Langley City Election 2018 - October 20th

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Apartment parking underutilized in South of Fraser. An opportunity for lowering housing costs.

When we talk about affordable housing, one of the components that is often overlooked is the cost of parking. In a typical wood-frame apartment building, a parking spot costs about $20,000 to build. Langley City requires around 1.5 parking spots per apartment unit which adds more than $30,000 to the price of a unit.

I know that on-street parking can be a contentious issue in most residential areas in Metro Vancouver. Are people parking on the street because communities don’t require enough apartment parking? I know that for my building this is not the case, but is that an exception?

Metro Vancouver recently updated it apartment parking study which surveys buildings throughout our region.

In the South of Fraser, the results show that apartment residents use less than 1 parking space on average per unit. This means that there is an oversupply of on-site parking in most buildings in the South of Fraser. The study also found that the demand for on-site parking has been going down over the years.

Apartment residential parking supply and utilization, by year of survey. South of Fraser apartments highlighted. Select chart to enlarge.

The study also found that the closer people are to high-quality transit in Metro Vancouver, the less on-site parking is utilized.

Strata apartment residential parking supply and utilization, by transit proximity. Select chart to enlarge.

People who rent also use less parking than people who own throughout our region.

Market rental apartment residential parking supply and utilization, by transit proximity. Select chart to enlarge.

Given this information, communities in the South of Fraser could lower the required number of parking stall per unit in most apartment buildings. These numbers could be even lower for buildings near high-quality transit, and rental buildings.

By reducing parking requirements for apartments, significant cost savings can be achieved which can be passed along to people buying or renting units.

As a note, buildings were surveyed from all municipalities in the South of Fraser. The study did not look at single-family housing or townhouses parking utilization. This study can be viewed starting on page 177 of the June 8, 2018 Metro Vancouver Regional Planning Committee agenda.

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