Trying to move away from a car first environment and embracing electric vehicles, a Nelson councillor has proposed the city lease on-street parking by auctioning it off to the highest bidder.
The idea from Rik Logtenberg was floated Friday (Jan. 21) as the city discussed changes to its laws to allow people to put extension cords over the sidewalks to plug in their electric vehicles.
The city has heard people in the lower Uphill want to plug in electric vehicles on the street but they don’t have a designated parking space, leading to “tricky” challenges to get spots outside their homes.
“I’m imagining that might solve a big problem here, if we just say, these are the spots that are going to be available to the people on this block. Essentially, lease it, it’s yours and if want to offer it to someone else you’re going to essentially police your own spot. But it’s going to be marked as your spot you, can put charging to it,” Logtenberg said.
It would also solve a problem of clearing snow on the street because the owner would be responsible, Logtenburg added.
Sebastien Arcand, Nelson’s development services director, says it would be a “slippery slope” but “as transportation evolves maybe that’s something we can look at.”
Arcand says streets with parking permits are already overbooked, meaning more permits are sold than available spots, under the belief they won’t all be used at the same time.
He fears a street would be potentially vacant, which Logtenberg challenged. “I think having a half-vacant street could actually be a good thing from a perspective of active transportation. You start to move away from vehicle-first planning and you do create a more predictable lower-stress environment for the taxpayers on that neighbourhood. It’s their neighbourhood giving them a reliability in terms of a spot, especially one that gives priority for EVs. That could be a big win for the neighbourhood itself.
Arcand agreed to explore the option. “I think there are merits there … there might be merits in exploring that.” He noted that it’s not something new as certain businesses in the downtown core lease parking spaces but it was “a concept we wanted to move away from.”