The City of Edmonton just became one of Canada’s first major municipalities to remove minimum parking requirements for developers, homeowners, and businesses.
Edmonton City Council voted Tuesday to remove minimum parking requirements so that developers, homeowners, and businesses will be able to decide how much on-site parking to provide on their properties based on their particular operations, activities, or lifestyle.
“Parking is a powerful, but often hidden, force that shapes how our communities are designed and influences every aspect of how people live, work and move around,” said Kim Petrin, development services branch manager at the City of Edmonton, in a release.
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“Eliminating parking minimums delivers significant long-term benefits for Edmonton. It removes economic barriers to new homes and businesses, and improves choice and flexibility in how businesses and homeowners meet their parking needs. It also supports more diverse transportation options and climate resilience, and moves us closer to achieving the vibrant, walkable and compact city we heard Edmontonians want through public engagement for ConnectEdmonton and the draft City Plan.”
The city says that the high cost of on-site parking, which ranges from $7,000 to $60,000 per stall, gets passed down in the rent or mortgage Edmontonians pay, goods bought and services used, as well creating economic barriers to affordable housing development and the ability for new businesses to open in Edmonton.
Removing parking minimums allows for businesses and homeowners to determine their parking needs and ensure they are met, making this approach more likely to result in the “right amount” of parking.
The city says, however, that the change will have to be gradual, because of a greater than 50% oversupply of on-site parking city-wide.
The new zoning bylaw rules, which take effect on July 2, 2020, also allow for businesses and homeowners to share parking or lease out space to nearby properties, “allowing for more efficient use of Edmonton’s existing oversupply of on-site parking,” says the city.
“Under the new rules, barrier-free (accessible) parking will continue to be provided at rates comparable to today and bicycle parking requirements have increased. Maximum parking requirements have been retained downtown, and expanded in Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and main street areas, and design requirements for both surface and underground parking facilities have also been enhanced.”