Toronto looking to limit number of parking spaces in new developments

Nov 18 2021, 7:14 pm

The number of parking spaces inside new Toronto developments may soon drop off.

At its upcoming December 15 meeting, Toronto City Council will review a number of recommendations that, among other things, call for the replacement of parking minimums with parking maximums.

“These changes will reduce the growth of the City’s parking supply while allowing those who need parking to have access to it,” the Council document reads. “The removal of minimum parking standards does not remove existing parking, nor prevent new parking from being built.”

If approved by City Council, minimums would continue to be maintained only where necessary to ensure equitable access to parking. The recommendations also call for the introduction of electric vehicle parking requirements, an increase in short-term bicycle parking rates across much of the city, and the introduction of other requirements to support low parking rates.

According to the Council report, the reasoning behind parking maximums is threefold. First, by slowing the growth of parking spots in the city, it will also curb the use of cars, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

“In order to achieve Council’s target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, aggressive action must be taken to curb the emissions from the transportation sector,” the document reads.

The second component, according to the report, is that reducing the number of cars on the road will have the added benefit of reducing traffic congestion.

“Easily available parking encourages people to drive more often,” the report reads. “More people driving contributes to worsening traffic congestion, slowing transit operating in mixed traffic and making it more difficult to improve travel conditions for alternatives like transit, walking and cycling.”

And with the construction of parking being an expensive undertaking, the burden of cost in multi-unit residential buildings is often shared by all residents, even those who do not own cars. This causes further inequality at a time when Toronto’s housing is already unaffordable, as it’s higher-income households that are more likely to own vehicles.

Before going to City Council, the recommendations will first pass through the Planning and Housing Committee during their November 25 meeting.

Laura HanrahanLaura Hanrahan

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