Report recommends on-street parking fee increases for Halifax, Dartmouth

A new Halifax staff report recommends increasing on-street parking rates in downtown Halifax and Dartmouth, but if the proposed hikes are approved, they won't take effect until new parking technology is installed.

Municipal staff expect new pay machines will start replacing parking meters in the first part of 2020.

The machines will not allow a vehicle to park for more than four hours in specific zones, so commuters who need all-day parking will have to come up with other options, such as using transit or parking garages, or free street parking farther away.

"We're never going to be happy with the idea of rates going up," said Paul MacKinnon, the head of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission. "But the way they are approaching this with new technology is good and should increase parking turnover."

Proposed rates

The recommended rates in the report are $2 an hour in Halifax for the first two hours and $6 an hour for the third and fourth hours.

"For the Spring Garden area, it's designed literally to drive people to the parking garages, which will be offering more a competitive rate," said Sue Uteck, executive director of the Spring Garden Area Business Association.

In Dartmouth, the rates would be slightly less: $1.50 for the first two hours and $4 for the third and fourth hours.

Tim Rissessco, the executive director of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, also thinks the new machines should allow more cars to park on streets.

"Because we won't be governed by the space that a meter allows, a few more smaller cars should be able to park," Rissessco said.

He said the pay machines could also make it more convenient for people using certain types of services, such as spas and restaurants.

The report said the new parking rates could increase annual revenue for the municipality by $1,045,000.

Free parking for accessible spaces

Business commissions would like some of that money to be reinvested in the areas where it is collected.

Uteck suggested the money be used for streetscaping or to help host events.

All accessible parking spots would be free of charge.

The report also suggested increases for residential, CarShare and commuter parking permits.

Increases to permit fees

CarShare fees would go from $30 per vehicle to $100. Commuter permits, which range from $30 to $45 a month, would increase to between $40 and $60 a month. Annual residential permits would increase from $30 to $40.

There may also be a new category of permits. Student commuter parking permits would be offered on specific streets in limited quantities for $30 a month.

Regional council will debate the recommendations on Tuesday.