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LETTER: Lack of parking could drive up congestion around Saanich developments

When I lived in Portland, Ore. there was usually room to park for two hours in the metered spaces beside the downtown streets. Portland has a bylaw which states that buildings have to have enough parking stalls within the building to accommodate the people using the building.

The proposal to redevelop the property in Saanich on the southwest corner of McKenzie and Shelbourne includes 407 rental units and 273 parking stalls (67 parking stalls per 100 residential tenants). There was another proposal to redevelop the University Heights property on the northwest corner of McKenzie and Shelbourne, to include 618 rental units and 396 parking stalls (64 parking stalls per 100 residential tenants). The second development is on hold because of a disagreement between the developer and a major commercial tenant.

Saanich has a Shelbourne Valley Action Plan, which refers to a transportation study drafted in March 2012. The transportation study states that “the Action Plan promotes creating strong, vibrant neighborhoods. Pedestrian and cyclist safety is paramount.” I could not find in the action plan a recommendation about the number of parking stalls which should be built within the building of a large residential development.

If the residents of an apartment building have more than two cars for every three residents, the residents will contribute to traffic while they drive around looking for a place to park. They will park in stalls set aside for people using the commercial part of the building, blocking shoppers coming to the businesses in the building. If people can’t find parking in the building, they will park on the side of the nearby residential streets, making the streets crowded and less friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.

It would benefit people using the Shelbourne corridor if hassle concerning parking were minimized. Does Saanich recommend a certain ratio of in-building parking stalls per 100 residents living in the building? How was the ratio decided upon?

Robert Shepherd

Saanich