Getting a parking ticket in downtown Vancouver could soon be more expensive.
The city’s Parking Advisory Committee plans to propose a $10 increase to the cost of a parking infraction and double the cost of a parking permit in four downtown parking locations. It also wants to increase the maximum parking meter fee by $1 an hour.
The Parking Advisory Committee met Wednesday, and members are sending the proposed changes to the city council for review at a workshop on Aug. 7. The changes are expected to be approved after a public hearing on Aug. 21.
The proposal includes giving parking scofflaws another six days to pay their tickets, so instead of 15 days people would have 21 days to pay the fine.
Parking tickets are now $15, with the fine doubled after 15 days. The committee wants to make tickets $25, doubled after 21 days.
Committee members said by extending the deadline, it would allow people to collect a paycheck before paying a ticket and thus ease the burden.
The committee also suggests bumping the maximum cost of parking spaces from $1.50 an hour to $2.50. Committee members said busier locations such as the city’s waterfront development would be the places charging the higher price.
The committee also proposes to increase the monthly parking cost at city-owned lots from $100 a month to $200. The four lots in Vancouver where the city issues monthly parking permits are at Smith Tower on West Fifth and Washington streets, East Evergreen Boulevard and Broadway, West 11th Street and Broadway, and Washington and West Eighth Street.
The extra revenue will allow officials to better enforce parking rules by hiring a new officer, according to Parking Manager Steve Kaspan. He estimates that the officer would cost the city about $86,000 per year.
The city hired Dixon Resources Unlimited at the beginning of the year to conduct a study on Vancouver’s parking situation. Dixon has already said that enforcement is inadequate, according to initial findings.
Kaspan echoed that sentiment in a report, writing that “Someone parking all day at a 10-hour space will pay $12.50. If they do not pay and receive a ticket, they will pay $15, which is only a difference of $2.50. It could be argued that the $15 fine also favors noncompliance for people parking 20 minutes or less. The thinking would be ‘What are the chances of an officer coming by in such a short time?’ Even if they do get caught, a $15 ticket will not bother most people.”
Parking costs in 40 downtown spots with new parking meters were raised in March from 50 cents an hour to $1.25. The older coin-operated meters still will cost 50 cents until they are replaced with new solar-powered credit card reader meters in upcoming months.
Author: Will Campbell, Columbian staff writer