Too much parking in uptown Waterloo? Councillor says it may be time to sell lots

Coun. Melissa Durrell says the City of Waterloo may want to start considering selling off surface parking lots if they are not being used following a staff report this week that said there are lots of free spaces during the day and there could be even more once the LRT is running.

Staff report says parking usage in city’s core peaks at 60 per cent of spots full

Station Lot in Waterloo will be one of three parking lots near uptown that has three hours of free parking. It was an effort by council to encourage more people to park there. (Google StreetView)

It may be time for the City of Waterloo to sell off some of its surface parking lots if the spots are not being used, one councillor says.

Coun. Melissa Durrell said a staff report presented to council at Monday's meeting showed there are plenty of spaces in uptown Waterloo, yet parking is still one of the top concerns of residents who want to shop and visit the core.

"I find one of the biggest complaints I get from citizens, businesses, you name it, is that there is no parking in uptown. And so to see these numbers was very surprising and also leads me to believe there is a major communications issue here between what kind of parking we have available and what people think is available," she said.

'Parking is sufficient'

The staff report said during the week, off-street parking in lots has a utilization rate of 60 per cent, while 57 per cent of on-street parking spots are used during peak hours.

On Saturday, the numbers dip to 38 per cent for off-street and remains the same for on-street parking.

During public engagement, respondents "generally agree the supply of parking is sufficient and six to 10 minutes is a reasonable walk time from a parking space to a destination," the report said.

People will drive around to find a spot close to where they want to shop, but won't park in lots that are further afield, said Durrell. 

"There's always room on Regina Street," said Durrell, and suggested it might be time for the city to consider other options.

Sell surface lots

Durrell suggested the city should look into selling off surface parking lots to builders who want to create offices and residential units.

"Then take those surface parking lots and move them into some sort of structure," she said.

"The city has to start to think about leveraging those surface parking lots," she added. "This parking study says to me we need to start moving forward with that sooner than later."

Starting in 2018, staff will start to do annual parking utilization studies for five years to monitor LRT ridership update and its demand on public parking.


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