Three new garages in Waterloo's parking strategy
May 13, 2008
WATERLOO - A new parking strategy for uptown Waterloo includes paid on-street parking and up to three new parking garages.
One of the garages could be built at Caroline Street South and Willis Way by 2013 at a cost of $18.7 million. It could have up to 750 spaces.
The garage might open the way for a Westin luxury hotel in the core.
But city hall staffer Doug Robertson said a formal proposal has yet to be presented to the city.
Robertson, who works for chief administrative officer Simon Farbrother, said the parking garage would be built to accommodate parking needs for the entire uptown over a 15-year period.
David Gibson of First Gulf Development Corp. has said he proposed building a 170-room luxury hotel along Willis Way but wanted the city to pay the bulk of the costs for a $4-million parking garage with 200 spaces.
A parking report by Ralph Bond, vice-president of BA Group Transportation Consultants of Toronto, was presented last night at a finance and strategic planning committee meeting.
The strategy also calls for:
- 59 new on-street spaces -- 24 on Erb Street, seven on Dupont, 12 on Caroline and 16 on Bridgeport -- later this year.
- Adding a 100-spot deck to the Dupont Street parking lot by 2011-12 for $2.2 million.
- A 500-space parking garage north of Erb Street.
- A 500-space parking garage at City Hall on William Street.
Councillors approved the long-term strategy and will deal with the individual pieces as they come up.
These include the Willis Way structure, which Coun. Ian McLean said isn't needed and can't be afforded now.
"It's the only way in the long term,'' he said in an interview after the meeting.
There are 3,372 parking spots in the core, and the city controls 2,403 of them.
Robertson said 500 spaces sit vacant during peak hours.
The new strategy also includes charging $2 an hour for new parking spots and selling surface lots uptown to developers and using that money to construct garages.
Jeff Zavitz of the Waterloo Downtown Business Improvement Association said paid street parking will be a hot-button issue but the "denser we get, there will be a need to pay for parking as long as it is phased in properly."
There will definitely be a need for paid parking in the future so glad to see it starting now, and great news about selling off surface lots (dear Kitchener, take note!)
Not sure where the Erb and William st parking structures will be. Anyone have an idea?
Regardless where they go, they better look good!
GREAT article from The Star. I personally think there's lots of ideas we can use from it.
http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/424158How the politics of parking can defile a city
May 11, 2008
Tolls may be an idea that some people and some cities are finally willing to debate, but free parking remains the blind spot in urban and transportation planning. I'd heard various estimates (four, eight, 13) for the number of parking spots per car in North America, and I have to admit that, initially, I was shocked. After all, like most people, when I'm driving around hunting for a legal space – all the while burning fossil fuels, spewing emissions and adding to the traffic congestion – it never occurs to me that North American cities devote so much space to parking.
But the typical driver has a parking spot at home and one at work (usually bigger than the cubicle he or she spends all day in) as well as shared spots at malls, stores, restaurants and even churches.
We're so accustomed to abundant free parking that we resist paying for it, hate looking for it and, most of all, dread getting tickets. As Donald Shoup, America's parking guru, told me, "Everybody thinks parking is a personal problem, not a policy problem." But everybody is wrong.
Born in California in 1938, Shoup was living in Honolulu when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. Now a professor at UCLA's urban planning department and the author of The High Cost of Free Parking, he has a growing band of followers who call themselves Shoupistas even though the market-oriented policies he advocates could best be summed up by the battle cry, "Charge whatever the traffic will bear."
He'd offered to arrange "free (or rather fully subsidized) parking" for me, but I wanted to take the bus in order to experience public transit in Los Angeles. I made it to UCLA 45 minutes early and spent the time checking out the campus, and then went up to his office and found a bald man with a grey beard sitting at a desk that had a radio in the shape of a parking meter on it.
Shoup isn't sure what the ratio of parking spots to cars is – he suspects it's at least three or four to one, probably more – but he knows it's too high. He's also convinced that free parking not only encourages people to drive, it's actually expensive because subsidizing it costs the economy more than the U.S. government devotes to Medicare.
