The City of Vancouver has information here on their proposed bikeway plan for Tenth Avenue between Oak and Cambie Streets which will take out one hundred parking spaces and which will install east and west bike lanes on this well-travelled street. The City calls this section of street the “Health” instead of the “Hospital” precinct, as one astute observer noted.  While cyclists see this as a street to bike through, for many health consumers in the Province this location is close to their last stop.

Of course everyone should walk, take transit or bike to services. Yes there is off-street parking, but many of the institutions do not allow “general” parking unless you are going to that specific centre, which is often full. Most out of towners do need to come by car. Most are also health compromised and cannot walk too far. Most are ill, infirm, and will have perceptual conflicts crossing the street with bikes travelling on the new lanes. Those encumbered folks will not be able to respond quickly.

In many ways the current situation on Tenth Avenue makes vehicles, bikes and pedestrians slow down and take notice of everything happening in their surroundings. The street is heavily used by pedestrians. It has wonderful street trees. And that on-street parking provides a buffer for pedestrians from the travelled portion of the street. The impacts of  losing one hundred on street parking spaces is not only challenging for hospital clients-its a big loss to the city too.

Tenth Avenue in this “Hospital” precinct has some of the highest parking meter turnover in the city-this is a metered “cash cow”. The current parking meter rate of $3.00 an hour for each meter makes approximately $9,000 a year for each meter or a total of $900,000 a year for all one hundred meters that are being taken out. (This does not include any revenue from parking enforcement).

Over a 20 year period, if parking meter rates rose at current annual interest rates (3% – 5%), the present value of the parking meter revenue would be $18 Million. If the current parking meter rates were to increase annually by just 2% more  the present value of the revenue would be $27 Million. The City’s new meter policy approved this week is likely to increase the rates in this area by at least a dollar an hour, so you may have to add 33 per cent to these numbers. 

The financial incentive is there to continue the use of these parking spaces. Is it worth $900,000 a year annual municipal revenue to come up with an inclusive design that includes these metered parking spaces in this hospital precinct?