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Calgary Parking Authority pilots two-wheeled patrols in downtown

The Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) is now patrolling areas in the downtown on two wheels instead of four.

It’s a pilot project to use e-bike patrols rather than burning up costly fuel driving vehicles to find parking scofflaws.

According to the CPA, they started last June with a handful of targeted test days. Now, between two and six bikes are out and about, weather permitting.  The CPA said they will continue to deploy the bikes through 2023.

The bikes are equipped with license plate reading technology and they are active in both Parkplus and permit zones. Currently they’re predominantly in the downtown. The CPA said that as the summer progresses – and weather holds – they’ll expand into other residential areas.

“(It’s) Intended as a way to be more environmental to serve the community, as well as making parking officers more available and approachable in the communities where we work,” read an emailed response from the CPA.

“The flexibility of bicycle patrol allows us to better serve communities during large scale events, and the bikes were used at the 2021 and 2022 Stampede parades, as well as during Nagar Kirtan 2022.”

Fitting in with Calgary’s climate strategy

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner said this pilot program addresses one of the big criticisms people have of the CPA: Driving vehicles around the city and finding parking violations.

“When I think of things like we have (Calgary Police Service) on bikes we have bylaw on bikes, we have EMS on bikes, there’s no reason we can’t have parking enforcement on bikes.”

Penner said it also sets a good example for the public given the recent approval of Calgary’s climate strategy.

“We talked about the cost of the climate strategy; When I looked at this, it’s a lot less expensive to purchase an e-bike, a lot less expensive probably to insure an e-bike, from a maintenance standpoint,” she said.

“This is a great example – lead by example and save money at the same time.”

The CPA said the bikes will be on the road all summer. They’ll be pulled off duty in September, they said.