Turning to his computer, he showed me aerial photos of several cities to demonstrate how much land we waste just to give drivers a place to leave their wheels. "Parking is the single-biggest land use in almost any city and almost everybody has ignored it," he told me. "It's like dark matter in the universe: We know there's something there, and it seems to weigh a lot, but we don't know what it is. If only we could get our hands on it."
While he was at his computer, he also gave me a virtual tour of the Old Town Pasadena neighbourhood, with before and after photos that showed how it had gone from skid row to upscale destination.
ONE OF HIS IDEAS was instrumental in that transformation. The city faced a common problem: Parking was free, but the few merchants who were still in business complained that it was inadequate. The people who worked in the stores took most of the spots, leaving customers to drive around searching for one – or just staying away. Meanwhile, the city had a vision of a revitalized downtown but no money to repair sidewalks, plant trees, increase security or take any of the other steps necessary to attract people.
Shoup recommended charging enough for parking to maintain an 85 per cent occupancy rate and using the money shoppers dropped in the meters to improve the neighbourhood. The revenue couldn't go into the city's general coffers; it had to be spent on the streets.
Once that happened, the business community started to invest, too – even sandblasting and renovating derelict buildings – and soon the shop owners, who had initially opposed meters, wanted to charge for parking until midnight. They wanted the money for the improvements, but they also discovered that their fears about scaring away customers were unfounded – anyone who really wanted to shop or eat in the area was willing to invest a few quarters.
As the area became more popular, the meters raised more money for more improvements, which increased the popularity. And so on. The city now collects one million dollars a year to pay for upkeep that includes sweeping the sidewalks nightly and steam-cleaning them twice a month.
In Calvin Trillin's Tepper Isn't Going Out, a slight but charming novel about a man who becomes a New York folk hero because of his parking acumen, once Murray Tepper finds a parking spot, he just sits there and enjoys it. But when Shoup and I talked about the book, he pointed out that Tepper wouldn't have stayed put so long if Manhattan charged the right price for street parking. The right price is the one that means there are always one or two open spots per block. Since the cost encourages turnover, time limits are unnecessary; in fact, any place that needs to impose time limits is not charging enough.
A city should adjust the rate every quarter to ensure the 15 per cent vacancy rate, always letting the market decide the price. "Nobody can tell you what the right price of gold is, or the right price of wheat or apples," he argued. "It just happens."
Free off-street parking isn't something that just happens, though, because planning departments always insist that developers include a minimum number of parking spots. Shoup doesn't have much respect for the ability of urban planners to determine how many spots are necessary. Since planners don't learn anything about parking in school, they learn it on the job, but because parking is so political – NIMBY neighbours constantly squawk at the thought of anyone parking on their street – what they really learn is the politics of parking.
"Planning will be looked back on as worse than phrenology, because phrenology didn't do any harm," he said, referring to the nineteenth-century pseudoscience that claimed to be able to determine character and other traits from the size and shape of a cranium.
The harm abundant free parking does feeds on itself: All that land dedicated to parking, which often sits empty for much of the day, increases sprawl, and that sprawl makes alternatives such as public transit and walking less feasible, which forces more people into cars, which increases the need for more parking.
Again, Shoup argued that the market should decide: Freed from the arbitrary and capricious demands of the planners, developers will put in the right amount of parking – enough to meet their customers' needs, but not so much that they waste valuable space or money.
When the Westfield San Francisco Centre reopened in September 2006 after a major renovation, it was triple the size, featured high-profile tenants such as Bloomingdale's and expected 25 million visitors a year – all without adding any new parking. A lot of people shook their heads at that, but the mall is close to 32 transit lines and sits across the street from a large parking garage that was rarely anywhere close to full.
