The City of Edmonton is about to review parking requirements and there’s a possibility there will eventually be no minimum parking requirements, at least for businesses.
It’s about time. While minimum parking requirements might be needed in residential neighbourhoods, to ensure roads aren’t overcrowded with parked cars, I don’t think they make much sense when dealing with retail and commercial spaces.
“Some people said very clearly it’s a business decision,” Stevenson said. “If a business thinks they can survive without parking, all the power to them. Many people said I wouldn’t go to that business but if they think they can make a go of it, we fully support it. That’s a really big step from where we are now, but it is a way some cities are choosing to deal with minimum parking requirements.
I agree. If a business thinks its customers don’t care about access to parking, they should be able to open in a location with little or no parking. If the end result is that the business fails, because Edmontonians really are as car-obsessed as everyone thinks, so be it.
I’m skeptical the City will actually go as far as eliminating parking requirements, but even reducing them would be a great start. Some businesses, in some areas, really don’t need a minimum number of parking stalls. Bars are a great example.
Why on earth do we have minimum parking requirements for drinking establishments? If we’re serious about trying to reduce instances of drunk driving, making it super easy to drive to and park at a bar — by literally requiring a minimum number of places to put cars — is insane. Luckily, the City seems to be looking seriously at the idea of reducing the parking requirements for eating and drinking establishments.
Neighbourhood convenience stores are another good example. Most of the customers for these stores live within short walking distance and don’t bother to drive to get there. I think of the corner store in my area. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more than a single vehicle in the parking lot at any given time (and I suspect that belongs to the business owner). Essentially no one drives to this business, yet they’re still required to have a parking lot out front. It makes no sense.
I admit, of course, that my example is purely ancedotal, and there are certainly examples of convenience stores that require ample parking. But, again, I think it should be a business decision. If you think you’ll need a lot of parking, choose your location accordingly. If you think you can run a profitable business without any parking, you should have the option to do so.
What do you think? Should Edmonton ease minimum parking requirements, particularly for businesses? Would you patronize a business that doesn’t have parking?