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Changes to business parking requirements

Parking shapes how our communities are designed and influences how people live, work, and move around. Changes to the Land Use Bylaw approved by Council on Nov. 2 mean businesses can now tell The City how much parking makes sense for them. This provides relief to businesses, creates walkable and attractive communities and supports Calgary’s climate goals.

Business parking update

The updates to the bylaw are in progress and will soon be available at www.calgary.ca/lub. If you currently have a Development Permit of Land Use Amendment under review, please contact your file manager to discuss how this change may impact your application.

About business parking

The City of Calgary has removed minimum parking requirements for non-residential uses from the Land Use Bylaw. This means Businesses will now tell The City how much parking makes sense for them. This change recognizes the changing needs of Calgarians, supports Calgary’s comeback and creates a stronger alignment between the Bylaw and overarching city-wide policy documents. 

Parking minimums in the Bylaw can result in an over-supply of parking for different uses in varying locations throughout the city because the parking minimums required exceed the real demand for parking. Eliminating vehicle parking minimums for certain uses citywide enables those who are most familiar with their own parking needs to determine the amount supplied. Known as “Open Option Parking”, this method of deregulating parking minimums for all uses was approved on a citywide basis by The City of Edmonton on 2020 June 23 (Charter Bylaw 19275).

This change:

  • Allows businesses and developers to advise how much parking makes sense for their development
  • Decreases indirect parking costs that would be passed onto consumers, businesses and tenants
  • Creates an urban form that encourages walking, cycling and transit
  • Enables spaces to be designed for people rather than for vehicles
  • Encourages more active modes of transportation over driving
  • Aligns with Calgary’s Climate Resilience Strategy

Important links

Frequently asked questions

Does this mean that there will be no parking provided for businesses?

Eliminating minimum parking requirements does not mean that there will be no parking, rather it allows a developer or business owner to determine their own parking needs and adjust their application accordingly. Businesses or developments that still see a need to provide parking will do so in order to ensure their operations are successful.

What happens when there is spillover parking in residential areas?

Administration has established clear policies around the regulation of on-street parking and the use of paid parking in commercial areas as part of Calgary Parking Policies (Council Policy TP017).

Work is underway to establish policies for residential on-street parking; this work is anticipated to be brought forth to Council on 2020 November 02. In combination, these policies would provide the framework that would enable on-street parking to respond to changing parking demands that could be generated from developments that choose to not provide parking.

Will there be additional bicycle parking?

Bicycle parking will be provided based on the current requirements, however a review of these requirements to support elimination of parking minimums will be considered as part of the next phase of amendments.

How does this support businesses and development during Calgary’s economic recovery?

Minimum parking requirements are one of the most frequently cited concerns heard from developers, communities and Council over the past ten years. Meeting current on-site parking requirements has a significant impact not only on the cost of development, but also on built form outcomes and the ability to achieve high-quality urban design, pedestrian-friendly and accessible streetscapes, and affordable development.

What happens if a new development decides to build without parking?

Businesses are aware that their success hinges on patrons being able to get to their stores. There will be situations where businesses can rely on alternative modes of transportation including transit, walking and cycling, as well as on-street parking options. The proposed amendments will enable those who are most familiar with their own parking needs to determine the amount supplied.

Why is the elimination of parking requirements only being proposed for businesses?

City Staff considered eliminating all parking minimums, however at this time is only proposing to eliminate parking minimums for commercial uses to ensure a speedy approach for businesses, new development and investment.

More time would be needed to ensure mitigation strategies are in place and effective in order to be confident in proposing the elimination of parking minimums for residential and other uses. For the purposes of this project, administration will be looking at the removal of minimum parking requirements from the Bylaw for all non-residential uses.

What is the relationship between removing parking minimums and an on-street parking program?

On-street parking programs directly benefit business owners by providing supplemental, or sometimes the only parking spaces that can be managed to achieve a high customer turnover. City Staff has established clear policies around the regulation of on-street parking and the use of pricing in commercial areas as part of Calgary Parking Policies (Council Policy TP017).

Work is underway to establish policies for residential on-street parking; this work is anticipated to be brought to Council in early 2021. In combination, these policies would provide the framework that would enable on-street parking to respond to changing parking demands that could be generated from developments that chose to not provide parking.

How will this link with the renewed Land Use Bylaw?

As part of ongoing efforts to better support businesses, communities and to increase efficiencies, Administration has been directed to undertake a Land Use Bylaw renewal (City Planning and Policy 2020 Workplan PUD2020-0016).

A scoping report for this work will be brought to Council at the time the Guidebook for Great Communities is brought forward for approval (anticipated early 2021). Part of the scoping report will identify how Administration will address and review parking requirements as a whole. As a result of the recommendations in TT2019-1554 (Parking Requirements Review – Scoping Report), current studies that are underway will also help inform this report.

Businesses and Developers

How will barrier free parking stalls be supplied?

Barrier free parking is regulated by the Alberta Building Code, and is a requirement for all new buildings. In the case of a change of use, barrier free parking stalls may not be required based on existing conditions on site. If the building has any obstructions such as stairs leading into the building or lack of curb ramps and the required space for a landing from the parking lot, then the barrier free parking requirement would be waived.

In terms of process, applicants will be able to review requirements in the Alberta Building Code. Further, with the review of a Development Permit, the application would be circulated to Calgary Building Services for review and comment, at which point any requirement for barrier free parking stalls would be identified. At this time the applicant can provide revised drawings showing the number of required stalls on the site plan if none are provided.

How will these amendments impact Direct Control (DC) Districts?

The proposed amendment will apply to DC Districts that reference Bylaw 1P2007 “as it changes from time to time”, which make up the majority of DC Districts that have been approved since the adoption of Bylaw 1P2007 in 2008. For those DC Districts that reference Bylaw 2P80, the proposed amendment will not apply.

How will this change impact developers or businesses that currently have a project under review?

Applicants should contact their file manager to discuss to their application and any impacts this change might have.

Who can I find out more information on the land use bylaw change?

You can learn more about the land use bylaw at calgary.ca/lub