“There’s not enough parking downtown.”
Boy, is that a myth. The truth is, for a long time, downtown Edmonton has been home to too many parking lots — a lot of them unregulated and downright ugly.
Guess how many surface parking lots there are in downtown Edmonton?
How about… 275? That’s right, 275. And most of them are unregulated. There are no permits to govern them. And, because they’re not permitted, many don’t have lighting, paving or landscaping standards.
The City’s Downtown Plan, which came into effect 13 years ago, stated that there should be no more additional surface lots in the core. The idea was that many of these lots would be developed.
But, here we are, still with far more surface parking lots than we need.
The City’s Urban Planning Committee discussed the parking-lot problem this week, and then voted to send the issue back to administration for more brainstorming. They will discuss the parking conundrum again in 2024.
But the frustration from city councillors was clear. There is a clear plan to shrink the number of surface lots, and that’s been in place for more than a decade. But, because that plan doesn’t allow for any new lots to be regulated, more and more of the old lots have slipped into the derelict category. Because enforcement officers are stretched thin, there is no manpower to police the rebel lots. It’s not a single Catch-22, it’s a series of Catch-22s.
And, because of poor economic conditions, it’s not like developers are champing at the bit to transform these parking lots into office or residential towers.