Surrey faces unusual and expensive problem of too many parking spaces

Developers say the construction of new parking spots contributes to the region's skyrocketing housing prices, adding as much as $40,000 per condo unit.

A new study has found there are three cars for every four residential parking stalls in the neighbourhood

A new survey has found there are roughly three vehicles for every four parking stalls at residential buildings in Surrey's City Centre neighbourhood. (bingthomarchitects.com)

Surrey's City Centre area is dealing with a problem that many communities in Metro Vancouver would love to have —  too much parking.

A new survey of more than 50 residential buildings in the area has found there are far more stalls than cars.

"From the buildings that we looked at, about one stall out of four is unoccupied," said Surrey's manager of parking services Dave Harkness.

While drivers may appreciate the neighbourhood's abundance of parking, developers say the construction of new parking spots contributes to the region's skyrocketing housing prices.

"It adds about $30,000 to $40,000 per unit," said Urban Development Institute President and CEO Anne McMullin.

"We've been working with many municipalities to work to relax the parking requirements that they have."

The fix

Harkness acknowledges developers probably don't need to provide a parking stall for every one-bedroom unit that is built near rapid transit.

"The people who choose to live near that are probably saying I can probably live here because I can forego a car or a second car," he said.

Harkness says, however, more work needs to done before the city changes its parking requirement bylaw, which was last updated in 1994.

"You never want to do something without looking at what the other communities are doing," he said.

City staff will compare the findings of their survey with data from Metro Vancouver and then decide what the next steps should be.