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185 King St. S., Waterloo (Corner of King and Allen)
#31
I work in Allen Square, across the street from this proposal. Allen Square doesn't have a huge amount of parking either. Not sure of actual numbers for spot count or square footage. .
If our office (which has a somewhat sparse layout), was fully occupied, we'd have on-site parking for less than half of our employees.
We provide parking passes in the Regina Street lot as needed, it's close enough that I haven't heard any major complaints.
Seems like a more efficient use of parking than tieing it to an office, since the City lot spaces are available for evening and weekend use by shoppers and dinners without a pass.
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#32
(06-13-2018, 02:51 PM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: I would say there's just a complete lack of effort on the part of most employers to shift behaviour. I've seen many people toss around numbers of $50K to build a structured parking spot. What's the monthly cost of that, and how many employers offer an equivalent financial incentive for their employees to instead carpool, take transit, bike, or walk? The absolute best effort I've seen was $70/month for those who did not drive. I can't imagine you can buy much real estate or parking for $70/month, but it seems a bit nuts that we will reward drivers with a benefit in the hundreds of dollars per month of value, but will offer nothing to those who remove that cost from the business.

OK, here’s a modest proposal: modify the zoning code to forbid parking as an ancillary use. By that, I mean that if the main use of the property is as offices, there cannot be parking on site. However, parking, including parking structures, would be a permitted use just about anywhere. So a company could buy a property and build an office building, and if they’re worried about the cost of parking, they could buy another property and operate a parking structure on it, open to all, operating at market rates. So there would be no problem with providing as much parking as can pay for itself, but the hidden cost of parking could not be spread around all employees.

Now, I don’t actually agree with this, because I disagree with highly intrusive zoning that goes way beyond regulating externalities and promoting good city planning and gets into micro-managing how property owners use their property. But compared to the parking minima and similar nonsense we have now, I don’t think it looks any worse.

Quite seriously, there isn’t really much point in discussing solutions until parking minima have been abolished. Most employers are probably required to supply excessive parking, so there isn’t much point in tracking who is using it and charging them for it. Once parking minima are gone, employers might start to look at their parking lots as development sites, and that would change the calculation on parking policy pretty significantly: right now the subsidy from non-parkers is really mostly hypothetical, in that even if everybody stopped driving the company couldn’t actually do anything different with the parking lot. Without parking minima, a reduction in parking would translate into extremely valuable land becoming available for development.
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#33
In some ways that makes sense, but I would suggest that Sun Life has not changed the size of their building in ages, but they have gone and increased their parking time and time again. They will tell you they had to, but I doubt they would tell you the cost of building a parking structure, or buying and demolishing houses to get a few surface spots, or busing employees in from parking lots farther afield, and compare it to how much they offer employees who are willing to not drive their own car to work.
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#34
(06-13-2018, 02:51 PM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: I would say there's just a complete lack of effort on the part of most employers to shift behaviour. I've seen many people toss around numbers of $50K to build a structured parking spot. What's the monthly cost of that, and how many employers offer an equivalent financial incentive for their employees to instead carpool, take transit, bike, or walk? The absolute best effort I've seen was $70/month for those who did not drive. I can't imagine you can buy much real estate or parking for $70/month, but it seems a bit nuts that we will reward drivers with a benefit in the hundreds of dollars per month of value, but will offer nothing to those who remove that cost from the business.

The benefit to the drivers, in our case, is $155/month, the cost of parking in the Charles/Benton garage. There are a few challenges with declining this option and getting a credit instead, whether $70 or something different. The first is getting this approved at the corporate level, as our local office is not in control of employee benefits. The second is that many people who bike or walk to work still drive in inclement weather, and we would need to figure out how to enable them to do that (daily parking in the same garage is $14.50, which adds up quickly).

(We do, however, provide secure bicycle parking in the building as well, which is also worth something).

