Downtown parking study set to start

A $90,000 study on Downtown New Westminster parking will be getting underway next month.

According to a report that will go before council on Monday, Urban Systems has been hired to do a detailed parking study of the Downtown area. It will look at the current parking regulations and supply, project future demand and supply, consult with area stakeholders and develop policies and strategies.

Downtown parking has become a contentious issue, especially for the area's business improvement association. Its members oppose tearing down any part of the Front Street parkade because it will take away too many spaces for retail customers on Columbia Street.

The city has proposed tearing down half of the parkade, which the city maintains is underutilized, to improve accessibility to the riverfront over Front Street and the railway tracks. Recent studies, says the report, show a surplus of parking in both public and private facilities are available, but not necessarily close to destinations.

Following the data gathering, a discussion paper will be prepared for public consultation by the middle of October. A draft report with alternative strategies and preliminary recommendations should be finished by December with a final report in January.

The study will be paid for from the city's corporate strategic planning budget.

The report to council by senior planner Mark Allison said the study "will help move the City towards achieving the objectives of the Downtown Community Plan and a more livable, successful Downtown."

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