Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Parking in Willoughby Update

Over the holidays, Township of Langley Council heard from some residents in the Yorkson area of Willoughby about the perceived lack of on-street parking in their community. The removal of “temporary” on-street parking along 80th Avenue is what prompted residents to head to Township Council to make their concerns known. I wrote about this earlier in the year, but the gist is that the parking problem is a demand-side issue and needs to be managed. It is also a result of the current lack of walkable centres in the community. Of course the Township has approved, and walkable centres are starting to be built in Willoughby.

As a result of residents’ concerns, a rather lengthy motion by Councillor Kim Richter was passed to have the matter discussed at a Council Priorities Committee Meeting. The motion also included a provision for Council to have a van tour of the area to see the parking issue first hand. Hopefully the tour will be guided by Township staff as most Councillors own a vehicle and could very easily drive themselves through the Yorkson area.

The latest agenda for the Council Priorities Committee Meeting has a staff report that outlines the parking situation in the Yorkson area.

Single Family Homes: 3 to 4 parking spaces per lot.
Rowhouses/Townhouses: 2 to 2.5 parking spaces per unit, plus one visitor parking space for every five units.
Apartments: 1 to 1.5 parking spaces per unit, plus visitor parking spaces based on 10% of the total parking provided in the building.

These parking requirements are pretty consistent with other auto-oriented communities in North America. The primary parking issues in Yorkson are that a.) people are converting garages to storags and other uses and b.) illegal secondary suites. I’ve talked enough about on-street parking permitting, and I still believe this is one solution that the Township needs to consider.

The staff report also notes that the design standard for all major (arterial) roads in the Township is to not have on-street parking due to perceived safety concerns, and to keep traffic moving at a high speeds. When arterial roads are not fully built-out, the Township allows temporary parking until such a time as the road are complete. I think one of the issues is that the Township did allow “temporary” parking in the first place; some of this “temporary” parking has been there for over a decade. Taking something away like parking will always create an conflict. The Township may have prevented this conflict by banning parking on future arterial roads from day one.

Of course, the Township could also consider adopting the boulevard as a future arterial standard. It would allow safe access for pedestrians, cyclists, parking, lower-speed, and higher-speed traffic. Combined with mixed-use development along some boulevards, and the Township would become one of the most accessible communities in Metro Vancouver.

Example Boulevard from NACTO Urban Street Design Guide. Click image to enlarge.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what Council will do with parking in Yorkson. The worst thing they could do is up the amount of required off-street parking as it would turn Willoughby into a community that has more area dedicated for cars than people. Also, people would just continue to using enclosed parking space for other uses.

No comments: