Accessible parking program

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In fall 2020, accessible parking users and stakeholders were invited to share their experiences using accessible parking stalls in City-owned parking lots and on-street parking. Public and stakeholder engagement included an online public survey and stakeholder interviews.

Recommendations

Based on what we heard from the public and stakeholders, combined with the findings of a technical review, the following recommendations have been made on how to improve the design and the availability of accessible parking stalls. Please take a moment to review and then answer the Quick Poll at the bottom of this page.


1. Proposed actions to improve the design of accessible parking stalls





Design van-accessible stalls to ensure there is a curb ramp nearby so people can safely travel from their vehicle to the sidewalk.

Remove obstacles or obstructions to the side and rear of the parking stall to improve access for wheelchair lift-equipped vehicles.


Using additional signage to indicate van-accessible stalls to increase visibility for users.

Use signage and pavement markings to communicate the importance of keeping the access aisles clear.

Paint the curb blue for on-street accessible stalls to increase their visibility and ensure adjacent vehicles do not inadvertently block access.


Revise snow maintenance and clearance practices to prevent accessible parking stalls from being blocked during the winter months.



2. Proposed actions to improve the availability of accessible parking stalls




Give an additional hour of grace time at no charge for accessible parking permit holders using a non-accessible paid parking stall.



Launch an awareness campaign to highlight the experiences of accessible parking users in Kelowna and the importance of giving enough space around accessible stalls.


Conduct periodic enforcement blitzes to ensure accessible stalls are used properly.

Increase the fine for parking in an accessible stall without a permit.

Add a new offence and fine amount for fraudulent use of an accessible permit.




Add parking fees to improve availability in prime locations and encourage turnover of accessible stalls in 2022:

  • Accessible parking permit holders would park at a discounted rate with no time limit.
  • Payment would be required in pay parking areas whenever pay parking is in effect.
  • Add a designated parking meter adjacent to all on-street accessible parking stalls so users can pay easily; additional revenue would support future parking improvements.
  • Data from parking transactions would inform decisions about accessible parking changes.



What do you think?

Please answer the quick poll question below by August 8, 2021, and share any additional feedback in the comments section. Your comments and results of the quick poll will inform the final recommendations, which will be presented to Council for endorsement consideration in fall 2021.

In fall 2020, accessible parking users and stakeholders were invited to share their experiences using accessible parking stalls in City-owned parking lots and on-street parking. Public and stakeholder engagement included an online public survey and stakeholder interviews.

Recommendations

Based on what we heard from the public and stakeholders, combined with the findings of a technical review, the following recommendations have been made on how to improve the design and the availability of accessible parking stalls. Please take a moment to review and then answer the Quick Poll at the bottom of this page.


1. Proposed actions to improve the design of accessible parking stalls





Design van-accessible stalls to ensure there is a curb ramp nearby so people can safely travel from their vehicle to the sidewalk.

Remove obstacles or obstructions to the side and rear of the parking stall to improve access for wheelchair lift-equipped vehicles.


Using additional signage to indicate van-accessible stalls to increase visibility for users.

Use signage and pavement markings to communicate the importance of keeping the access aisles clear.

Paint the curb blue for on-street accessible stalls to increase their visibility and ensure adjacent vehicles do not inadvertently block access.


Revise snow maintenance and clearance practices to prevent accessible parking stalls from being blocked during the winter months.



2. Proposed actions to improve the availability of accessible parking stalls




Give an additional hour of grace time at no charge for accessible parking permit holders using a non-accessible paid parking stall.



Launch an awareness campaign to highlight the experiences of accessible parking users in Kelowna and the importance of giving enough space around accessible stalls.


Conduct periodic enforcement blitzes to ensure accessible stalls are used properly.

Increase the fine for parking in an accessible stall without a permit.

Add a new offence and fine amount for fraudulent use of an accessible permit.




Add parking fees to improve availability in prime locations and encourage turnover of accessible stalls in 2022:

  • Accessible parking permit holders would park at a discounted rate with no time limit.
  • Payment would be required in pay parking areas whenever pay parking is in effect.
  • Add a designated parking meter adjacent to all on-street accessible parking stalls so users can pay easily; additional revenue would support future parking improvements.
  • Data from parking transactions would inform decisions about accessible parking changes.



What do you think?

Please answer the quick poll question below by August 8, 2021, and share any additional feedback in the comments section. Your comments and results of the quick poll will inform the final recommendations, which will be presented to Council for endorsement consideration in fall 2021.

  • What we heard: engagement summary

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    Engagement overview

    In fall 2020, accessible parking users and stakeholders were invited to share their experiences using City-owned accessible parking stalls. Public and stakeholder engagement included an online public survey, which received 167 responses, and stakeholder interviews with Accessible Okanagan, CRIS Adaptive Adventures, Pathways Abilities Society, and People in Motion.

    Purpose of engagement: to better understand the specific barriers that accessible parking users encounter

    What we heard: engagement results

    The key findings from the public and stakeholder consultation are noted as follows:

    To summarize, top improvements to accessible parking include the design of accessible parking, calls for additional accessible parking supply in the context of a growing senior population, improved enforcement, keeping accessible parking free, and improved maintenance and snow clearance, particularly during the winter.

