Comment 101523

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted May 22, 2014 at 09:48:54 in reply to Comment 101513

It is certainly possible that if Hamilton downtown really sees a boom in development the demand for parking will eventually rise. But with the lowest parking rates of any downtown in the country (and a monthly rate just over half a bus pass) and low occupancy even at these low prices it is clear we have had a parking glut for decades (and a correspondingly under performing downtown).

Keeping all those surface lots actually helps reduce development because keeping land as surface parking has very low carrying costs which encourages owners (including apparently the City, according to Councillor Clark) to act as long-term land speculators rather than developers.

If the demand for parking eventually rises (and supply drops), the price should rise to the point where underground parking or parking garages make sense. That is simple economics. The only parking allowed should be street parking, parking garages, underground parking, or possibly parking behind the building. And we should reduce or eliminate parking requirements for new development (which increases the cost). Some American cities now have maximum parking requirements, not minimum requirements. There is no need to "protect" surface parking which has done so much to stunt Hamilton's downtown economy.

And, as they've seen in Vancouver, massive development, if it is mixed use and supported by good non-driving options, can even lead to a reduction in demand for parking. The lesson from Vancouver is more residents, more businesses and more attractions (and fewer surface parking lots) can actually reduce the demand for parking.

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