The City of Calgary has punted changes to the city’s residential parking permit program — including new fees for the program to pay for itself — until the end of the year.
Those changes were slated to take effect on Aug. 1, but city administration decided to park them until Dec. 4 following concerns from both city councillors and Calgarians.
As a result, parking permits expiring before Feb. 5, 2024, will be automatically extended until that date.
“There will be no fees due until their permit is up for renewal,” Calgary Parking Authority manager Chris Blaschuk told Global News.
It comes after an effort spearheaded by Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot and included 10 of Calgary’s 15 city councillors to exempt the fee for the first permit registered to a household in a residential parking zone.
Although that motion was withdrawn Tuesday, Chabot said the delay will give Calgarians the opportunity to assess whether a residential parking permit zone is required in their neighbourhood.
“What I think is being proposed is an eloquent alternative,” Chabot told reporters. “It provides us and residents the ability to challenge the need for their current residential parking permit zone or look for alternatives including limited parking.”
According to city administration, 180 Calgarians have submitted requests for a review of the residential parking permit zone in their neighbourhood.
Robert Levis is one of those Calgarians who submitted a request to get rid of the residential parking permit zone on his Renfrew street.
Levis said few cars park on his street, but the new fees became a motivating factor in requesting a review.
“I heard about the fees and that was one of the things that made us push a little harder,” Levis said. “It makes even less sense if we have to pay a fee, or not pay a fee if we don’t want to use it and it’s totally an empty space in front of our house.”
During last fall’s budget process, council voted for a cost-recovery option on the residential parking permit zones, following a decision by the previous city council to offset the cost of administering the parking permit program.
City officials said administering the residential parking program costs the city $1.5 million annually, but only applies to four per cent of Calgary households.
Under the annual fee structure approved by council, the first permit would cost $50, $75 for the second permit and $125 for the third at a single address, with two visitor passes offered at $75 each per year.
Previously, those permits and visitor permits were free, with the third residential permit costing residents $108.90.
Now, city council is expected to debate the fee structure during budget deliberations in November.
“This could be opened wider because there are members of council — and I tend to be one — that say ‘Let public parking be public parking,’” Mayor Jyoti Gondek told reporters. “I don’t know which way council will go on this when it comes in November. It’s become a pretty fulsome conversation.”
Calgarians that want the city to review a residential parking permit zone in their neighbourhood are encouraged to call 311 or submit an online service request.
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