Parking where others aren’t could someday lead to big-time savings in Calgary’s downtown core.
The Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) has discussed internally moving towards a system that would see rates in the downtown core adjusted in real time depending on the number of available spaces in a given area.
Commuters wanting a premium spot in a high-traffic area would shell out a pre-determined maximum hourly rate, while those willing to park in under-utilized areas and walk a few blocks would save a few dollars, said authority head Troy McLeod.
“The parking industry is moving toward this type of management system,” he said. “(It’s) no different than a traffic signal adjusting its green (light) time based on the demand of vehicles at the detector.”
South of the border, parking officials in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle are all experimenting with similar systems.
Locally, McLeod admits the new system could be a tough sell because revenue would be lost unless the maximum hourly parking rate is bumped up from the current $5.
Outside of the CPA, reaction to the system also seems varied.
“They totally have the capability to do it. … My first reaction is that it would be quite confusing,” said Maggie Schofield, executive director of the Calgary Downtown Association.
But contractor Montee Sutter, who was found paying for parking near city hall Thursday, sees some benefit in the model.
“I would think there would be more room here,” he said. “Sometimes it’s quite busy.”
The real-time rate model will be included in a presentation to city council later this year during a review of the authority’s parking-policy framework.
With files from Katie Turner