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Would permitting smaller parking lots encourage more Londoners to bike or bus?


City hall is poised to lift minimum parking standards in some of London’s busiest commercial corridors, and slash requirements everywhere else in half.

Currently, the minimum number of parking spots required in a new commercial development depends on a building’s size, location and use.

There are also parking requirements for most residential developments.

“Cars take up an astronomical amount of space in a city,” said cycling advocate Jamieson Roberts. “Putting up more buildings that don’t have quite as much parking isn’t going to change things drastically in the short-term, and in the long-term hopefully people will start to adapt their habits.”

In a new report to the Planning and Environment Committee, city staff recommend that in core business districts and along primary transit routes developers be permitted to provide as little parking as the market/customers require.

Elsewhere else in the city minimum parking requirements for commercial and residential developments will be cut by about 50 percent.

“Businesses and developers know their parking needs best, and they should have the flexibility to provide an appropriate parking supply,” explained Isaac de Ceuster, a planner with city hall.

De Ceuster added that the formulas to calculate minimum parking requirements haven’t been overhauled since 1993.

The staff report suggests that smaller parking lots align with the city’s Climate Emergency Action Plan by increasing urban density and encouraging Londoners to consider public transit and active transportation.

Coun. John Fyfe-Millar, who represents downtown neighbourhoods, intends to ask staff about how some of the changes were developed and calculated.

“We have to think big picture. We have to think 12 months of the year. When we have events do we have adequate parking for those events?” Fyfe-Millar asked.

He said reducing the size of parking lots too much could lead to overflow parking on nearby residential streets.

“This is not an argument for me about cycling or about driving. To me this is about having a downtown where everyone should feel welcome to come to,” Fyfe-Millar said.

Jamieson said even after the changes there will be excessive parking in central London and told CTV News London, “In terms of the core, we already have a glut of parking. The last study showed at peak [times] only 83 per cent was being used.”

Changes to parking minimums would not impact accessible parking requirements.

The requirement for bicycle parking, however, would increase.

The Planning and Environment Committee will discuss the changes on July 25. Top Stories


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