Toronto ditches archaic parking rules that have clogged the city with cars
Toronto just took a big step away from car dependency, with city council adopting new by-law amendments on Wednesday to eliminate controversial parking rules that force developers to include vast parking garages in their projects.
Not only is the city removing most of these outdated minimum parking requirements, it's also imposing new limits on the number of parking spaces that can be built into a development. A double-whammy for car dependency.
"This decision means that developers will no longer be required to build parking spaces that home buyers don't want, making it easier for residents who live without a car to purchase a home," said Mayor John Tory.
Toronto's Chief Planner, Gregg Lintern, notes that the city is now one of the largest on the continent to implement such a policy.
Toronto Council voted to join the club today eliminating parking minimums, one of the largest cities in North America to do so - Parking Mandates Map https://t.co/OtuxxgmCYk via @Parking_Reform— Gregg Lintern (@GreggLintern) December 16, 2021
A former Chief Planner is also cheering on the new bylaw amendments, placing herself among the voices seeing the move as a clear win for not just pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users, but the whole city.
That's it - parking minimums for new developments are gone, in Toronto. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this a reality - those on the inside, those on the outside, those who laboured for years* to make the case as to why our city needs less, not more, cars.— Jennifer Keesmaat (@jen_keesmaat) December 16, 2021
Removing cars from the road and encouraging walking, cycling, and transit aligns with the city's climate action strategy known as TransformTO, parking garages often representing a disproportionate share of a building's greenhouse gas emissions.
Toronto getting rid of parking minimums has the potential to massively reduce embodied emissions in buildings. Underground parking garages can be up to half of embodied GHG in a building.— Shoshanna Saxe (@shoshannasaxe) December 16, 2021
"This more strategic and thoughtful management of the parking supply will contribute to the city's priorities to address the climate emergency, improve housing affordability, and encourage alternative forms of mobility for more people," said Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee, Ana Bailão.
Of course, not everyone is happy about less parking in the city. Drivers have been speaking out about what this means for their demographic.
Gaaaaa this happened on our block a couple of years ago. Our neighborhood has turned into a dogfight for parking every day. And of course nowhere to charge the EV if someone blocks the charger I had to pay to install on the street. Until transit is adequate + safe, I’m driving— Penny Thompson (@postition) December 16, 2021
And the complaints seem to grow louder further away from the city centre. One suburban motorist even claimed (unironically) that this change will make it harder to park huge SUVs in the city.
Yikes. Hope this isn't the new norm. Makes it hard for us suburban folks to park our huge SUV's in the city.— Jason Miller (@jamzdotnet) December 16, 2021
Car-loving suburbanites probably aren't going to love this news, but this isn't a blanket ban on large parking garages.
If you're buying into a condo development in the suburbs or an area not well-served by transit, you can bet there will still be a sprawling garage in the mix.
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