Recommended Parking Requirements for New Development 

10th floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

Attention: Nancy Martins

RE: PH29.3 Recommended Parking Requirements for New Development

Dear Deputy Mayor Ana Bailao, Chair and Members, Planning and Housing Committee

This is to provide our comments on the above noted report. While we are in general support of the report’s direction, supporting flexibility in the application of parking standards, we do not support the complete elimination of minimum parking standards.

This review of the parking standards in the city-wide Zoning By-law 569-2013 was guided by the principle that parking standards should allow only the maximum amount of automobile parking reasonably required for a given use, and minimums should be avoided except where necessary to ensure equitable access. The review proposes that new developments would still have to provide adequate parking onsite, and not assume residents will be able to park on street.

As the report shows, car ownership rates of apartment dwellers vary greatly depending on household income. More important, they vary greatly depending on location. No minimums may work downtown, but when you travel away from the downtown core, where distances to destinations are longer, we would expect a real shortage of buildings/units with parking spaces, which will have a social impact as well.

The problem with specifying no minimum for on-site parking is that doing so will encourage developers to leave it up to residents in new buildings to find alternative parking. That will inevitably result in even more competition for scarce on-street parking.

We suggest that the minimum standards be established by type of location (downtown, suburban, near transit, etc.) and by types of building (rental apartments, small condos, luxury condos, etc). And of course all buildings also need visitor parking, delivery vehicle parking, etc. It does not appear that the City has considered these data before making its recommendations. And let’s not forget that the TTC predicts that the Line 1 capacity will be reached no later than 2026 with all envisaged enhancements and prior to the planned Richmond Hill extension or the Eglinton LRT extensions even operating. Lack of capacity on the Yonge St Line will push commuters back into cars.

In our area numerous developments (close to transit) are already being proposed by developers (and approved by the City or OLT) with reduced parking, (often 0.2 or 20%). We urge that a minimum be set at that level or higher. This would represent a major reduction from the current ratios, without going all the way to zero.

In addition, we suggest parking policy can be used to encourage use of electric over gasoline powered vehicles. Charging stations are expensive to install and a charger at an assigned parking space will be not used 24/7. Consideration should be given to adding permission for shared chargers.

Yours truly,

Geoff Kettel
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

Cathie Macdonald
Co-Chair, FoNTRA

Cc:  Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning Division
James Perttula, Director, Transit and Transportation Planning, City Planning Division
Kyle Knoeck, Acting Director, Zoning and Secretary-Treasurer Committee of Adjustment, City Planning Division
Michael Hain, Program Manager, Transit and Transportation Planning, City Planning Division