In 1992, the state of California adopted another Shoupism: Under the parking cash-out law, companies that pay for employees' parking must offer the equivalent in cash to nonparkers. So someone who works for a firm that pays $150 a month for each spot in an underground lot can opt to forgo the spot and pocket the cash. After the law came in, 13 per cent of employees took the money – most switching to car pools or taking public transit, though a few started riding a bike or walking to work.
ALTHOUGH HIS ideas seem like so much common sense, Shoup still feels they're underappreciated. Many places want to thrive the way Old Town Pasadena has, but few realize how crucial the meter money was to that success.
Still, he knows some planners are curious because he receives more invitations to speak than he can accept. Cities pay him large lecture fees, fly him first class and then wine him and dine him, but they don't all do what he suggests because parking is so political.
"All I can do is go and say, 'You're doing everything wrong,' " said Shoup, who rides a bike about three kilometres to campus, puts just 5,600 kilometres a year on his Infiniti, and admitted that he's often mistaken as an enemy of the car. He insists he's not; it's just that people would live differently – read: drive less – if they had to pay for parking.
The good news is that all that parking space is an accidental land reserve for housing that can bring in tax revenue even as it helps ease traffic congestion, air pollution and energy dependence.
"The nice thing is that when cities adopt what I'm saying" – he snapped his fingers – "like that, it works."
What do you guys think?
Last edited by Spokes; 01-26-2010 at 05:54 PM.
The video is based on Donald Shoup's book, The High Cost of Free Parking.
Wouldn't be surprised to see Waterloo and the Region follow suitKitchener ends outdated parking perk
January 23, 2010
Road Ahead column by Jeff Outhit
The City of Kitchener is the first local government to end an outdated municipal perk. It will no longer provide employee parking at public expense.
According to a city report, employees at Kitchener City Hall in the Kitchener core will now have to park on their own dime. If they need their car for work, they will be reimbursed a parking rate.
It’s estimated this will save taxpayers $300,000 spent each year to subsidize employee parking. “It’s good from an environmental standpoint,” Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr said.
Some city employees are now looking at carpooling or Grand River Transit, Zehr said. Others may choose to pay for their current parking space, or hunt for a cheaper one.
Taxpayers continue to fully subsidize parking for employees of the cities of Waterloo, Cambridge, and Waterloo regional government. Governments need to end this subsidy so they can be seen to practise what they preach.
Politicians talk a lot about getting residents out of their cars, to reduce emissions, ease road-building costs, improve fitness, and restrain suburban sprawl. Some steps are underway.
For example, municipal planners are considering ways to reduce parking at new private developments. This is intended to nudge more people onto transit, sidewalks, bicycles or carpools. Yet while they ponder restrictions on private parking, councils pay for civil servants to park for free.
Another example: Waterloo regional government proposes to spend $800 million to help put electric trains on local streets. This is meant to lure more downtown commuters onto transit.
Yet regional council spends $398,000 a year to provide free parking for its employees. Most of this amount is spent to lease spaces in downtown Kitchener and Waterloo. Council also plans to buy 100 underground parking spaces in Kitchener, for $4.5 million or more.
Providing regional employees with free downtown parking is no way to promote transit.
Local governments are reviewing parking subsidies, in part due to a federal ruling that says employer-paid parking is a taxable benefit.
Kitchener council has shown the way forward. Stop spending taxes on this. Make public servants pay for their parking. If they have to use their car for work, reimburse them. That’s fair.
Governments that aim to get commuters out of their cars need to walk the walk.
Jeff Outhit can be reached at 519-895-5642 or email@example.com
March 1, 2010; 4:05-4:21 PM
There should be retail on the bottom floor, facing King St.
+ 1 ; regardless if it makes pure financial sense. The aesthetic & urban activity reasons alone are worth it.
While certainly ground floor retail should have a bit of extra height, even if this had the bare minimum it'd be great, but does it?
Quoting UrbanWaterloo's post from the thread about the BPR Lofts.
Not off the top of my head, but by and large the % of students with cars is fairly low
They had to lease extra spaces from where the current development is happening on Regina (36-38?). Not sure if they've had to find other spaces now that the parking lot is gone.
