Consultations and feedback deadlines
TriTAG this week
On the blog, we questioned why vehicles were being prioritized over pedestrian safety at the corner of Queen and Charles, where the sidewalk tapers to less than a metre. We also called for an all-day frequent network for iXpress routes.
ION: Small sidewalk at Queen and Charles not permanent: Grandlinq (CTV Kitchener), Roads, intersections, and highway ramps reopening next week (CTV Kitchener)
Ride-sharing: Uber, other ride-sharing bylaw approved by Waterloo Region (CBC KW), Editorial: A Region rides into the future (Waterloo Region Record)
Development charges: Who pays for what will be quite a debate (Karen Scian for Waterloo Chronicle)
Traffic calming: Sunny Kitchener mural shines a light on fast drivers at Lancaster and Chapel streets (CBC KW)
Accessibility: Small steps still big barriers to wheelchair access, advocates say (Waterloo Region Record)
Transit fares: Group wants free public transit for the poor (570 News)
Trails: The City of Waterloo is getting close to counting its millionth trail user in 2016 (@CityWaterloo)
Schools: Guide to safer streets near schools (Toronto Centre for Active Transportation)
Cycling: Anonymous San Franciscans are making renegade bike lanes (CityLab), Good riddance to the Prospect Park West bike lane lawsuit (Streetsblog)
Parking: I have met the enemy, and it is parking: Matt Elliott on Toronto’s biggest barrier to progress (Metro News)
Regional transit: Solving the Last Mile (Ryerson City Building Institute)
Planning: Jane Jacobs’s street smarts (New Yorker)
Self-driving cars and ride-sharing: Lyft president predicts private car ownership will be over by 2025 thanks to self-driving cars (CityLab), Report on how paratransit costs can be saved through new reservation tools, collaboration with ride-sharing services (NYU Rudin Center for Transportation), Can self-driving cars protect black people from police violence? (CityLab)
Kitchener’s exemption from parking requirements for the first 10,000 square metres of floor space could drive a surge in walkable, transit-friendly, and affordable development downtown – without every new building needing to be a massive tower.
We’ve written at length about parking minimums found in the City of Waterloo’s zoning bylaw review. But the City of Kitchener is also updating its zoning bylaws, and we finally have a draft of their parking requirements. And while parking minimums aren’t exactly abolished, they’re a big step forward.
Embedded directly within the draft parking standards are provisions for shared parking spaces – for instance, an office building and a place of worship might have different peak times of use, and could probably share a lot of their parking. These rules acknowledge that without a developer needing to apply for a special exemption.
Generally, the car parking requirements are less onerous than those of Waterloo’s draft bylaw, but are greater for bikes. Outside of downtown and ION station areas, residential units only require 1.1 parking spaces each, compared to 1.5 in Waterloo, offices require just 3 spaces per 100 square metres compared to 4, and retail 3.4 instead of 4. Bike parking for residential developments are about on par with Waterloo’s, but quadruple to 1 bike space per unit in downtown and station areas. For non-residential uses, Kitchener would require significantly more bicycle parking than Waterloo.
Parking maximums would also apply, not just in transit station areas, but across the city. These would be about 20-40% above the minimums.
The big game changer though, is found in this clause:
In a UGC-1, UGC-3, or UGC-4 zone, an exemption from the parking spaces required in Table 5-3 may apply up to the first 10,000 m2 of gross floor area of buildings on a lot for non-residential uses, and up to the first 100 dwelling units for residential uses.
Essentially, new or repurposed buildings downtown that have less than 10,000 square metres of floor space, (or fewer than 100 units), would see no parking requirements at all. Considering that structured or underground parking costs $20,000-50,000 per space, this could greatly reduce the cost of new development and consequently, housing. It could also lead to blocks with more active frontages, since there would be less need for driveways or garage entrances if a developer opts for no parking at all.
This change will open the door to transit-supportive density, without the need for every building to be a massive high-rises. Instead, the rules favour small and medium-sized buildings that require no parking.
To comment on the proposed zoning bylaw changes, attend one of the public drop-in sessions on June 22 or 28 (City Hall, 4-8pm), or visit the Consolidated Review of the Zoning Bylaw website.
Photo credit: Nick Stanley on Flickr, licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND.
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…)
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…)
Part 6 in our series on parking in the City of Waterloo draft zoning bylaw.
What if we built a light rail network and nobody came?
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…)