We live in a capitalist society, or purport to. We also know that the price that we see for something tells us about the cost of the item and how we value it.
We know that privately owned cars parked on publicly owned streets make the taxes that we pay higher than necessary, limit visibility and occupy space that could be used for more productive uses. So why does the town first of all provide the space for this to occur, but then not charge for it?
The answer is that starting in the 1950s when Sidney was growing rapidly, federal and provincial governments were giving money to municipalities for road infrastructure. Sidney, therefore built its roads wide enough to accommodate parking. The town didn’t charge for it because the initial money to build the streets was given to it cheaply by senior governments- in other words, we didn’t have to fund the building of the streets ourselves. The town also didn’t charge for it because, cars were seen as the technological thing that would save us, and because policing it would be A) a cost to taxpayers and B) there was so much parking available, combined with new requirements for off street parking that it was deemed unnecessary.
Now we have the current situation where the enforcement that is available is insufficient. We currently have one person for all bylaw enforcement issues for the whole town. We also pay an outside contractor ~$ 45,000/year to police the parking in the downtown core, while not receiving any money from drivers of cars to help pay for this policing.
My idea is for community groups that want to, be given the authority to manage the parking on their streets in a defined geographic area. This is called a Parking Benefit Neighbourhood (PBN). To learn more about PBNs see my article here: