Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

If You’re Requiring Parking by Transit Stations, You’re Doing It Wrong

9:35 AM PDT on March 29, 2016

The city of Waterloo, Ontario, is in the process of building a new 12-mile light rail line called Ion Rapid Transit. Now the most pressing question is how to make it a success.

Image: Tritag.ca
And so is more mandatory parking! Image: Tritag.ca
false

Mike Boos at TriTag says the transit line should have no trouble meeting ridership forecasts, with bus routes along the corridor already carrying nearly as many passengers as initially projected. But one lingering concern is the city's policy of mandatory parking. Waterloo still requires new residential and commercial development near light rail stations to include a minimum number of parking spaces. Boos says the city should be doing the reverse:

Parking supply may have a bigger impact people’s choices to take transit than proximity to rail stations [1]. If part of the cost of car ownership is simply hidden as part of the cost of a home, office, or retail space, it’s easier to decide to own and drive a car in spite of good transit being nearby. The default of having abundant free parking everywhere handicaps decisions to walk, bike or take transit.

A level playing field would mean that there’s an extra cost and effort to find a space for your car, so you might think twice about owning an extra car, or using it to go to work or shop.

The proposed Waterloo zoning bylaw does improve upon the status quo for light rail station areas. In Uptown, commercial uses would require 2.1 spaces per 100 square metres, compared with 4 today, and dwelling units would require 0.75 parking spaces each instead of 1. Other station areas would require a little bit more, but would still be lower than elsewhere in the city.

Meanwhile, Boos reports, other Canadian cities are way ahead when it comes to parking policies that complement transit. Hamilton has no parking minimums by light rail, and Ottawa is proposing the same. And both Hamilton and Edmonton impose parking maximums. Boos writes:

Compared with some of its peers, Waterloo’s proposed zoning bylaw parking requirements seem closer to the status quo than a transit-oriented future. If we want to see ION thrive, we should ask for better.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Transit Center examines how Richmond, Virginia, built a political coalition to implement a new bus rapid transit line. Philadelphia Bicycle Journal makes the case against decorative but expensive bike racks. And Renew ATL reports that Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has called the upcoming referendum to expand MARTA a "turning point" for the city.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Measure HLA Fact Check: Sidewalk Costs

The city says $200 million worth of annual ADA work is "included in the cost" of Measure HLA, but the city is already on the hook for that ADA work anyway, so none of it should be included as HLA costs

March 1, 2024

Supervisor Hahn Calls for No Residential Demolitions in Metro’s 710 Freeway Corridor Project

"[For 710 Freeway expansion] Metro needs to commit itself to zero residential property takes. [Metro] should have as one its top priorities ensuring that our projects do not result in kicking people out of their homes."

February 29, 2024

Where Does Alhambra Stand in the BRT Plan for the 60 Freeway Corridor?

The city is not quite in the 60 Freeway corridor; but there is a strong case and appetite for Bus Rapid Transit there

February 28, 2024
See all posts