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Aug. 12, 2022

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Steps to limit parking near Vancouver historic site seem to be working

By , Columbian politics reporter
Published:
5 Photos
Parked cars line one side of Anderson Street in Vancouver, which had become clogged with people parking along the road instead of paying for parking downtown.
Parked cars line one side of Anderson Street in Vancouver, which had become clogged with people parking along the road instead of paying for parking downtown. (Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian ) Photo Gallery

Parking is a perennial issue that the city of Vancouver is hoping to delve into later this month, but in at least one trouble spot, a fix seems to be holding up.

Development downtown has increased the number of employees driving to work, with little additional parking to accommodate the influx. Many have taken to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in search of free, accessible parking.

The influx led to more than 100 cars lining Anderson Street behind the old Post Hospital, blocking access for emergency vehicles and fuel trucks heading to the Vancouver Police Department headquarters.

In October, the city sought a fix. Workers posted “No Parking” signs on one side of the street. Cars are still allowed on the other side at the moment. On a recent workday, only 56 cars were parked behind the hospital. And only one was parked in front of a “No Parking” sign.

Steve Kaspan, Vancouver’s parking services manager, said most drivers are obeying the signage, and the number of cars parked on Anderson has declined. Since October, the city has only issued 10 citations for cars violating the new policy. As it stands, the city considers the problem fixed.

For the most part, The Historic Trust agrees.

Mike True, president and CEO of The Historic Trust, which supports the historic reserve, said people are being respectful of the policy. The concern last year was that downtown commuters would simply relocate from one area of the site to another. True said the issue hasn’t been too pervasive.

Some drivers, including Lisanna Otter, are parking as needed at the West Barracks. Otter works with Miller Nash Graham & Dunn and until recently was parking daily at the barracks.

She received a letter from The Historic Trust notifying her parking required a permit, to her surprise. The letter warned that nonpermitted vehicles are limited to two hours of free parking and risk being towed if left in violation of the site’s policy.

In researching where parking was allowed, Otter said she learned that she’s among many employees looking for alternative parking and choosing to walk from the historic site to downtown.

Now she’s trying to use other forms of transportation when she can. Some days she rides her bike to work, others she takes the bus.

A solution to the parking problems facing the community as a whole may not please everyone, Otter added.

“Nobody likes parking, everybody wants convenience in their commute,” she said. “But I’m not sure that perfect convenience is a human right.”

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