Proposed parking garages for light rail users raises concerns

Proposed parking garages for light rail users raises concerns »Play Video
The three planned locations for the parking garages in downtown Vancouver.

VANCOUVER, Wash. - A new hiccup is emerging from the Columbia River Crossing project over plans to add a few parking garages that would be free to park in.

The three planned parking garages are meant to encourage use of a new light rail system through downtown and across the new bridge. But the backlash could come if people park in those spaces even if they don't take transit.

"There are few concerns, but they're just management issues that need to be addressed," said Vancouver's project development manager Matt Ransom.

He said the city and C-Tran are studying options – like enforcement – to ensure those parking in the garages are really taking transit.

"What would be the cost of having people enforce versus machines versus the gated system, and that needs to be put on the table and be part of the dialogue," Ransom said. "There needs to be some management – the degree of management is really what needs to be decided."

Right now there are 3,400 on- and off-street parking spaces in downtown Vancouver. The three Park and Ride garages would almost double that, adding another 2,900 spots.

Ransom hopes, if handled properly, the plan would help businesses, not cost the city.

"To have a successful downtown you have to have parking," he said. "So these goals can be additive and positive. We just need to do it in a well thought out and rational way."

The city and C-Tran are doing a review of this issue and hope to have more specifics in the next year and a half.