes at the parking building at 70 Clarence Street in the ByWard Market.
The city of Ottawa collected $11.25 million in parking revenue in 2021, down from $17.1 million in 2019.
An October 2019 report on North American parking rates showed Ottawa ranked 37 out of 50 cities in North America for off-street parking. The Parkopedia North America Parking Index showed the average two-hour parking rate in Ottawa was $7.37. Montreal had the highest rate in Canada at $9.83 for two hours, and New York has the highest rate of $37.07.
CHIARELLI RELEASES ENVIRONMENTAL PLATFORM
Mayoral candidate Bob Chiarelli released his environment/climate change plan, which includes no expansion of the urban boundary and no new roads projects.
Chiarelli says the city needs to work with the federal and provincial governments, non-profit organizations and industry, and "focus on practical actions it can afford."
Chiarelli's 11 plans include:
- No expansion of the urban boundary
- Replace the tree cover lost over the past four years
- Encourage biodiversity protection
- No new roads not currently contracted. Chiarelli says he would not proceed with the extension of Brian Coburn Boulevard
- Develop new green standards for construction
- "Slowly transition" from fossil-fuel buses to electric buses
- Decide on new technology alternatives to the creation of a new landfill
- Expand the current organics waste program to divert organic waste from Ottawa's landfill
McKenney released their detailed environmental platform last week, and Sutcliffe released his last month.
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