Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Reducing on-site parking to fight climate change and create a more affordable Langley City

Langley City staff, consultants, and council are in the process of updating our Official Community Plan. This foundational plan will help guide development in our community, if adopted, for years to come. There has been significant consultation to date about the proposed updated OCP. Earlier this summer, I posted about the key themes that emerged from the visioning workshops, open houses, pop-up events, and online survey.

Creating more affordable housing options and fighting climate change were two of the five key themes. The new OCP is being planned for a community with high-quality transit in mind such as RapidBus and SkyTrain. One of the ways to create affordable housing options and fight climate change is to reduce on-site parking requirements.

I posted in 2019 that a recent Metro Vancouver Regional District study found that there is an oversupply of on-site residential apartment parking in our region, including in Langley City. The cost to create a apartment parking spot is around $55,000 each.

When it comes to commercial property, surface parking lots create impervious surfaces which have a negative impact on environmental and human health. For example, unfiltered stormwater which contains pollutants ends up in our ecosystem when it rains. Impervious surfaces such as surface parking lots also contribute to the heat island effect.

Surface parking lots also cause buildings to be spread out which reduces walkability.

One of the interesting case studies in Langley City is Valley Centre Mall. This mall is located at 201A Street and Fraser Highway. It has seen two infill projects over the years: the Starbucks and Scotiabank buildings which front Fraser Highway. Because of these infill projects, the property owner is required to maintain a parking lots off Industrial Avenue to meet the current City’s minimum on-site parking requirements.

The following picture shows what that parking lots normally looks like.

Parking lot for Valley Centre Mall at 20229 Industrial Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

While Valley Centre Mall has a busy main parking lot, there is normally parking available.

Langley Mall is located near City Hall. Its parking lot was only ever full when the Cruise-In event happened in our community.

Recently, Langley City council has supported staff recommendations to reduced on-site parking requirements for projects near future SkyTrain stations.

While parking is tight in some single-family and townhouse-only areas, there is opportunity to reduce on-site parking requirements for apartment and commercial areas.

This will help create a more affordable and walkable community, and will help fight climate change.

1 comment:

Nathan Davidowicz said...

Copy Edmonton Alberta NO minimum parking requirements if you are areal pro transit Council.