Like all big cities, Surrey has parking problems.
City hall is tackling two related bugbears – authorized truck parking in select parts of the city, and the challenge that residential parking presents in East Clayton.
Councillor Brenda Locke said that when she sat on Metro Vancouver’s industrial lands task force she raised Surrey’s long-standing truck parking issue whenever she got a chance. “The fact is, Surrey gets stuck with the problem,” she said.
“Everybody needs trucking, there’s no doubt, it’s the economy on wheels, and we need to have truckers, they’re vitally important to our economy but lots of areas, Vancouver especially, have no provisions for a truck park.”
Locke says provincial leadership is needed on this issue.
“I think this is really something the province, and the Port of Vancouver, have to step up a lot better at, helping us resolve the problem,” she said.
Surrey council passed third reading on three bylaws on Monday, July 13 and also set a public hearing for Monday, July 27 at 7 p.m., related to a pilot on-street truck parking permit program allowing permit holders to park their trucks at all hours in select industrial areas.
The bylaws would also allow for violation tickets to be written, waive the requirement for truck parking facilities to be paved with asphalt or concrete “or similar pavement, with exceptions,” and require truck park owners to submit annual environmental assessments.
The one-year on-street truck parking pilot program is aimed at Port Kells, South Westminster and the industrial area of Cloverdale. According to a city staff report, the criteria for spot selection requires that adjacent property must be industrial or commercial, that the shortest route from the closest truck route must not be adjacent to any residential uses, and that the pavement width be sufficient to accommodate on-street truck parking while also allowing for two clear travel lanes. It also requires adequate sight-lines from all intersections and driveways to be maintained, and that existing streetlights and access to power must be available for installing security equipment.
The report notes a “shortfall in adequate authorized truck parking in Surrey remains an ongoing concern.”
Councillor Mandeep Nagra, chairman of the city’s truck parking task force, said hard work has been done in the last two years to increase the supply of truck parking spots in Surrey. He said it’s a “long-standing issue that truck drivers have been facing every day. I still think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
Councillor Doug Elford raised concern about how allowing trucks to be parked on unpaved areas will impact the environment.
“I’m hoping that staff will be extra diligent on these spots to ensure that we’re not getting any harmful effects on our environment,” he said.
Meantime, council also approved staff recommendations to “increase parking supply” in East Clayton. City staff recommended in a report adding 18 to 24 more on-street parking spaces by September “to address resident parking concerns.
Councillor Laurie Guerra said it’s “probably not what a lot of the community will be thrilled about, but it’s better than we’ve ever had in there.
“The problem is that the residents that were sent the surveys, less than 50 per cent of them answered, and of those, about 72 per cent of the ones that did return the surveys were against the pilot project, which would have increased the parking by quite a bit actually because it’s allowing you to park on both sides of the streets,” Guerra said.
“But if the residents don’t want it, then it’s a bit of a catch-22. Some do, some don’t.”
Councillor Jack Hundial said recent feedback he’s received indicates the city has made a good attempt at mitigating a problem this council inherited, but “by the same token, those issues are not yet resolved.”
Guerra argued that expanding SkyTrain to Langley is the panacea.
“It seems to me the lack of parking in Clayton, and the lack of truck parking in this city, are two of the longest ongoing challenges that we’ve had to face. It just goes hand in hand, I think, with our exponential growth.
“There’s a lot of moving parts to this,” she said. “At the end of the day, I think that we just really need to get the SkyTrain going all the way to Langley. I think that’s the best solution for their parking problem.”
Guerra said that between 2020 and 2023 the city will probably increase the number of parking spots in East Clayton by “almost 40 spots.” She added that is “no easy task.”