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Residential parking permits proposed for Calgary multi-residential buildings

Calgary will consider adding residential parking permits for multi-family residents after making them ineligible in the last bylaw update.

The item will come to Friday’s Infrastructure and Planning Committee meeting. There, councillors will review an administration proposal to add a Market Permit option for residents living in buildings four to 20 storeys.

If approved, the bylaw could be presented at the Sept. 13 combined meeting of council.

When the bylaw was updated in January 2021, it excluded permits for large, multi-residential buildings. Residents in these buildings were told they could renew their permits for 2022, but that it wouldn’t be renewed in January 2023.

Changes to the residential parking permit program were made to aid financial sustainability of the system and make better use of street space.

The proposed market permits will range in cost from $75 for suburban areas to $150 in the city centre. Inner city residents would pay $100.

According to a Calgary Parking Authority presentation, the market permit would enable one permit to be made available per dwelling.

Initially, there were discussions to limit it to pre-1945 buildings.

“Subsequent discussions with stakeholders and some Council members have inquired whether this option could be extended to all residents of large buildings,” the administration report read.

The city also said in its report that they want to manage on-street parking demand.

“The market permit considers pricing of surrounding off-street parking options,” the report reads.

“This is to encourage residents to use their off-street parking first, but provide an additional option if space is not available.”

Not solving the problem for everybody: Coun. Wong

Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong said this is a bit more accommodating than it was before.

“Giving them the opportunity to have one stall or one permit for each housing unit is a help but is not necessarily solving the problem for everybody,” Wong said.

He said the presumption is that in multi-family residences you’re talking about apartments or condos with one or two bedrooms. In that scenario, the city is presuming there’s maybe one or two cars.

Where it becomes an issue is if a family with others living at home also own a vehicle.

“Those situations where there are more than two drivers in that place or two cars in a place, it doesn’t help them,” he said.

Wong said the city needs to examine more closely the traffic patterns, needs and expectations of residents living in multi-family areas. He said work was done back in 2017 but the gist was to limit on-street parking to reduce car traffic.

“We need to revisit again that orientation,” he said.

He also said the inequity in pricing is also a concern. But it speaks to a larger diversity in how fairness factors into the city’s parking strategy. Particularly when some inner-city residents are paying for parking, while other communities have no cost at all to park on the street.

“If we’re truly looking at parking as an infrastructure service that allows people to live where they want and move to where they want, we need to find a more much more accurate or fair approach to parking,” Wong said.

If approved, the plan would generate an estimated $500,000 in revenue, according to the city.

Residents would be able to apply for permits in Fall 2022. They can transition to this permit if they already have one.