Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

CHANGES IN APPROACH URGED – A pedestrian crosses a cold Main Street this morning. Offering more long-term parking options and expanding the number of accessible parking spots are among the ideas the city has received in its 2018 parking survey.

Survey respondents suggest more parking options

A total 1,062 people shared their thoughts on downtown parking with city officials last year.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 9, 2019

A total 1,062 people shared their thoughts on downtown parking with city officials last year.

The city recently released the results of the parking survey it held in August 2018 as part of its efforts to refresh the Downtown Parking Plan, last updated in 2011.

The survey found that nearly all respondents – 99 per cent – make their way to the downtown area at least once a week.

Seventy per cent enter the neighbourhood at least five days a week.

They mainly go downtown for shopping, work, appointments or recreational events. School, socializing, daycare and banking are among “other” reasons.

“The most popular way to travel into downtown Whitehorse is by private vehicle, either alone or with others,” it was noted.

The least popular ways are by taxi or bus.

In between are more active modes of transportation, including bicycling or walking.

Only five per cent of those who did the survey listed downtown parking conditions as very good, with 14 per cent stating they are good.

Meanwhile, 18 per cent listed parking conditions as very poor, with another 29 per cent grading the conditions as poor.

Taking the middle road in listing the conditions as fair were 34 per cent of respondents, while 29 per cent stated they are good.

The city asked respondents about how easy it is to find parking downtown.

“In general, parking was found to be easiest outside of business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.),” it was noted.

“Most people did not find it easy to park on Main Street during peak times; however, during off-peak times, people could usually find a spot directly on Main Street.

“Box stores and malls were commonly cited as somewhere easy and free to park at all times. 6th Avenue, 3rd Avenue, 5th Avenue and Front Street were the most mentioned streets to find available parking.

“Some felt as though there were no places or times that it was easy to park downtown. In contrast, some felt as though outside of business hours, everywhere was easy to park.”

A total of 58 per cent of respondents told the city there “is not nearly enough parking in the areas they want to park.”

Another 36 per cent stated there is the right amount of parking within “a reasonable walking distance.”

Four per cent stated there’s “more than enough parking available in the areas they want to park.”

The city also asked those surveyed to rate the efforts already made to address parking in the downtown area.

Those initiatives include improvements made for pedestrians, additional bicycle parking, improvements to transit, better designs for parking lots, adding accessible parking stalls, the development of a downtown parking map, and the creation of a residential parking permit program.

The greatest impact seemed to be in the improvements made for pedestrians.

Fourteen per cent rated them as having significant impact, while 39 per cent rated them as having some impact.

Another 37 per cent stated the improvements had minimal or no impact, and nine per cent stated they didn’t know whether there was any impact.

On the other end of the scale, 55 per cent said the development of a downtown parking map had minimal or no impact, with just five per cent stating it had significant impact.

Another 15 per cent rated it as having some effect, while 25 per cent didn’t know.

The other initiatives also saw high percentages rate the effort as having minimal or no impact.

Fifty-three per cent stated that conclusion that for the additional bicycle parking, with 51 per cent noting that for each the transit improvement and additional parking stalls downtown.

Forty-eight per cent stated there was minimal or no impact from the residential parking permit program, while 45 per cent said the same about improved parking lot design.

Among possible improvements in the future, the city stated the survey showed: “The most supported improvement ideas were improving snow clearing of pedestrian and cycle routes, creating long-term all-day parking, creating additional off-street parking, and coinless technology and app payment functionality for meters.

“The least supported ideas were parking stalls for shared vehicles and parking lots with shuttle services or shared bikes.” Residents also put forth their own ideas, including:

• more bylaw enforcement around cycling rules and on the misuse of accessible parking spots;

• increasing the frequency of transit buses and making them cheaper for users;

• offering more parking for motorcycles;

• offering more free parking options;

• increasing time limits for parking meters;

• offering more long-term parking options; and

• increasing the number of accessible parking spots.

