Parking Up the Right Tree – Part 2
With the year coming to an end, the City of Toronto (the “City”) staff have been busy preparing programs, initiatives, and reports which are scheduled to go to City Council before 2022, including the Review of Parking Requirements for New Development. Our previous blog posts covered an Overview and Timeline of the Review, as well as an Update on the public meetings that took place in June. The City has now finished its public consultations and has provided a Recommendation Report and a Draft Zoning By-law Amendment to the City’s Zoning By-law 569-2013 (the “By-law”) for Automobile Standards. The recommendations are outlined below.
Future Visions and Current Trends
As outlined in our first post about the Review, the City is looking to establish parking maximums instead of minimums for new development. This decision is influenced by the need to prioritize sustainable and space efficient modes of transportation in light of the current climate challenges as directed by the Official Plan. The Transportation Tomorrow Survey showed that more apartment households are choosing to become car-free and that 46% of recently approved projects have parking levels below the minimums. The cost of construction for an underground parking space can cost as much as $160,000. With these trends in mind, City staff are becoming more supportive of applications that provide less parking than what is required and are attempting to reduce parking requirements further.
City staff have proposed changes to the By-law, including changes to:
- Policy Areas and Parking Zones;
- Land Use Categories;
- Auto Parking Rates;
- Accessible Parking Rates;
- Electronic Vehicle Supply Equipment (“EVSE”);
- Bicycle Parking;
- Payment-in-Lieu of Bicycle Parking;
- Transition Requirements; and
- Parking Supply Guidelines for City Developments.
Land Use Categories
The City is proposing to simplify the By-law by grouping together similar land uses to reduce the amount of land use categories from 90 existing land uses to approximately ten (10) categories.
To facilitate the introduction of parking maximums rather than minimums, the City proposes to maintain existing maximums where they exist, and introduce new maximums by land use group. Non-residential land use groups will be grouped into different “Tiers”, and parking rates will generally be determined based on which Parking Zone each new Land Use “Tier” is located in.
Development proposals that exceed the maximum permitted parking rate will require a zoning by-law amendment that is supported by parking studies and would be encouraged to provide additional travel demand management measures to offset the expected increase in driving.
Residential parking maximums will also be determined according to the respective Parking Zone, however, dwelling units in the following housing types are not subject to parking maximums:
- Detached house;
- Semi-detached house;
- Duplex, triplex, fourplex; and
- Secondary suites.
Policy Areas and Parking Zones
The proposed Parking Zones will be separate from the Policy Areas currently found in the By-law and are only applicable to maximum parking standards. There are two new Parking Zones proposed:
- Parking Zone Area A has the most restrictive parking maximums in the City and applies to lands within 400 metres of frequent higher-order transit. It generally includes lands within Policy Areas 1, 2, and 3.
- Parking Zone Area B has less strict parking maximums and applies to lands within 100 metres of frequent surface transit. It generally includes lands within Policy Area 4.
- The “Rest of the City” that is not captured within Parking Zone A or B will be subject to the least restrictive parking maximums.
A Parking Zones overlay map is being recommended by staff which will outline the Parking Zone boundaries in more detail. These boundaries will be subject to future revisions as necessary, associated with the adoption of Major Transit Station Areas.
Visitor and Accessible Parking
Minimum requirements will still be established for visitor and accessible parking and requirements for accessible parking will be separate from other parking requirements. A new method for calculating the minimum required number of accessible spaces is also proposed by staff which is expected to increase the total number of accessible parking spaces required.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment
The City is recommending a requirement that all parking spaces for residents in a development be “EV ready” and that 25% of all other non-resident parking spaces in the development be EV ready, to reduce retrofitting costs down the line. To be considered EV ready, the parking space must be equipped with an adjacent energized outlet capable of providing Level 2 charging or higher. The City will work with the Province and Toronto Hydro to determine how to limit the burden on developers when installing EVSE.
Bicycle Parking Rates
To continue reducing dependency on automobiles, the City is proposing to double the short-term bicycle requirements for residential uses in Bicycle Zone 1, from 0.1/unit to 0.2/unit. The By-law defines this area as “the area of the City bounded by the Humber River on the west, Lawrence Ave on the north, Victoria Park Ave on the east and Lake Ontario on the south” and it will not be undergoing a boundary adjustment.
Infrastructure to Support Low Parking Rates
A payment-in-lieu of bicycle parking will allow developers to reduce short-term bicycle parking requirements within Bicycle Zone 1 up to 50%. The City is recommending a rate of $500 per short-term space, and that the collected fees go to the reserve fund for the Toronto Parking Authority to expand the Bike Share program. A requirement for a bicycle maintenance station is also being recommended for developments with more than five long-term bicycle parking spaces.
While the City is looking for ways to reduce automobile parking and encourage alternative modes of transportation, there will be no reduction to existing lawful parking. However, the on-street parking permit program will not apply to new developments and instead, the City proposes to monitor the existing parking and other parking requirements through a monitoring program.
Future work will include:
- Review of the By-law’s loading space requirements, Guidelines for the Design and Management of Bicycle Parking Facilities, and bicycle parking standards; and
- Development of Transportation Demand Management Guidelines that support the review of Toronto Green Standard Single-Occupant Vehicles reduction targets and review of applications to exceed new parking maximums.
Further recommendations based on the Parking Review will be presented to Council in 2023.
Should you have any questions about the Parking Review and how it will affect your development, the lawyers at Davies Howe will be happy to assist you.