Downtown Parking Strategy
The City of Calgary has maintained a comprehensive downtown parking strategy since the late 1960s. The downtown parking strategy within the Calgary Parking Policies document specifies how downtown parking is managed to help reduce traffic congestion. Reducing congestion:
- Supports Calgary's economic productivity,
- Improves quality of life for inner city residents, and
- Reduces the growth in vehicle emissions.
Managing the availability of parking spaces, cost, and turnover encourages people to consider other transportation options, while still providing convenient parking for people when they drive into the downtown area.
Recent Council Approvals
In May 2017, Council approved updates to the strategy based on recommendations developed with input from development and interested parties. Highlights of the updated strategy include:
- Continuing to limit the total amount of parking that can be built for new office towers (1 stall per 140m2 of gross useable floor area), which limits the amount of traffic and congestion entering the downtown, and
- Ending the cash-in-lieu program, which would allow office developers to retain all required parking onsite instead of providing 50 per cent of the stalls in Calgary Parking Authority public parkades.
- In March 2018, Council approved revisions to the Land Use Bylaw to fully implement the updated downtown parking strategy.
Public Engagement and Results
The update was undertaken in response to direction from Council and development industry concerns that the existing strategy does not align with market demands for parking, and may put new downtown office developments at a competitive disadvantage.
To determine if and how the previous strategy should be changed, The City evaluated four different scenarios for the downtown parking strategy. The City engaged multiple interested parties including office developers and building managers, the Downtown Association and the Calgary Parking Authority. The What We Heard report summarizes input from these interested parties and the general public.
The What We Did report highlights several recommended changes to the downtown parking strategy in response to interested party feedback and The City's technical analysis. The recommendations are included in the current strategy (see highlights above).
If developers decide not to retain the full 100% of parking on-site, any funds received from the parking relaxation and projects utilizing these funds will be made available via The City's website.