New Development Parking Reviews
On January 19, 2021, Planning and Housing Committee requested the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning to conduct a review of the parking requirements in the Zoning By-law 569-2013.
Transportation Services invited individuals from various organizations to join a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) for this project. A SAHRA representative attended the meetings starting in March, 2o21. The purpose of the meeting was to provide background on the review and get feedback on the approach and initial directions.
A report was presented on ‘Recommended Parking Requirements for New Developments’ accompanied by a Presentation to the Planning and Housing Committee on November 25, 2021.
The report recommended the adoption of Zoning By-law Amendments to the city-wide Zoning By-law 569-2013 to modify the current standards for automobile and bicycle parking. The Report stated … updating the City’s parking standards to better manage auto dependency and achieve a better balance between building too much or too little parking ultimately contributes to building more sustainable and healthy communities. In order to achieve Council’s target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, aggressive action must be taken to curb the emissions from the transportation sector. Minimum parking requirements lead to the overbuilding of parking and support the continued growth of those emissions. Introducing maximum parking permissions will slow that growth in automobile use and resultant emissions.
This review of the parking standards was guided by the principle that parking standards should allow only the maximum amount of automobile parking reasonably required for a given use and minimums should be avoided except where necessary to ensure equitable access. New developments will still have to provide adequate parking onsite, and not assume residents will be able to park on the street. The changes will reduce the growth of the City’s parking supply while allowing those who need parking to have access to it. The removal of minimum parking standards does not remove existing parking, nor prevent new parking from being built.
FoNTRA stated in their November 24, 2021 letter that while they were in general support of the report’s direction, supporting flexibility in the application of parking standards, they do not support the complete elimination of minimum parking standards. Rather, FoNTRA suggested that the minimum standards be established by the type of location (downtown, surburban, near transit, etc.) and by types of building (rental apartments, small condos, luxury condos, etc.). And also not to forget that the TTC predicts that Line 1 capacity will be reached no later than 2026. In addition, FoNTRA suggested parking policy should be used to encourage use of electric over gasoline powered vehicles.
The Planning and Housing Committee adopted 15 Recommendations with amendments for review at the December 15, 2021 City Council meeting. A Revised Supplementary Report was presented in response to two requests from the PHC meeting on November 25, 2021: a request for an assessment of 1400 Weston Road and a request for relevant information regarding the application of the proposed parking policy for new developments in area outside of downtown. City Council adopted the Recommendations with additions/amendments. Staff will now proceed with implementing the Draft Zoning By-law Amendment for Parking and other associated changes.
Parking Issues on Upper Avenue
Parking is a known problem today on Upper Avenue and the cumulative effect of densification of the properties on Upper Avenue is going to compound the problem. They cannot all the use the same ‘available’ parking spaces!
On average, in a year, $250,000 is collected in parking fines for just a three-quarter mile stretch between Melrose and Joicey – imagine what is collected from Lawrence to Wilson and on the side streets.
To deal with the increasing parking needs, we need to understand By-law 569-2013 parking requirements and study the overall impact on Upper Avenue. Parking studies need to be done to define feasible parking solutions. The Councillor committed that the City would undertake reviews but this has not happened to our knowledge.
Money will be needed to pay for solutions. With the 1912-1914 Avenue Road OMB Settlement a Payment-in-Lieu (PIL) of Parking was assessed of $498,000 but this money was NOT designated to Upper Avenue as per the Councillor’s commitment at the Jan 20, 2016 Community Meeting – rather it went into the TPA revenue account. For each new development, on Avenue Road, we must ensure that PIL of Parking assessments are applied and designated to Upper Avenue.
We have submitted formal requests to the Councillor and the City for PIL of Parking Policy changes, Designation of PIL of Parking Monies, CofA Conditions as well as Interpretation of the PL of Parking Fomula – read the Payment-in-Lieu of Parking Policy page:
Parking issues have been discussed since the time of the Avenue Road Avenue Study (2007-2009). Recommendation #20 was that an Area Traffic Study be done but this did not and will not occur. In the ARAS Recommendations Review report published in May, 2017, the City Rejected this Recommendation.
