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City of Vancouver Parking By-Law – A Recital of Sustainable Parking Policies


Parking policies are an important component of contemporary travel demand management policies. North American parking policies have traditionally been developed as a means of simply accommodating traffic demand, with little or no effort made to identify how such strategies might relate to other urban transportation objectives. These types of policies are also not generally supportive of urban sustainability goals, which seek to reduce reliance on private car usage. However, the City of Vancouver is leading the way in creating parking policies that support environmental sustainability and transportation goals, particularly mode split targets. The City of Vancouver Parking By-Law is a significant factor in supporting the overall Transportation targets that make Vancouver one of the most liveable cities in the world. This has helped Vancouver to achieve its goal of zero growth in automobile traffic entering the city. In fact, Vancouver is one of the few cities in North America where the amount of automobile traffic has actually decreased in the last decade. This paper reviews how the City of Vancouver Parking By-Law has continuously been updated over the last two decades to encourage sustainable modes of transportation and set parking standards that supports targets of reduced auto use. The paper explores the evolution of City of Vancouver policy and Parking By-Law including design changes, incremental updates, emerging transportation modes and economic influences. The City of Vancouver Parking By-Law includes standards for residential and commercial developments for both automobile and bicycle parking. The vehicle parking standard for downtown Vancouver and for some other parts of the City includes not only minimum requirements, but also maximum standards to ensure that the parking spaces are not over provided. The Parking By-Law also includes provisions for disabled parking, car-share spaces and electrical outlets for electric assisted bicycles. This paper presents some case studies where various sustainable modes of transportation were encouraged by requiring provision of car-sharing vehicles more bicycle parking and by applying maximum parking ceilings while reducing minimum parking requirements. There will also be an overview of recent Vancouver Charter changes. These changes allow the City of Vancouver to continue to encourage sustainable modes of transportation by further reducing minimum parking requirements, or in some cases eliminating parking requirements altogether, through payment-in-lieu for required parking spaces .This paper also identifies current initiatives of City staff for future parking policy changes.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Wali Memon