TORONTO ALTERS PARKING REQUIREMENTS TO KEEP PACE WITH THE TIMES
Recently, I wrote a column focusing on the need for municipal governments to do more to help ease the affordability situation for new homes and condominiums. Kudos to the City of Toronto, which in December 2021 removed most of the requirements for new developments to include a minimum number of parking spaces for cars and bikes (https://bit.ly/3FdsVrX). These Zoning Bylaw Amendments limit instead the maximum number of parking spaces that can be built. This decision on the part of the City also addresses housing affordability, as it costs developers up to $150,000+ to build each below-grade parking space. Among other considerations, excavating and removing huge amounts of soil to another location is an enormous expense.
Lessening car dependency and improving sustainability, the changes also create more balanced guidelines regarding parking in the light of current needs and wants. With Toronto’s public transportation system undergoing expansions, many city dwellers do not own vehicles. Consider, too, how many previous office workers are no longer commuting, but working from home. The previous minimum parking space requirements resulted in unused and unwanted spots sitting empty, which is a waste in a major urban area whose population is continually increasing.
Walking, cycling and taking public transit in the City are healthier options, both personally and environmentally. Toronto City Council took a realistic look at best practices when it comes to requirements for new developments and made a wise choice.