I know a lot of people in Kamloops think downtown parking is a problem.
I’ve even characterized it as a problem from time to time. I’ve called it a good problem, a sign of a healthy downtown, but a problem nonetheless.
So why do I think we need to think very carefully about adding new parking downtown?
My answer to this question centres around two concerns really. One is climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The most impactful measures we can take to reduce our personal greenhouse gas emissions is to drive less. Yes, electric cars are more and more viable and available. But, I believe we also need to think carefully about where we can find good alternatives to driving for transportation. It is so culturally ingrained in us to get in our cars. It important we think twice about this. It can be really helpful for our environment and our climate.
The second is that there is actually right now a surplus of parking spots downtown, even at the busiest times. This was confirmed by parking spot counts conducted recently in downtown Kamloops. Yes, these spots involve some walking sometimes. I wonder if people would really mind walking if they knew this was saving community money (to build more spots), helping downtown vibrancy (parking spots could be converted into pedestrian plazas, for example), and improving their own health.
I fully realize this is a difficult conversation potentially but it’s an important one. I look forward to developing my own thoughts further and with engaging with lots of people on parking and transportation.