Coquitlam to lower parking requirements for new residential buildings near SkyTrain

Jul 2 2020, 6:18 pm

Future multi-family residential buildings along the Millennium Line’s Evergreen Extension route through Coquitlam could see lower parking minimum requirements.

Under existing bylaws, municipal governments establish a minimum number of parking stalls that must be built for residential developments, based on the proportional density and number of homes.

Coquitlam City Council last updated the current parking minimums in 2012, ahead of the 2016 opening of the SkyTrain extension.

The updates will bring down strata parking requirements from one stall for each studio or one-bedroom unit to 0.85 parking stalls per unit, and from 1.35 stalls for each two or more bedroom units to 1.25 parking stalls per unit. These strata parking proportions will be lower than the requirements in Port Moody, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, and Surrey.

As well, market rental parking minimums will drop from 0.86 to 0.75 parking stalls per unit, while below-market rental requirements will fall from 0.75 to 0.65 stalls per unit.

Visitor parking requirements will also decrease from 0.20 to 0.10 parking stalls per unit.

“It is acknowledged with the proposed parking rates some units will not have an allocated parking stall. Typically, developers assign and sell parking stalls on a first come/first served basis,” reads a city staff report.

“Staff expects that people that move into the transit-oriented development areas will likely own less vehicles, as such not all units will need to have assigned parking. The approach to the sale and use of the parking stalls will be reviewed further in subsequent phases of this study.”

According to city staff, the supply for parking in both condominiums and rental homes, particularly in areas near SkyTrain stations, are higher than actual demand.

Similar regional findings were also made by Metro Vancouver Regional District’s parking study in 2019. This was particularly the case for rental buildings, with supply exceeding demand by 35% for market rental buildings and 41% for mixed tenure and mixed rental buildings.

But there has been an increased demand for Coquitlam’s on-street curbside parking from recent residential densification, specifically for quick stops, deliveries, taxis, cycling, general parking demand, and construction vehicle parking. City staff anticipate electric scooters, ridehailing, carsharing, and urban delivery vehicles will increase demand for curbside parking.

“With the evolving region-wide, mobility trend toward reduced car ownership and escalating housing costs, it is timely for the City to review and update our on- and off-street parking policies to support our sustainability goals while still ensuring we accommodate future parking needs,” reads a city staff report.

“Effective parking management is fundamental to achieving many broad City goals. It is an effective tool to not only influence travel behavior and encourage sustainable transportation, but also support rapid transit investments, and planned growth and densification.”

If approved, the municipal government will conduct a multi-phase parking review through Spring 2021 that will update residential and commercial parking minimums, bike parking, curbside space regulations, and on-street parking plans.

Last week, the City of Edmonton attracted much attention in Canada and the United States from its decision to remove all minimum parking requirements for developers, homeowners, and businesses.

Supporters of reducing or abolishing parking minimums often assert that such policies will not only reduce car use and increase public transit ridership and active transportation use, but also it could reduce the high construction cost of vehicle parking, which is typically built underground. By removing these costs and allowing developers to decide on the appropriate level of parking required based on market needs, this could improve housing affordability by lowering rent and mortgage costs.

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