Huff trial nearly derailed over parkingJurors are already grossly underpaid for what they're asked to do, including the responsibility as well as the disruption in their personal lives, but expecting them to stuff coins into parking meters for the duration of a lengthy trial is absurd. Yet even with the new court house and added parking capacity I'll assume that "unclear whether these garages will help future jurors or how expensive it will be to park there" means either no one has given any thought to this issue or, if they have, they don't give a damn as long as they have a parking spot in the new facility.Justice James Ramsay laid down the law early in John Huff's trial after jurors asked for breaks to put money in parking meters.
Angry at the disruption, Ramsay commented that the Superior courthouse at Weber and Frederick streets doesn't have proper parking, drinkable water or security.
He ordered Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General to provide each juror with parking close to the courthouse, or cab fare every day of the trial, which was scheduled to last four weeks.
If the government didn't comply, Ramsay said, “I shall consider a mistrial and a change of venue.''
For the rest of the trial, jurors got tokens to park in the lot across from Centre in the Square in downtown Kitchener. They were told if they couldn't find a spot there, they should drop off their car at the courthouse and a spot would be found.
The Region of Waterloo, which owns the courthouse, had to provide a voucher for a handicapped juror to park in a regional spot at the courthouse.
Parking can especially be a problem on days when potential jurors are called for jury duty. As many as 150 people can show up.
When the new consolidated courthouse is built at Frederick and Duke streets, parking for courthouse employees will be available in two planned new parking garages.
One is a 412-space underground garage behind the Kitchener Public Library.
Construction is slated to start this fall on the garage which is being built to accommodate the increased demand expected with an expanded library and the new courthouse.
The other is a 500-space parking garage at Charles and Benton streets.
It's unclear whether these garages will help future jurors or how expensive it will be to park there.
Asked about the parking problem for jurors and the judge's order, Brendan Crawley, spokesperson for the Attorney General's Ministry, said only, “The judge made an order relating to the specific case, and the ministry . . . has taken steps to comply with the order.''
And of course...Another unusual circumstance arose in the trial when a woman in a wheelchair was chosen as a juror. She couldn't get her chair in the jury box. So courthouse staff had to remove all 12 chairs from the box and set them up on the other side of the courtroom.
Wow, glad to see him take a stand like that. Maybe it'll draw some attention to the issue. And like IEFBR14 said, hopefully within either the new courthouse or one of the new parking garages, there will be some parking available for jurors. There needs to be, particularly without a great transit system in place right now.
Also, I'm appalled that juror parking was apparently not included in "planning" the new court house. No doubt the parking needs of everyone else involved in the legal process was addressed.
KCI Parking Lot Expansion
REPORT TO: Development & Technical Services Committee
DATE OF REPORT: May 3, 2010 | DATE OF MEETING: May 10, 2010
SUBMITTED BY: John McBride, Director Transportation Planning; Kim Kugler, Director Enterprises
PREPARED BY: John McBride
REPORT NO.: DTS-10-092
“That the City enter into a Management Agreement with the Waterloo Region District School Board with respect to the redevelopment and operation of Lot 12 Green St as a public surface parking lot at Kitchener Collegiate Institute; and further,
That the user fees be established at an hourly rate of $2.35, a daily maximum of $9.00 and a monthly rate of $81.99 plus tax, and that Bylaw 88-169 be amended accordingly; and further,
That a request from the Community Services Department for funding in the amount of $161,000 in 2012 be referred to the Capital Budget review; and further,
That the Mayor and Clerk be authorized to sign such agreement subject to the satisfaction of the City Solicitor.”
In 2001, the City entered into discussions with the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) for the operation of Lot 12 Green St, which is the surface lot between KCI and Don McLaren Arena. At that time, the school required the 128 spaces in this lot for school purposes during the day and it was only available for City use evenings, weekends and during the summer months. There was also direction from Council that Arena patrons were to be given 2 hours of free parking to be consistent with other arenas. These restrictions limited our ability to operate an effective and profitable parking lot.
