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Re: [carfree_cities] Carfree Condo Planned in Toronto

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  • Chris Bradshaw
    ... Bravo! (although it is not yet approved by Council, nor been subject to any hearing of the archaic institution, the Ontario Municipal Board; at least the
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 5, 2009
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      > Has 315 bike parking spots instead, and is near transit.

      Bravo! (although it is not yet approved by Council, nor been subject to any
      hearing of the archaic institution, the Ontario Municipal Board; at least
      the citizens council for the area, which represents many interests, has
      approved in the face of as hostile report from City staff).

      The quote from the planners' report is telling:
      > It also stated that, "exempting the project from the city's parking
      > standards would create a negative precedent that undermines the integrity
      > of the parking provisions of the zoning bylaw."

      Au contraire, it provides a _positive_ precendent. Donald Shoup makes a
      point in his book that our Ottawalk group made in a position paper in 1995:
      parking is a legitimate land use and economic activity, and should be
      provide on its own by interests which sense a market and can meet that
      market with something that pays its own way.

      Rather, the planners tend to listen to the auto lobby and to neighbours of a
      proposed project; the former want infrastructure that will make the
      homeowner feel stupid not using, while the latter doesn't want to experience
      "spillover parking," as if the public parking on the roads in front of their
      homes and businesses belonged to them alone. And, as Shoup's title ("The
      High Cost of Free Parking) suggests, street parking is mostly free.

      I even contend that private, off-street parking should be charged for, to
      the extent that a) it creates "curb cuts" which cause uncontrolled
      intersections with pedestrians and often causes the sidewalk surface to be
      sloped to the side), and b) each parking spot represents a demand for road
      usage that is hard to charge for (remember, gas taxes go to only freeways,
      not local streets).

      By tying parking to housing and other land-uses, you are committing land to
      a use in a very wasteful way: a) the spaces may not be needed by the
      occupants, employees, customers, visitors, b) it increases the footprint of
      the land use, making distances between them longer and making the practice
      of parking once for several destinations less likely, c) the cost of the
      building to which the parking is "ancillary" goes up. How much low or
      moderate-cost housing or "incubator" business centres are hurt financially
      by high parking requirements?

      At the least, we need to experiment with low- or no-parking projects to see
      their effects. Jane Jacobs' example of closing streets around Washington
      Square near here home in NYC's Greenwich Park, and the fact that "the
      traffic" did not simply shift to nearby streets, is an argument for trying.

      I am sad to say that our 12-year-old Conservation Coop of 84 units but only
      10 car-parking spots (outdoors) and over 100 bicycle parking spots (indoors)
      has not proved to be that much of a precedent, although parking standards
      are being eased for more commercial successors closer to the downtown and
      the transitway.

      Chris Bradshaw
      Ottawa
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