City of Nelson Parking Survey

As you may have heard, the City of Nelson is currently reviewing its Parking Strategy and is asking for public feedback, with the survey closing this Monday, February 18th. You can help us build support for a strategy that incentivizes healthier modes of transportation, like walking and cycling, by making them easier and safer, instead of providing incentives to drive and thus congest downtown Nelson with more traffic and additional parking spaces.

We’re asking you to fill in the City of Nelson’s survey, while considering a few key concepts that will help the City make sustainable land use decisions on our behalf. It is important that you have your say, because City staff will read all responses before making decisions about the Strategy, and a groundswell of support for a better approach will a have a great impact!

At the end of this e-mail we have provided some optional ideas for how to answer questions in the Parking Strategy survey. If you click this link to open it into a new window, you will be able to see the pointers below, while filling out the survey.

With your help, we can encourage the City of Nelson to make active transportation a priority, improve public transit, reduce traffic congestion and improve the parking situation!

Themes to help with the survey, listed by question:

Please note: since many of the questions ask about your personal experience, we are only sending ideas for questions that are more general in nature.

Question 8: And what isn’t working?

  1. Sidewalk bylaws are not enforced, leading to dangerously icy and snowy conditions that make it unsafe to walk to town.
  2. Unreliable and infrequent public transit, with no service on Sundays
  3. Not enough safe, physically separated bike lanes for people to ride downtown, so more people drive and need to park. Angled parking takes up more of the street, and could be made parallel parking to enable space for bike lanes.
  4. Grit on roads is left too long after winter making it dangerous for cyclists, causing accidents. It could be cleared throughout winter as well. This would reduce cars on the road.
  5. Parking on Baker St should be more expensive.

Question 9: To prepare a strategy, we need to talk about solutions. We hear what the issues are, so what do you think should be done? … Do you agree?

  • Other: Yes, and this must include parking on Baker St that is pricey enough for people to avoid parking for long periods, to increase active transportation, and enable more of the current parking spaces to be available for short term use. Also, Larger park and ride areas could be serviced by public transit routes to help keep more cars out of the downtown and increase the ridership of the buses, which would make it economically viable to have more frequent bus service.

Question 11: Do you think that commuter/employee parking should be …

(Check all that apply)

  • Other ideas: don’t increase the quantity of parking downtown, as it reduces incentives to take other modes of transportation.

Question 12: Park-and-ride means parking in a lot outside of downtown, or even outside of the city, and then walk, carpool, or take the bus to get downtown. It is often suggested as a parking solution. Our 2016 downtown employee commute survey found that over half of respondents were either enthusiastic or open to incentivizing as many commuters as possible to park outside of the downtown core and or to drive less often …

  • I like this idea

Question 13: Do you have ideas on how to make park-and-ride and transit attractive and cost-efficient for our city?

  • Yes. Make parking downtown expensive, so that drivers have a reason to leave parking spots earlier and allow others to use them; and start consistently ticketing those who park in 2-hour parking areas in the Uphill areas surrounding Baker Street for longer than 2 hours.

Question 14: Now, we’d like to ask you about any suggestions you might have about specific streets or blocks where we could be doing parking better. For example, on the street you live on maybe there isn’t enough parking signage, or where the signage or time-restriction should perhaps be changed.

Do you have any tips on under-utilized parking spaces, or parking that could be better and more efficiently managed? Where could we easily add more parking or make small changes to make parking better? Do you have any other street- or block-specific suggestions?

  • Railtown seems to have underutilized parking infrastructure.
  • Add more electric vehicle charging stations

Question 19: A residential parking permit is required on a number of residential streets in Nelson, especially near the downtown. Where signage indicates “Residential Parking” or similar, a permit is required at all times. Where signage indicates “2-Hour parking”, a parking permit is required to park for longer than two hours between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. … Overall, do you agree with the current residential parking permit program?

  • No, because: Residential on street parking permits should not be free of charge. Also, it is now common for multiple, adult roommates to share a house, with new roommates often here for only a season or two. So, on street parking should not be free of charge and shouldn’t be limited to 1 permit per household, but should instead permit up to one driver to have one on-street parking space for a single licensed vehicle. So, if there are 4 drivers with a total of 4 cars, there would be 4 paid permits.

Question 21: Do you have ideas on how to improve the residential parking permit system to better meet people’s needs and ensure that they have a parking space to come home to?

  • Other Canadian cities, such as Kingston have a number of different street parking zones located in the areas of the downtown core that have a high demand for parking. Each of these zones is only a few blocks in size, and residents are required to prove that they live on one of these streets in order to receive a color-coded parking permit for their vehicle, which comes at a cost of about $25/month ($12/month for residents who do not have off-street parking), payable at City Hall. If (a) on-street parking spots on Baker Street (and the side streets that intersect it) were set at a price that deterred long term parking (perhaps $5/hour), and (b) a system similar to Kingston’s were implemented in the residential area surrounding downtown, including uphill areas up to and including Carbonate Street, where parking without a permit is prohibited, drivers who wish to park for longer periods would be left with one of the following: (a) using the parkade, (b) parking in Uphill and walking a few blocks to get downtown, or  (c) choose to walk/cycle/take transit to get downtown.

Question 23: Do you have any questions about the downtown parking strategy process, or in general about parking in the downtown area?

  • How come public transit is left out as a solution altogether?
  • Why are physically separated, safe-to-use cycling routes not prioritized? This would be such an inviting design feature on Baker Street.

Question 24: Do you have any final comments or ideas for improving downtown parking?

  • Yes. A significant increase in access to safe, active transportation, such as walking and cycling paths that are separated from traffic, and free of snow and ice throughout the winter will likely result in people feeling safe while cycling, and enable them to choose active transportation methods to get around the City. This will result in fewer cars on the road, and a more active, healthy (and likely happier) population.
  • Having more reliable public transit would give people more confidence that they can use this service and get to where they need to go in a timely manner. More frequent public transit would make it a more attractive option; as long as public transit is less convenient than driving and parking downtown, it will not increase its ridership, and downtown parking shall remain a problem.

Thanks for taking the time to help make Nelson a more sustainable city!!

P.S. If you like giving us the flexibility to get involved in time sensitive issues like this, please consider donating! It’s the donations from people like you that make it possible.