News / Calgary

‘Unidriveways’ emerging in northeast Calgary as residents pave entire front lawns

For an updated article on Calgary's bylaws surrounding "unidriveways" click here.

Grass is disappearing and what could reasonably be described as “unidriveways” are emerging in sections of northeast Calgary as residents pave their front lawns – sometimes entirely – in apparent attempts to create more parking space.

The practice is in violation of several city bylaws, according to longtime Saddle Ridge resident Greg Steiner, who said he first observed an illegally widened driveway a couple of years ago, but has since seen dozens of neighbouring homes turn swaths of green grass into grey concrete.

On some streets, owners of three or four houses in a row have filled in all the grass between their driveways to create one, long, continuously paved stretch.

“It cheapens the neighbourhood because it looks like row housing,” Steiner said, adding that it creates snow removal issues.

"They don’t have any place to throw the snow, so they put it out in the street.”

Coun. Jim Stevenson said he’s heard “quite a few complaints” from people in the Saddleridge area and Coun. Ray Jones said he’s recently heard from upset residents in nearby Martindale, too.

“They’re paving the boulevard as well, which surprises me … because that’s city property,” Jones said of some of the Martindale cases.

Steiner believes many people in Saddle Ridge, where the lots are particularly wide, are doing it to provide parking for non-conforming secondary suites.

Jones said there “might be a little bit of that” but, in Martindale, at least, there are likely other issues at play.

“There’s a lot of narrow lots and people just want extra places to park because they have extended families,” he said.

Both area councillors said they plan to raise the issue with city staff this week, but Steiner said he’s brought specific cases to the attention of city officials over the past several months and has seen little to no enforcement action.