But it is very important to note that the Report also listed a number of NEW recommendations regarding Parking.
“A Parking Working Group initiated by the local councillor could bring together staff from Transportation Services, the Toronto Parking Authority, and representatives from the local commercial and residential community, including representatives from the BIA (Business Improvement Area), if established.
The mandate could be to review and report on opportunities to provide additional on-street parking on side streets in the Avenue Road Study Area that could be located in close proximity to Avenue Road. The Parking Working Group could also be tasked with reviewing and providing an assessment of any impacts that may result from removal of the existing midday parking prohibition on side streets along Avenue Road from between Brooke Avenue to Ridley Boulevard.
Bedford Park – Removing lay-by parking in front of the Beer Store (1580 Avenue Road condo development) to widen sidewalk. Transportation Services to study adding more parking on the south side of Bedford Park Avenue abutting the Beer Store site (1580 Avenue Road condo development); street parking already exists on the south side west of the Beer Store.
Douglas Avenue – Douglas Avenue between Avenue Road and Grey Road has no on street parking (there is on the south side of Douglas on the east side of Avenue Road). Transportation Services to study adding street parking on Douglas within 100 metres west of Avenue Road.
Dunblaine Avenue – Staff also recommend that the TPA consider installing on street parking on the north side of Dunblaine Ave between Avenue Road and the north south lane east of Avenue Road.”
SAHRA has not heard from the Councillor or the City of any plans to proceed with these changes but they can easily be implemented by the Councillor putting forward a Motion at the North York Community Council (does not require the approval of City Council).
Request for designating Payment-in-Lieu of Parking Assessments
At the Jan 20, 2016 Community Meeting regarding 1912-1914 Avenue Road, in response to the great concern expressed by the store owners and residents, Councillor Carmichael Greb committed to submit a Motion to request that the monies collected on Upper Avenue be designated to be used for parking solutions within that area and that the City would undertake reviews to define and then implement parking solutions for Upper Avenue.
SAHRA submitted a request to the Councillor and the City on April 27, 2016 on behalf of Ward 16 Residents’ Associations as well as a specific request regarding Avenue Road (between Lawrence to Wilson) to now ask that the ‘designation’ be expanded to include all Payment-in-Lieu of Parking assessments within Ward 16 or Upper Avenue.
SAHRA Request for designating Payment in Lieu of Parking monies letter
The Councillor’s Office advised on May 2, 2016 that City Transportation Services would be reporting to the Planning and Growth Management Committee with a review and recommendations for the policy in the Fall of 2016.
We received an update from the Councillor’s Office on Sep 7, 2016:
“I’ve also been told that any changes to the existing policy will not consider limiting the spending of funds collected from a specific area to that area alone. Currently, funds collected under PIL are placed in a reserve account to be used by the TPA to offset some of the capital cost associated with the construction of new parking facilities. It is preferred that the funds collected continue to be pooled and applied where the need arises – a much more efficient way of collecting and spending the funds on projects. In fact, the funds collected from PIL represent only a small fraction of the funds the TPA requires in order to build the necessary facilities to meet community needs. To address those parking facility needs and priorities the TPA frequently consults with the local councillor, BIAs and other associations and frequently does a scan of areas in the City where growth is anticipated. This approach ensures that any parking shortfall and community needs are being addressed.”
SAHRA submitted a letter on Sep 11, 2016 responding to this disappointing news!
We questioned the Councillor’s commitment at the Community Consultation Meeting for 1912-1914 Avenue Road on Jan 20, 2016 to arrange that the monies collected on Upper Avenue (Lawrence to Wilson) be designated to be used for parking solutions within that area.
SAHRA dealt with the time and cost of the OMB hearing for 1912-1914 Avenue Road and obtained a Settlement with one of the prime objectives being to secure the Payment-in-Lieu of Parking monies which were estimated to be between $40K to $600K (the actual assessed value was $498K). We were successful in obtaining OMB, Developer and City Legal agreements that these monies would be assessed and paid. Without our efforts, we believe that these monies would not have been realized, for the intended benefit of Upper Avenue.
The end result was that the $498K was NOT designated for Upper Avenue, rather the money went into the City-wide TPA revenue account.