Potential changes to parking for Uptown and around ION light rail

The new draft Station Area Plans for light rail in the City of Waterloo suggest applying maximum parking requirements in transit station areas, as well as deeper parking reductions in areas closest to stations. Meanwhile, the city is undertaking a parking utilization study in Uptown, with an eye towards possibly beginning to charge for parking. (more…)

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The future of parking in Waterloo

Part 7 in our series on parking in the City of Waterloo draft zoning bylaw.

There’s an old joke that says, the trouble with parking is that it isn’t going anywhere.

If you read the City of Waterloo’s draft zoning bylaw, you might think they took the joke literally. But will we always need parking, especially copious amounts of it? What will the future bring?

We’re on the cusp of some pretty major shifts that will greatly alter how we get around and consequently, how much parking we’ll need. (more…)

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OGS Parking Lot

Shared parking, reducing the burden on local businesses

Part 5 in a week-long series on parking in the City of Waterloo draft zoning bylaw.

Commercial zones could foster thriving businesses and walkable places if we avoid burdening them with too much parking.

Of all the zoning types, commercial can be the most flexible. For most commercial zone categories, you can build retail, restaurants, office space, places of worship, and even apartments and condos. Over half of these categories in the City of Waterloo’s draft bylaw have the words “mixed use” as part of their name. (more…)

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Photo by Radcliffe Dacanay -

Bigger parking lots for new workplaces?

Part 4 in a week-long series on parking in the City of Waterloo draft zoning bylaw.

Is Waterloo’s proposed zoning preventing workers and their employers from reaping the benefits of rapid transit?

The zoning bylaw review seems to drastically increase the amount of parking that “employment lands” will require. In a time where our region seeks to reduce congestion and sprawl by enabling commuting by other means than driving, it seems that the city of Waterloo is ready to force employers to build more empty parking spaces.

Minimum parking for industrial malls stands to increase by 20% [1]. Single occupant buildings, if large enough, could see their parking requirements triple! [2] While the old bylaw might have envisioned large warehouses and factory floors, the new rules clearly have offices in mind. Space-intensive industrial tenants may need to look elsewhere.

The good news is that Waterloo plans on applying reductions to parking in certain areas like major nodes and major transit areas. The bad news is that the baseline requirement will be raised first, so a reduction of 30% near transit stations is actually a modest 16% from the old rate. Meanwhile new developments in the rest of the city must build more mandatory parking than before.

The Northfield Station development, placing parking next to an LRT stop

The Northfield Station development, placing parking next to an LRT stop

Much like with residential parking, the additional cost of extra parking on employment lands must be borne by the employer. The presence of extra parking will serve as a powerful incentive for driving, even when it is unnecessary, and will be discourage employers from offering parking cash-outs or alternative benefits (such as free transit passes) to reduce their parking needs. These reduce the chances their employees will do anything but drive.

By raising minimum parking requirements for employment lands, the City of Waterloo could be undermining a host of measures designed to give people more transportation choice, and  increasing the space and costs for employers to locate in Waterloo. Ultimately this could result in more drivers on the road at rush hour.

Take action:

Write to the Zoning Bylaw Review staff and your city councillors, and share your concerns about parking requirements for workplaces in the City of Waterloo’s next zoning bylaw.

Editor’s note: This post is part of a blog series on parking requirements in the City of Waterloo’s Zoning Bylaw Review. Read the other articles in this series:

[1] Existing industrial parking rate: 2.5/100m^2 floor space.  New employment parking rate: 3.0/100m^2 floor space

[2] The existing rate of 2.5/100m^2 applies to the first 1000m^2 of space. A reduced rate of 1.0 applies after that, eventually dropping to 0.75 for space beyond 5000m^2. The new rate of 3.0 appears to be a flat rate.

Photo credit: radcliffe decanay on Flickr, (c) 2006. Licensed under CC-BY.

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A failing grade in parking requirements

Part 3 in a week-long series on parking in the City of Waterloo draft zoning bylaw.

Update: we have heard that  staff have admitted an error in the draft bylaw and are reviewing the proposed parking requirements for schools.

Kids can’t drive. So why should schools need more parking than a shopping mall?

The current City of Waterloo zoning bylaws require 2 parking spaces per teaching area when a new school is built. But the proposed draft bylaw changes up the formula, requiring 4 parking spaces for every 100 square metres of floor space, plus an extra 5 spaces for visitors parking [1], which is more than what the City requires of Conestoga Mall. (more…)

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parking deck

Housing and parking minimums – or why the rent is too damn high

Part 2 in a week-long series on parking in the City of Waterloo draft zoning bylaw.

The City of Waterloo’s current and proposed zoning bylaws require significantly more parking for apartments and townhomes than what is needed, raising the cost of housing.

If you live in a house, odds are your family owns two cars, and you’re almost guaranteed to own at least one. But if you live in an apartment, a quarter of you own no car at all, and few of you own more than one. (more…)

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Halfway there…

Show your support for light rail and TriTAG

Just over two weeks ago, we told you about TriTAG’s fundraising campaign to help us continue to advocate on your behalf for more transit, protected bikeways, and better walking conditions to make our communities great places to work and live. As a thank you for your support, we’re making special button pins patterned after ION light rail station designs.

We’ve just reached the halfway point of our campaign. Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far:

  • $2,874 raised from 77 community members like you – that’s 57% of our goal of $5,000!
  • More than 1,000 ION buttons claimed including:
    • 25 limited-edition “UW goose” buttons
    • 7 framed button display sets
    • 3 ION route maps

Do you want to help TriTAG make Waterloo Region a better place to walk, bike, or take transit? Please consider making a contribution of a few dollars if you can. $5 gets you a button for the ION light rail station of your choice, a $25 donation gets you all 19 stations.

To find out more, visit our Indiegogo campaign at and help us spread the word!

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