Resort Municipality of Whistler proposes day lot parking fee increase 

Residents have until March 12 to weigh in

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - The RMOW's Transportation Advisory Group has proposed an increase to parking rates in Whistler's day lots.
  • Photo submitted
  • The RMOW's Transportation Advisory Group has proposed an increase to parking rates in Whistler's day lots.

A recommendation from the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) Transportation Advisory Group proposes to increase parking rates in Whistler's day lots.

If implemented, the new rates would be $12 per day in lots 1 to 3 (up from $10) and $6 in lots 4 and 5 (up from $5).

Day parking rates at the Whistler Public Library and Conference Centre underground are also proposed to increase from $15 to $20.

All in, the increases are expected to add $400,000 in annual revenue to put towards the Community Transportation Initiative Fund.

"The revenue that we're hoping to generate with one change is going to feed the other changes," said general manager of infrastructure James Hallisey at a transportation open house on Feb. 18.

"Raising the parking prices in the day lots will raise quite a lot of revenue. We can use that for a whole host of things: for transit, active transportation and some other ideas."

The increases are tentatively scheduled to go into effect in June, pending public input and council approval this spring.

Some of the changes that will be funded via the increase include: cheaper monthly transit passes (from $50 to $45) and spirit transit passes (from $40 to $30); expansion of the high-school transit pass program, which offers free passes to Whistler Secondary School students; increased transit service on the 10 Valley Express and Cheakamus routes; and expansion of free transit weekends in the summer to include Fridays.

Further down the line, the Transportation Advisory Group (TAG) recommends implementing pay parking year-round in lots 4 and 5 (currently only pay parking during summer and winter peak seasons) starting Sept. 16.

The change would bring in an additional $100,000, which would be used to further reduce monthly transit passes to $40, and expand free summer weekends to include the Thanksgiving weekend.

Councillor Ralph Forsyth, who sits on TAG, said he gets the frustration around pay parking, noting that it was one of the key issues that led to his ousting from council in 2011 (along with every other municipal elected official).

"It's always tough. I know the community hates it," Forsyth said, adding that the pay structure is guided by market forces, and an increasingly busy parking lot (the day lots were at full capacity on 28 days in summer 2019, according to the RMOW—up from 12 in 2018 and 10 in 2017).

"And that [money] can provide us with so much more transit. I've always been a transit sort of skeptic, but you know, when you look at the data and you look at how it takes the cars off the road ... it's hard to deny the impact."

Providing free passes to high-school students is another big win, Forsyth added, and the program has seen big uptake, with an average of 150 students using the passes on weekdays and 250 daily on weekends.

"And that's all thanks to parking revenue," he said.

Transportation talk at municipal hall—both among staff and elected officials—has focused more on greenhouse gas emissions as of late, Hallisey said.

"It's not that we ignored it in the past, but we definitely are raising it up to a different level," he said, noting that TAG's focus in recent years on reducing traffic congestion and freeing up parking had some knock-on effects in terms of emissions reduction.

"We haven't specifically taken actions just for the sake of GHG emission to date, but we're going to raise that consciousness and focus on that a little bit more, and we're looking for some feedback on people's support for that as well."

Residents can view the open house presentation and read related documents at www.whistler.ca/movingwhistler, as well as fill out an online survey.

Public feedback will be accepted until March 12.

Tags:

Readers also liked…

Latest in Whistler

More by Braden Dupuis

© 1994-2020 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation