Time limit on parking meters around Royal Columbian hospital trimmed

Twenty parking meters near Royal Columbian Hospital will no longer allow a 10-hour time limit, and it will cost more to plug the area's remaining meters that do, city council decided Monday.

The 20 meters are near the intersection of Keary and East Columbia streets. They will be reduced to a two-hour maximum. There are 67 other meters that will keep the 10-hour limit, but parkers will have to plug $6.60 into them, a 50 per cent increase, to get the longer limit. Another 86 metered spots in Sapperton are already restricted to two hours at an hourly rate of $1.10.

Having 10-hour meters was created to provide parking for hospital staff. But in recent years, a private, 300-stall lot was built below RCH on Keary Street that has a daily staff rate of $5.75. A city staff report said that parkade is about 80 per cent occupied on weekdays.

Coun. Bob Osterman said the move should free up spots in the late afternoon and evenings for Sapperton shoppers, patrons of Sapperton Park and church goers.

"Parking is always a contentious issue in Sapperton," said Osterman, chair of the city's Neighbourhood Traffic Committee. "It's not a lot, but now 25 people don't have to walk up the hill in Sapperton to get to their car parked in front of single-family homes."

Osterman said there was some discussion by council Monday on whether or not to take some land off of the north and west sides of Sapperton Park to provide 35 more parking spots. Although it would be on the periphery of a lane and abut apartments and single-family homes, "most of us were reluctant to go there," said Osterman.

He believes The Brewery District development on the west side of RCH and other projects in the area will have a ripple effect in Sapperton to create even more pressure on the area's parking in the future.

The change is expected to take effect May 1. Prior to that, notice of change decals will be attached to the meters.

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