Edmonton

Edmonton city council votes to remove minimum parking requirements

City council voted Tuesday to support the change to the city's zoning bylaws. With the change,  Edmonton will become the first major city in Canada to drop minimum parking requirements. 

With the change, Edmonton becomes first major city in Canada to drop parking minimums

Edmonton is the first major city in Canada to drop minimum parking requirements.  (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Parking minimums for new developments will soon be a thing of the past in Edmonton.

City council voted unanimously Tuesday to support the change to the city's zoning bylaws. With the change, Edmonton becomes the first major city in Canada to drop minimum parking requirements. 

The new rules come into effect July 2 and will affect the development and redevelopment of homes and businesses.

Previously, the city required businesses and developers to provide a specific number of spaces depending on the size and nature of the building, but now it will be up to the developer or business to decide how much on-site parking to have on their properties.

"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," Kim Petrin, development services branch manager for the City of Edmonton, said in a news release.

Removing the requirements will help Edmonton become a more walkable, active city, Petrin said. 

Ashley Salvador, an urban planner who spoke in favour of ending parking requirements, said lifting the parking minimums will let business owners and developers decide how much — or how little — parking they need. 

City data shows that parking minimums have created an oversupply of parking in Edmonton, with usage rates sitting at around 50 per cent during peak hours, Salvador said.

"What this change does is a market-based approach, where we're removing government regulation and we're giving market the ability to sort out this oversupply and to reach a more efficient, optimal usage rate," she told CBC's Edmonton AM on Wednesday.

In its news release, the city said on-site parking can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $60,000 per stall and that Edmonton has an oversupply of on-site parking city-wide. 

Maximum parking requirements will remain in effect downtown and are being expanded in transit-oriented developments and main street areas.

The new rules also allow for businesses and homeowners to share parking, or lease out parking spaces to other properties, which the city says could help with on-street parking in redeveloped areas. 

City staff will monitor the effect of shared parking and report back to council next year.

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