Construction and new demand in downtown Kelowna creating parking crunch | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna News

Construction and new demand in downtown Kelowna creating parking crunch

Parking spaces will become increasingly scarce in downtown Kelowna over the next few years.

KELOWNA - Development in downtown Kelowna is surging, putting a premium on parking spaces, and forcing the city to come up with a plan to deal with perceived shortages over the next three years.

Kelowna city council will hear from parking manager Dave Duncan today who prepared the interim parking strategy based on a report by consultant Urban Systems, which identifies the period between September 2015 and June 2016 as being the time when demand will be highest.

"We will be introducing a mix of measures, most of which are aimed at employees," Duncan says. "Our goal is to keep on-street parking for customers and try to change the mindset of employees who might have to walk a bit further."

Urban Systems found existing inventory of off-street parking of just over 2,700 spaces of which about 1,600 are used on a daily basis. It forecasts the virtual loss of 424 spaces from that inventory over the next three years with an actuall loss of 224 spaces because not all are in use all the time.

A plethora of new developments, such as the Westcorp hotel, Kelowna Health Services building, Innovation Centre and the Police Services building are the main culprits, taking away existing on-street and off-street parking spaces while adding new demand from construction workers.

New projects such as the Library Parkade expansion and construction of the new Memorial Arena parkade will put another 883 spaces into the mix, however increased demand translates into a need for an additional 895 to 1,084 spaces during peak construction periods.

Urban Systems points to larger parking lots such as that in City Park, the Chapman parkade, Prospera Place and Waterfront Park as solutions to commuters displaced by the ongoing development.

The company is recommending a variety of short and long term measures to combat the shortage, including directing displaced parkers to under utilized lots, encouraging car pooling, promoting increased use of transit during peak times, or even a shuttle bus for constructions workers.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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