Proposal to explore parking partnership

In 2013, City Council approved the Core Commitment which outlines a long-term vision for downtown with a series of recommended actions. One of these is to “explore partnerships with the private sector with respect to making public parking available as part of redevelopments (page 18).” The approach has potential benefits, including gradually adding parking spaces to the inventory over time, and providing parking dispersed throughout the downtown,meeting the demand for conveniently located parking.

Recent discussions with a downtown landowner have opened the door to a possible partnership. A prudent approach requires that the City explore the costs, benefits and potential risks associated with such a joint venture. As such, I brought to the March 30 Development & Infrastructure Committee meeting a staff direction to:

“Direct the General Manager of Development & Infrastructure to complete a preliminary evaluation of the feasibility of partnering with a private developer to construct public underground parking in a proposed downtown development. Staff to report back to Council with a financial assessment including the costs per space, impact on the current parking reserve fund and the impact on future parking supply, as well as the legal considerations of any partnership including operating, maintenance and liability .”

Update: This staff direction was approved by committee, and will go to council April 20.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

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  1. Thanks Susan. Good comments. The public parking would be in addition to any parking required for the residential uses. So, no subsidy. The city does not require onsite visitor parking for any downtown development; parking is considered shared. If the city owned/operated the parking at some future point if the city no longer wanted to be in the parking business, they could sell the spaces to a private company.

  2. I was surprised to see the City is going to “explore partnerships with the private sector with respect to making public parking available as part of redevelopments (page 18).”

    A couple of potential problems come to mind:

    My first reaction is that the City would be subsidizing the condo owners and their visitors to have more parking. Would the City be able to give a parking ticket to the condo owners or their visitors if that were to happen?

    I was under the impression that new residential condos downtown don’t have enough parking for the condo owners as it is. I think Burlington currently has an average of 1.7 cars per household. Therefore, ideally, a condo building with 200 condos could use 340 parking spaces before there was anything left for City parking.

    A condo owner, who doesn’t drive, could rent out their own parking spot and let their visitor use the City parking. You would have no way of knowing if we were paying for the condo visitor’s parking.

    If you installed parking meters on the City parking spots, they would still be free parking for the condo owners at night, all weekend and all of December.

    If the City does go ahead with this and later finds out it was a mistake, can we get out of the deal?

    This is just my initial reaction.

What's your take?

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