Parking at a premium around Evergreen

A rendering of the Coquitlam Centre station for the upcoming Evergreen Line.  - IMAGE SUBMITTED
A rendering of the Coquitlam Centre station for the upcoming Evergreen Line.
— image credit: IMAGE SUBMITTED

Coquitlam residents living near Evergreen Line stations will have less parking available to them at their new homes.

Under a plan city council has yet to formally endorse, city staff suggest keeping the number of residential parking spots for one-bedroom suites to one stall; but for two-bedroom units, parking requirements would drop from the current 1.5 to 1.35 stalls — a reduction of 10%.

The move, as presented to the city's council-in-committee on Monday, comes as the city gears up for the rapid transit line, expected to be running from Lougheed Town Centre to Coquitlam City Centre — via Burquitlam and Port Moody — in four years.

It's also in response to the Metro Vancouver Apartment Parking Study, released this month, that shows there's about a 10% oversupply of residential parking near transit hubs.

Catherine Mohoruk, Coquitlam's transportation planning manager, told the committee ICBC data as well as a city study back that information locally. In the case of Burquitlam/Lougheed, where an Evergreen Line station is planned in front of Burquitlam Plaza on North Road, the parking oversupply is 20%.

Mohoruk said city staff recently looked at 10 sample sites in Burquitlam/Lougheed and found that "if these sites were to be rebuilt today, using current rezoning requirements, in almost all cases, we would be providing too much parking.

"It was recognized what we're seeing is some room for change."

The city study shows vehicle ownership is the lowest in City Centre, Austin/Maillardville and Burquitlam/Lougheed (public transit, income and demographics are factors) while Como/Mundy, Cape Horn and Ranch Park/Riverview have the highest rate of vehicle ownership.

Still, as the city plans to put the squeeze on parking for new developments around Evergreen stations, it also wants to hike the number of public parking spaces — a concept many councillors feel is crucial given poor transit service in the Tri-Cities.

Under staff's proposal, developers building new housing close to Evergreen would be allowed to cut their parking requirements by 5% if they offer public transit incentives to tenants, such as car sharing options and ride passes.

And if developers want even fewer parking spots in their complexes, they could take part in a voluntary cash-in-lieu system, paying $25,000 for every parking spot they were supposed to provide under the zoning bylaw.

In City Centre, where Evergreen will terminate and highrise building is brisk, that program could potentially generate up to $20 million for the municipality over 10 years — money that could be put towards more public parking along Evergreen and pedestrian/cycling facilities, for example.

This summer, city staff will conduct surveys to gauge feedback on the use of city lots, the results of which will be part of a report for council's consideration after the city consults with stakeholders and the Urban Development Institute on its Evergreen parking plans, Mohoruk said.

Meanwhile, commuters looking for a spot to park along Pinetree Way will have to shell out after this summer.

The city is finalizing its contract with a new service provider to reinstall parking metres along Pinetree — specifically, around Douglas College — and to charge 75 cents an hour for on-street parking and at City Centre public lots (City Centre Aquatic Complex, Pinetree community centre and Evergreen Cultural Centre).


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