Calgary Needs #8: Free Parking Downtown

Calgary Needs Free Parking

Yesterday was a gorgeous Saturday in January. We packed up the boys’ bikes and headed downtown for a ride along the river, a climb of a playground, and some sun soaking.

It was an idea that wasn’t on the minds of many and I don’t know why.  Coming from Vancouver, a day like that demands you head to the water for a walk and soak in nature’s glory. Maybe that’s not the culture in Calgary.

Calgary Needs Free Parking

I would have thought the Bow River Lagoon would have been packed with skaters on a +14 day in the winter. I was expecting  Rideau Canal during Winterlude-like crowds. Instead, there was about two dozen people on the 200m long stretch of frozen river.

Downtown Calgary is devoid of life outside of office hours. It’s a ghost town, especially in the north of the city centre where you would think people would gather to explore a downtown park and walk along the riverfront.

Eau Claire was built to try and be like Vancouver’s Granville Island. It’s an open air mall cum industrial marketplace that was hoped to bring life to the north end of downtown. It didn’t happen. The movie theatre here sits empty, the store fronts in the mall are vacant, and it just feels like an old forgotten well-intentioned idea that never came together.

It cost me $5 to park at the waterfront on Saturday afternoon. That’s not “a lot” considering the weekday rates to park in Calgary, (they are the highest in Canada) but it should have been free.

Prince’s Island is not Stanley Park. It is $5 to park for a day in the Best City Park in the world, let’s have a sliding scale to reflect the popularity of our downtown region on the weekends.

The vision for the East Village is fantastic. Eventually the life will return to Calgary’s core cradling the Bow River, and it will be wonderful. In the meantime, try and pump some energy back into the city by welcoming the burbers with free parking on the weekends so everyone can celebrate the city’s beautiful riverfront and architecture.

Calgary Needs Free Parking

Calgary Needs Free Parking

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