Nelson council formally adopted its 55-page Downtown Parking Strategy at its March 9 meeting.
The report is based on a 2016 downtown commuter survey, a 2019 public survey, a 2019 consultation with the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, and research on best practices elsewhere conducted by city planner Alex Thumm.
“It is pretty clear to me that parking doesn’t work perfectly anywhere,” said Thumm at the meeting.
The parking document does not contain a specific plan of action, but rather lays out guiding principles and recommendations that would all require additional council debate and public consultation.
So anyone worried about the number of parking places being significantly increased or decreased – both concerns are alive and well in Nelson – need not worry in the immediate future.
The 2019 public survey, which got 903 responses, indicated especially strong interest in improving transit, creating a park-and-ride, commuter parking outside the downtown, use of the parkade for day-rate commuter parking, upgrading cycling infrastructure, and improving the residential parking program in lower Uphill.
The report contains 61 recommendations in those and other areas.
“(We are) trying to get people to think about parking in a different way,” said Councillor Jesse Woodward, “as more of a fluid process including a park-and-ride and car share, also protecting the people living close to downtown so they are not overwhelmed with people grabbing a parking space.”
A few of the recommendations in the parking plan are already underway, including the new bike routes under construction in the city and the switch to day rates in some of the stalls in the parkade.