The future of parking in Langley Township could involve fewer spaces – but more parking for disabled drivers and cyclists.
A report to Township council scheduled for discussion at the Monday, Oct. 18 meeting calls for a reduction in the minimum number of parking spaces for new developments.
Currently, retail outlets, restaurants, and service commercial developments have to provide one parking space for every 20 square meters of floor space inside the building.
For offices and financial institutions, the requirement is for one space for every 28 square meters of floor space.
A review of rules in neighbouring municipalities, and consultation with the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers, found that the Township was requiring more spaces than was standard.
In Monday’s report to council, engineering staff recommended a change:
• Retail, service commercial developments, banks, and offices should create one parking space per 35 square meters of floor space
• Restaurants should remain at one space per 20 square meters of floor space.
The report notes that based on planning for Aldergrove’s downtown core development the change would slash the number of off-street parking stalls required from 1,300 to about 900, a reduction of about 30 per cent.
The report also recommends removing the rule that Fort Langley developments only have to provide 50 per cent of the normal parking levels – instead suggesting a review to develop a new cash-in-lieu option for new Fort developments.
Several councillors had questions about the fact that restaurants were still expected to have the same number of parking spaces as before, with Councillor Bob Long suggesting it shouldn’t be imposed on restaurants.
“I don’t think it’s forward thinking for restaurants,” he said.
Coun. Eric Woodward said he supported reducing parking requirements, but had similar concerns, wondering about what happens when a retail space converts to a restaurant and could require more parking.
Long suggested including restaurants in the one-space per 35 square meters requirement, which was approved by a majority of council.
Overall, council was supportive of reducing parking spots, but had some concerns.
“Metro [Vancouver] itself is trying to get us to reduce the number of parking spots, but then we don’t have the adequate transit that we need for that,” said Coun. Petrina Arnason.
Woodward was also on board with reducing dependency on cars.
“If we design our neighbourhoods for cars, we’re going to get cars,” he said.
The report also recommends more accessible parking stalls, also known as wheelchair spaces. Those spaces are reserved for disabled drivers and passengers, whether they use a wheelchair or have other mobility or health issues.
Right now, bylaws require one accessible parking spot for any lot that has 50 or more spaces, and one additional accessible spot for every 100 more parking spaces.
Other municipalities require at least one stall for a parking lot with even 10 or 12 spaces.
The report also recommends including requirement for bicycle spaces, lockers, and racks, and even “end of trip facilities” in some mixed-use developments, which would include spaces for people to wash up after a bike trip.
Parking requirements in Fort Langley have been set at 50 per cent of the normal levels in the rest of the Township, due to the small area available to build in that downtown core amid a street layout that goes back more than a century.
The first vote on changes to the parking bylaws passed unanimously, but council will have to vote to ratify the changes at a future meeting.
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