    Who we heard from

    Most survey respondents identified as someone with a mobility challenge that drives independently (57% of respondents), followed by a caregiver or disability organization employee (33%), and lastly someone with a mobility challenge and required assistance driving (10%).

    The majority of survey respondents were 45 and older (middle-aged and senior), consistent with the City’s demographic profile of people with disabilities and/or mobility challenges.

    Next steps

    Proposed changes to the accessible parking program are detailed on the main project page. Please review the recommendations, answer the quick poll and share any additional feedback in the comments section. Your comments and results of the quick poll will inform the final recommendations, which will be presented to Council for consideration in fall 2021.

  • What we found: technical review

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    In addition to the public survey and stakeholder interviews, we completed a thorough review of the current state of accessible parking on City streets and in City-owned parking lots and parkades. This data provided the City with a better understanding of the overall parking demand for accessible parking stalls.

    Findings of technical review

    Available accessible parking supply

    Parking occupancy was generally not busy. This is in contrast to the findings of the survey and stakeholder interviews where the lack of accessible parking was identified as a top issue for the community. There could be several reasons for the discrepancy, such as a combination of existing deficiencies with the design and location of parking that make current accessible parking supply difficult to use, experiences using accessible stalls at private parking lots, or that the perception regarding a lack of accessible stalls is worse than in reality. The City does not have jurisdiction over private parking lots.

    On-street vs. City-owned parking lots and parkades

    On-street parking was busier than parking in City-owned parking lots. For example, Downtown on-street occupancy during the busiest hour of the day was 54% while parking lot occupancy was 23%. In terms of seasonal variation, occupancy in the Downtown was consistent between the summer and fall weekday period. In contrast, South Pandosy was busier in the fall compared to the summer.

    COVID-19 impact

    Parking occupancy in the Downtown and South Pandosy was estimated to have declined by an overall average of at least 19% from 2019 to 2020 due to the pandemic. Accessible parking permits issued saw a reduction of 29% from 3,710 permits issued in 2019 to 2,630 permits in 2020.

    Parking duration

    Average on-street parking duration (i.e., how long a vehicle, based on its license plate, was observed to be parked at a location) was two hours or less for the Downtown and South Pandosy, while parking duration at a City-owned parking lot was up to 2.5 hours. Some vehicles were parked for six hours or more, but these were small relative to the total number of vehicles parked during the day.

    Next steps

    Proposed changes to the accessible parking program are detailed on the main project page. Please review the recommendations, answer the quick poll and share any additional feedback in the comments section. Your comments and results of the quick poll will inform the final recommendations, which will be presented to Council for consideration in fall 2021.

  • News release: Share feedback on accessible parking recommendations

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    Building on initial findings from public and stakeholder engagement, a series of proposed recommendations to improve the design and availability of accessible parking stalls is now ready for final review and comment. Accessible parking users and those who support them are invited to share feedback on the proposed changes by Aug. 8, through the project page on getinvolved.kelowna.ca.

    “Following the City’s Downtown Area Parking Plan, last fall we conducted an online survey and stakeholder interviews to better understand the barriers that users experience with accessible parking,” said Andrew Rolston, Parking Operations Coordinator. “Now we’re reaching out to accessible parking users once more to review the draft recommendations before we finalize them later this year.”

    The recommendations aim to address major themes from the initial phase of public and stakeholder engagement. Two common themes included the need for improved design – particularly for those with a mobility device such as a wheelchair – and availability of accessible parking stalls. Proposed changes to design standards would allow more people to use accessible parking and create a more comfortable experience, while changes to how parking is managed and enforced would improve availability for accessible parking permit holders.

    Additional feedback received from the public, combined with available technical data, will inform final recommendations for the accessible parking program update. The updated program is expected to be presented to Council for consideration in fall 2021.

    To review the recommendations and complete the quick poll, visit getinvolved.kelowna.ca. To learn more about accessible parking in Kelowna, visit kelowna.ca/parking.

  • Thank you for participating

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    Thank you to everyone who took part in the Accessible Parking survey. We had over 160 responses that will be analyzed to help inform an update to the Accessible Parking Program in Kelowna.

    Congratulations to Niki and Marilea who were randomly chosen from the survey respondents to win a $50 gift card through The Local Gift Card.

    Please check back in 2021 to review the proposed changes to the Accessible Parking Program.

  • News release: share your experiences with accessible parking

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    The City is reaching out to accessible parking users to take a survey and share their experiences using City of Kelowna accessible parking stalls. Survey feedback will be used to create a new accessible parking program and respondents can enter to win a $50 gift card to a local business for their participation.

    “We completed the Downtown Area Parking Plan last year and during that process we heard from residents that there are barriers to accessible parking in Kelowna,” says Andrew Rolston, Parking Operations Coordinator. “This survey will help us understand more clearly what those barriers are and what solutions users would prefer.”

    The survey is open to anyone who regularly uses or has used accessible parking stalls in City owned parking lots and on-street parking, for themselves, friends, family members or clients. The survey is open until 4 p.m., Oct. 20.

    In addition to conducting this survey, the City is also completing a thorough review of the current available spaces. This data will be used to update the accessible parking program. The City will share initial findings for further feedback before the final program is released.

    To take part in the survey, visit getinvolved.kelowna.ca. To learn more about accessible parking in Kelowna, visit kelowna.ca/parking.