City council ditches bigger parking discount for motorcycles

Two-wheeled vehicles such as motorbikes and scooters will not be getting a bigger parking discount as their riders had hoped.

City council rejected a recommendation from its transportation department May 16 to increase the parking discount for gas-using motorcycles and scooters so that they would pay only 20 per cent of the regular price if they called in payment. No change was recommended for zero-emission vehicles, which park for free.

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While three councillors-Adriane Carr of the Green Party and Elizabeth Ball and George Affleck of the NPA-voted in favour of the discount, the majority of council turned down the recommendation and decided to keep the current discount, which is at 50 per cent.

"We did that because we were dealing with a spectrum of different kinds of vehicles that come downtown to use space," said Vision Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal, who voted against the further discount. "While motorcycles take up less space than a car, they are still a carbon-fuel using vehicle."

Ian Tootill, the founder of the website MC Parking, which lobbies for more lower-priced parking spaces for motorcycles and scooters in Vancouver, was disappointed by the decision.

"The main thing is to get people to adopt this idea that they can use vehicles that use less resources and impose less wear and tear on the roadways and in traffic, but that didn't work with them," he said. "In our view, it was a positive thing to be encouraging motorcycles in town."

While Deal agreed with Tootill the city needs to encourage Vancouverites to use the smallest vehicle they can, she feels the current discount is sufficient, since the city is aiming to have as little gasoline-powered transportation downtown as possible. "I think 50 per cent off is a darn good decrease."

Though the city won't be further discounting parking for motorcyclists, it will add more motorcycle-specific parking spaces, an initiative Tootill has pushed for through motorcycle parking rallies. The most recent one, held May 5, brought 100 riders on a rainy Saturday morning to downtown Vancouver, according to Tootill.

The city has added 233 motorcycle parking spots downtown since then, and Deal said there will be 300 by the end of 2012.

"We do know that we need more motorcycle parking in the city. We just started adding it a couple of years ago, and we're going to continue to add it," said Deal. "We think we need about 1,000 spaces."

Twitter: @mickicowan

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