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Parking issues won’t go away in Hamilton

Parking issues won’t go away in Hamilton

While many might wish it will somehow go away, Hamilton needs to do some long-term planning for parking. By 2051, Hamilton is projected to be home to nearly 820,000 residents and almost 360,000 jobs. In addition to the pressure that will place on the urban boundary as new housing is required to absorb the population growth, so too will it put more pressure on parking. If, as opponents of urban boundary expansion hope, the growth is largely accommodated in high rise apartments, it will make the parking situation in downtown Hamilton more acute.

Between street parking and parking lots Downtown Hamilton contains approximately 8,600 parking spaces comprised of on-street curbside spaces (1,158 spaces), municipally owned and operated off-street facilities (2,811 spaces), and publicly accessible privately-owned off-street lots (4,579 spaces). During the week. The parking inventory is filled close to capacity, but on weekends there is only about 30 percent usage, resulting in inefficient land use.

A study by IBI does not recommend building new spaces but does recommend a variable pricing scenario that would charge more for parking in high demand areas. This also includes a citywide increase of $0.50 per hour to on-street and off-street transient parking, as well as a proportional increase to on-street and off-street permits. Together these scheduled increases equate to approximately 4% per year, or 2% above the expected rate of inflation. Hourly on-street spaces which cost $2.00 per hour today would cost approximately $3.00 in 2030 and the cost of a monthly permit which costs $85 today would cost $128 in 2030.The pricing would result in an annual surplus of $5 million per year, part of which would go into a parking reserve for maintenance of the system and part would be used to reduce municipal taxes.

Revised pricing
framework and
modest price increase
Annual revenue 2025$18,529,000
Annual operating and maintenance expenses 2025$13,292,000
New Parking spaces built0
Capital reserve 2030$7,131,000
Net operating surplus over 10 years$43,807,000

IBI notes, “this scenario best addresses existing and future needs of drivers by maintaining the availability of parking spaces. This is achieved by ‘right sizing’ prices so the highest prices are applied in the busiest areas and by adopting dynamic pricing strategies which gives HMPS the flexibility to distribute demand and maintain efficient operations.” The report does not appear to take into account the loss of the market parkade and an adjacent surface lot that will be turned over to the Entertainment Precinct Group for residential development.

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