Blog: Enough with the parking meters, OK Burnaby!

Chris Campbell

If you’ve ever had one of those moments where you were thinking something and somebody suddenly blurts out the same topic, then you’ll understand the level of freakiness of one of my recent mornings.
I had just driven by the Lake City Way SkyTrain station and was thinking about how much it bugged me that the City of Burnaby had introduced metered parking at the start of the year.
After putting my stuff away and sitting down at my computer, the phone in my office rang.
On the line was a guy named Patrick – complaining about the Lake City parking meters.
“I don’t get why they had to put them in there,” he thundered. “It just seems unfair.”
I agree. And it’s not just Patrick and I who think so.
A quick search of the Burnaby NOW website discovered an excellent story on this topic from Jan. 9.
Reporter Tereza Verenca interviewed Isabelle Forget about how she and her husband had been commuting to work by driving from their home to the station, parking nearby for free and then hopping on the train. 
But Forget and her husband had to stop that when the city installed the meters all along the road leading to the station.
“On top of paying $124 for a (Compass) pass, we would be spending an extra $100 a month just to park there,” Forget told the NOW. “It’ll certainly be a deterrent for me, so I guess I’ll revert back to the bus, which will extend my commute.”
I guess the idea is that people should take the bus to get to the station, but for Forget and others, the bus route only comes every 30 minutes and takes much longer to get to the station. 
“I would be quite happy to take the bus, but the service is not good at all in the area, which is why so many people park at Lake City.”
The city said at the time saying that the meters ensure “everyone” has access to the parking spaces – including local business customers. That one had me scratching my head because it’s an industrial area. I would understand if it was all retail businesses, but this doesn’t fit that.
My complaint is that I drive this street multiple times a day and have noticed these metered spots now sit mostly empty all day – think ghost town – because people won’t pay for it. 
I get the thought behind the meters, but on this street it just feels punitive. It was one small way for some people to take the SkyTrain without having to add a lot of extra time to their commute by having to take a connecting bus. And the city just snatched it away. 
Look, this doesn’t impact me. It’s just another example of how cities nickel and dime their citizens.
Follow Chris Campbell 
@shinebox44

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