The reasons for developing Lot 12 Green St were to help control illegal parking predominately generated by the Hospital, provide for KCI related parking during school times, accommodate Don McLaren Arena parking and generate net revenues for both the WRDSB and the City. The Green Street lot achieved modest success in the control of unwarranted parking, but was frustrated when the Board required portables on the lot for its boiler replacement and renovations at the school, and by the City’s initiative to provide arena patrons with free parking vouchers.
In 2005, when work was being completed at the school, a consulting engineer was asked to develop concepts relating to an improved parking layout that would enhance student safety and make more efficient use of the campus.
This was prompted by two significant issues. The first is the failure of a retaining wall in the Green St lot that is posing a safety and liability risk. It needs to be either repaired or removed. The second significant change is that with the elimination of Grade 13, fewer students are driving and requiring parking spaces. This creates an opportunity to offer a significant number of public parking spaces 7 days a week, while at the same time addressing a safety issue.
The redevelopment of this site would be based on a partnership between the WRDSB, Kitchener Parking and the Community Services Department.
The KCI campus is defined by two distinct parking areas as outlined on the attached site plan. It is proposed that the portion off of Green St be redesigned to accommodate an 82 space surface lot that will offer both hourly and monthly spaces. The regrading of most of the Green Street parking area to match the street will result in a slight change in elevation at the rear entrance of the church and abutting lane, which will permit disabled and emergency access to that facility.
This portion of the parking lot would be for public use and a fee would be charged for both hourly and monthly parkers. There would be no school or arena use unless the patrons paid for their parking.
The rates are proposed to be the same as the Rotary Centre Lot with hourly rates of $2.35, a daily maximum of $9.00 and monthly rates of $81.99 plus tax. Net revenues are estimated to be approximately $75,000 annually. This will be a similar operation as the Rotary Centre site across King St which has been very successful and profitable for the WRDSB and City.
The development costs for this portion of the lot are estimated to be $358,000. No funds have been allocated in the Capital Budget for the development of this lot. For the Green St portion of the lot, it is proposed that the City Parking and WRDSB equally split the development costs. The WRDSB would finance the initial construction and the City's portion of $179,000 would be paid back from the net revenue of the operation of the parking lot. Once the initial capital costs are paid, the net revenue would then be split equally on an annual basis.
Based on these assumptions, we would expect the initial capital construction costs of the Green St portion of the lot to be paid off in approximately 5 years.
The second distinct parking area is that portion off of Glasgow S. This area will accommodate 137 spaces for school usage during the day and allow the Don McLaren patrons free use of this area at nights and weekends. The development costs of this area are estimated to be $322,000 which would be split equally between the City (Community Services) and the WRDSB at $161,000 each. The intent is that Community Services will include this amount in their Capital Budget submission.
It is recognized that the Glasgow St portion of the parking lot will not be developed until 2012
The initial capital expenditure for the development of the Green St portion of the lot will be shared equally between the City Parking and Board and will be recouped from net revenues. The current estimate of net revenue for this facility is approximately $75,000 per year (82 spaces). Under the proposed arrangement, the Board will front-end the improvements, and will receive 100 percent of the annual revenues until the City’s share has been covered. At that point, the parties will resume a 50:50 split of net revenue.
This first phase of the reconstruction which is the Green St portion of the site is estimated at $358,000.
The Glasgow St portion of the lot will not proceed until 2012, is expected to cost $322,000 and be split equally between the City (Community Services) and the Board.
The execution of an agreement will be conditional on the WRDSB agreeing to fund the initial costs of constructing phase one of this project.
COMMUNICATIONS: All improvements to Board property that involve a partnership with the area municipality are subject to the approval of the Minister of Education. The approved documents will be forwarded to the Minister for this purpose. All documents have been developed in consultation with the Board’s legal counsel.
In this day and age, it's kind of ridiculous how we codify how much a parking space costs in a by-law. Let it be determined by demand.