There were also strong opinions around the possibility of a downtown parkade.

Some suggested a parkade should be built to provide an affordable all-day parking option.

Others argued it would only encourage more people to drive and may end up being an eyesore for the downtown area.

As one person commented in the survey: “While I don’t love the idea of a parkade in downtown Whitehorse, I understand the need for it. We live in a very car-dependent city.

“While I don’t see that changing, I think whatever we can do to encourage people to bring less cars into downtown during busy periods needs to happen to balance out building new parking spaces.

“I wonder if a good solution is to better connect Whitehorse neighbourhoods with non-car options.”

Along with the survey, work has been underway since early last year to collect data on downtown parking through initiatives like parking counts.

The final plan is anticipated to come forward in the spring.

See letter, this website.

Comments (18)

Up 0 Down 0

Not a survey but - on Jan 16, 2019 at 5:40 am

I've changed pharmacies, because Shoppers on Main rarely has a parking space to run in to get a prescription. I used to shop at Seasons and Zoomz but rarely do anymore because of parking. I can't remember the last time I was in Mac's, and I used to shop there regularly to try to support their business. Just my opinion, but I agree with the comment about businesses should be driving the parking policies, and maybe a better survey to try and figure out what a lack of parking costs them.

Up 7 Down 0

Hugh Mungus on Jan 15, 2019 at 4:03 pm

@woodcutter - It's great you walk but I work downtown and I'd have to hoof it to my car 3-4 times a business day (to be compliant with the bylaw) warm it up, move to a new block face and then hoof it back to work. How long do you think that would take?

Up 7 Down 2

CJ on Jan 14, 2019 at 6:37 pm

Bearproof bins? We have no money for that! Coinless technology for parking meters? That's a huge priority! An unknown number of people don't like carrying change. We need to get on it right away!

Up 11 Down 0

My opinion only - it's the 2 hour limit that's annoying on Jan 14, 2019 at 4:42 pm

I don't mind walking a few blocks to appointments or errands on Main Street, but it doesn't take many to chew up the 2-hour parking limit. That means rushing back to Wood Street or wherever and having to move the vehicle to another block, not just plug the meter for another 1/2 hour. Crazy by-law

Up 10 Down 3

Always Questions on Jan 12, 2019 at 10:48 am

Kinda wonder how many people that go downtown to do errands were unable to accomplish them because they couldn't find a parking spot? I've never returned home from downtown because I couldn't park.

IMO this is not a public issue but a business/employee issue. Working and parking for the day is the problem. We periodic downtown visitors seem to manage ok.
How about studying the actual problem and focus on improving that?

Up 21 Down 2

Woodcutter on Jan 11, 2019 at 3:57 pm

I can park 2 or 3 blocks from main street and not pay a dime. Walk people, it will do your heart good and Whitehorse is not that big of a place where a 2 or 3 block walk will kill you.
We have been kicking this parking issue around since I've moved here in 86, nothing changed and this survey is a total waste of resources.
What's gonna come out of it? Nothing.

Up 7 Down 2

Jayne W on Jan 11, 2019 at 10:19 am

@Hugh, if you check out the CRA website, if the employer provides parking for the employee there are certain cases that yes the employee pays for it in a round about way.... It is a taxable benefit.

Up 0 Down 2

Josey Wales on Jan 11, 2019 at 8:39 am

Dang it....I blew it!
Erik....not with a c as I did, I shoulda known better.
Apologies Erik....OJW.

Up 14 Down 2

My Opinion on Jan 10, 2019 at 8:45 pm

@ Hugh
Good Lord Man. Give it a break on your idea of the acronyms. Is that the kind of crap you worry about at work all day? What? Nothing to do? It is the Yukon Territorial Government after all.

As for your second point, if you work for a private company you likely feed a meter. You don't get charged by your employer.

Now get out of your basement and get some work done. Don't want to hear about the YTG thing anymore. Enough already.

Up 3 Down 16

Hugh Mungus on Jan 10, 2019 at 3:38 pm

@ BnR
2 things.
First 'YTG' hasn't been a thing for more than a decade. It's YG. That's all
Second, where do you work that your employer charges you for parking?

Up 10 Down 5

Josey Wales on Jan 10, 2019 at 10:42 am

Hey Eric the Red....so, so true your points.
Seems more like we went into some wormhole and now reside in East Vancouver...with zero carbon footprint.

Seems Heilung is our motto now, as the entire village is rehab and well represented with idiots...many of which we fund their salary...a few we even elected.

Troves of people over time sat on their hands whilst it all composted.
Yes I mean for parking too, civic wizards and their minions have, could nor do care much for our community.
The evidence is there fiscally, tangibly with the management and the crafty nonsense they regurgitate....we host team after team of morons in our hall. Why?
As our pool of village idiots gets bigger, seems we get said idiots voting or not and hired to suckle the CoW’s teats.
I too can no longer stand going near the core, and when I do?
Reminded each time of why, and how so so unfortunately a few can destroy a community....along with the drunks and other vagrants assistance.

Up 15 Down 3

BnR on Jan 10, 2019 at 8:12 am

Resident, YTG does provide parking for their employees, go have a look at the main admin building. Maybe clarify by stating YTG doesn't provide "enough" parking.... The real question is WHY should YTG employees get free parking? Is that in the YEU contract?
How about building a pay for use parkade adjacent to the main admin building, and make YTG employees pay for it, just like the rest of us working stiffs. Conceivably, it could be big enough for other users as well.
We need Tippy Mah to get 'er done, he's got the land and the wherewithal, lord knows the city and YTG are just going to discuss the issue.

Up 4 Down 15

Patrical Salutien on Jan 10, 2019 at 7:04 am

@ Solution - The solution is to get rid of pay parking altogether and replace the revenue stream with a toll-tax for using city roads.

This would widen the revenue base and remove the CoW’s parasitic reliance on harassed, bullied, and fearful YG employees lapses in attention - Oh damn - Hope I did not get a ticket while my manager was scapegoating me on his/her failure to manage - Wow - It seems there are a lot of parasites feeding off YG employees - CoW, managers and the Useless Union.

Up 11 Down 8

Dan Huntsman on Jan 9, 2019 at 6:33 pm

We need free parking with time limits set very generously.

How do you enforce - the old way was to mark a tire and check later. My suggestion is that we all agree to back off and let free parking take place without rigorous bylaw time. Bylaw time is much better spent on other pressing issues.

Someone mentioned "drunken vagrants harassing people constantly for a 'smoke' or 'five bucks". Not sure this is a city bylaw issue but it has to be dealt with for a number of reasons one which includes turning off the tourists.

Up 12 Down 2

jean on Jan 9, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Tap-to-pay 'smart' meters would be an unnecessary expense that would only benefit a few.
Instead give the public a phone app to pay their ticket on-line.
The CoW can make far more revenue from easily paid tickets than any 'smart' parking meters.

Up 21 Down 12

Erik the red on Jan 9, 2019 at 3:43 pm

I can't be bothered to shop downtown anymore, it's just a gongshow with zero parking and drunken vagrants harassing people constantly for a 'smoke' or 'five bucks'. This past Christmas all my shopping was done online from my couch, delivered to my door cheaper than buying local and none of the BS.

I'll buy most fresh food locally but largely most of the shopping for me and my kids is all done online now.

Up 19 Down 4

solution on Jan 9, 2019 at 3:21 pm

it seems the most sensible and lowest cost solution is to get rid of the pathetic 2 hour free parking limit on block face and no re-parking within 2 hours. This alone would stop the musical chair dance and frustration majority face and improve things for everyone, particularly during the typical 9-5 workday.

Up 28 Down 4

resident on Jan 9, 2019 at 3:13 pm

Biggest problem: YTG doesn't provide parking for their staff.
2nd Biggest problem: No one wants to walk more than a block.

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