Monday, June 30, 2014

Demand for on-street parking in Willoughby should be managed

There is truth to the saying that you can’t build your way out of congestion. This is true for highway and for on-street parking. Late last year, the Township of Langley expanded 80th Avenue in Willoughby by removing temporary curb parking. This caused an uproar with some people in the community who claimed there wasn’t enough parking in the area. Interesting enough, the Township has the highest off-street/on-site residential parking requirement of any municipality in Metro Vancouver.

You can read more the history of parking in this area of Willoughby on a previous blog posts.

Anyway, the Township commissioned a study to see what was really going on in the community.

Survey area, near 80th Avenue west of 208th Street. Select image to enlarge.

Parking Accumulation by Zone, Weekday Time. Select image to enlarge.

Parking Accumulation by Zone, Weekend Time. Select image to enlarge.

As you can see from the proceeding graphics, while on-street parking is certainly oversubscribed in some areas, there is ample off-street/on-site parking available throughout this part of Willoughby. The survey measured vehicles that were parking in driveways, but did not count vehicles that may have been parked in garages as it is a well-known fact that many people use garages for anything but parking vehicles.

As a result of this report, Township Staff is recommending no changes occur in existing neighbourhoods. They are suggesting that more on-street and off-street parking be built and required in future neighbourhoods.

Increasing parking supply will increase the cost of homeownership, and the cost to build and maintain roads in the Township. Everyone will pay more to live in the Township. Increase parking supply will also impact the future accessibility of the community.

As parking supply isn’t the problem; there is enough off-street/on-site parking and only some areas have on-street parking over-subscription. The real solution is to manage the demand for on-street parking where it is required. This would encourage people to use the already provided on-site parking. Of course there would be enforcement costs, but these costs could be recovered. The Township could implemented a permitting system for example.

On-street parking is a limited resource. The Township of Langley needs to look at managing it better considering that there is an ample supply of off-street parking today.

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