News / Edmonton

Edmonton councillors move to reduce parking requirements

Changes would cut city's requirements from two spaces down to one

City council is reducing the amount of parking new development will have to provide.

Metro File

City council is reducing the amount of parking new development will have to provide.

City council moved Tuesday to dramatically lower the amount of parking required in front of new housing developments, which Mayor Don Iveson said could be a game changer for the city.

Council voted to get new bylaws to reduce the current requirements in half for new houses, duplexes and other low-density housing, as well as study changes to parking requirements across the city.

Iveson said the city has put to much of a premium on parking and it’s lead to poor design in some places. He said reducing the space for cars will make better spaces for people.

“It will leave enough land to actually city build, rather than just parking build,” he said.

The change came after a report from city administration identifying that the city asks for more parking in new developments than other Canadian cities. 

Iveson said moving away from that will make the city better.

“Great cities are not built around cars and parking spaces,” he said.

Score one for the urbanist today.”

Local developers encouraged councillors Tuesday to push ahead with the plan, promising it would bring new housing types and better communities. 

Edmonton currently requires two units per dwelling for single family homes and duplexes and has higher minimum parking requirements than most other Canadian cities for all other types of housing.

The initial changes will focus on lower-density housing, but council also asked for a review that would look at even lower parking requirements around commercial areas and transit-oriented development.

Derrick Hiltz, with the Canadian Homebuilder’s Association, said the garage suites and garden suites that the city would like to see more of are hampered right now by parking demands.

“It’s the restrictions in parking that prevent us from doing that for you,” he said.

He told council that parking is a big part of the cost of high-rise construction and adds to the cost of other kinds of homes as well. 

“The allowance for that is $30,000 to $60,000 per stall, so that same thing translates into greenfill development or infill development,” he said.

Hiltz said he believes the market is ready for change and said a recent development his company really showed people weren’t that interested in parking spaces.

“They weren’t coming into our show homes and asking for bigger garages and more parking,” he said.

Brian Trevelyan, with Rohit Communities, said when they attempted a low-parking development in Fort McMurray they had the same experience. 

“We didn’t see a massive effect. We didn’t see complaints. We saw an opportunity.”

He said in the communities they have built in Edmonton parking stalls often go unused.

“You can drive through and you can see extra stalls.”

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