The reality is that as an employer you do need to provide parking as most people do drive. Supporting alternatives is something we need to do, but it's not trivial to enable that today yet.
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#35
(06-13-2018, 04:50 PM)Viewfromthe42 Wrote: In some ways that makes sense, but I would suggest that Sun Life has not changed the size of their building in ages, but they have gone and increased their parking time and time again. They will tell you they had to, but I doubt they would tell you the cost of building a parking structure, or buying and demolishing houses to get a few surface spots, or busing employees in from parking lots farther afield, and compare it to how much they offer employees who are willing to not drive their own car to work.

The building has not changed, but the occupancy has increased significantly over the years: the seating is increasingly dense now, compared to what it was 40 years ago.
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#36
With regards to parking, will the cities/region start pushing/forcing developers to incorporate less parking in projects that are RIGHT NEXT TO LRT?
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#37
(06-14-2018, 09:00 AM)Spokes Wrote: With regards to parking, will the cities/region start pushing/forcing developers to incorporate less parking in projects that are RIGHT NEXT TO LRT?

How about they start by abolishing parking minima? It’s ridiculous to go from a minimum to a maximum in one step. It’s an implicit admission that the planners don’t know what they’re doing, without the natural follow-on response of having them do less. The right approach is to say “we realized parking minima are stupid, so we’re eliminating them. Also, we’re going to re-think what other parts of the zoning code are pointless and unjustifiable infringements on the rights of citizens to use their property as they wish.”

Remember, almost all of the best parts of our cities were built before zoning.
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#38
Tom, one option to support cyclists in inclement weather might be bus tickets (or a fare card that the corporation replenishes, once they're widely available). I worked at one very flexible employer who bent over backwards once I gave up my parking pass. They bought me monthly bus passes in the winter (which were somewhere around 60% the cost of parking in their area) and would let me expense tickets for the months I rode more than not.

It would be great if such stipends for active transportation weren't considered taxable benefits. Everywhere I've worked that has to report parking as a line item for individuals, the people have complained about it being a taxable benefit. Making alternatives more appealing through reduced taxation may be an incentive for some to switch.
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#39
(06-14-2018, 11:02 AM)robdrimmie Wrote: Tom, one option to support cyclists in inclement weather might be bus tickets (or a fare card that the corporation replenishes, once they're widely available). I worked at one very flexible employer who bent over backwards once I gave up my parking pass. They bought me monthly bus passes in the winter (which were somewhere around 60% the cost of parking in their area) and would let me expense tickets for the months I rode more than not.

The University of California Irvine has a system where you can opt for part-time parking as a benefit: you get a scratch card which works for, say, 30 days a year or something. (They also have much less inclement weather and also many faculty who live in Irvine housing). Flexible solutions which make parking more expensive are possible and probably a win over today's situation.

(06-14-2018, 11:02 AM)robdrimmie Wrote: It would be great if such stipends for active transportation weren't considered taxable benefits. Everywhere I've worked that has to report parking as a line item for individuals, the people have complained about it being a taxable benefit. Making alternatives more appealing through reduced taxation may be an incentive for some to switch.

Yes, although it might be hard to have the stipend not a taxable benefit in a world where parking is required to be a taxable benefit. A group deal on transit might be not a benefit, but deciding things like that is not my expertise.
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#40
(06-14-2018, 11:02 AM)robdrimmie Wrote: Tom, one option to support cyclists in inclement weather might be bus tickets (or a fare card that the corporation replenishes, once they're widely available). I worked at one very flexible employer who bent over backwards once I gave up my parking pass. They bought me monthly bus passes in the winter (which were somewhere around 60% the cost of parking in their area) and  would let me expense tickets for the months I rode more than not.

It would be great if such stipends for active transportation weren't considered taxable benefits. Everywhere I've worked that has to report parking as a line item for individuals, the people have complained about it being a taxable benefit. Making alternatives more appealing through reduced taxation may be an incentive for some to switch.

Those are good ideas. Ideally there would be a solution that would cover all modes that don't require parking: bicycling, walking, transit, carpooling etc. And one that would be readily accepted/implemented by corporate HR departments.

As for making parking more expensive for employees, that's a disincentive for many people to work at the company, so I don't think many companies would move in that direction.
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#41
I wonder if some of the perceived need for parking is tied to the relative flexibility of the employment world. You could be happily working in one office, close to transit, only to have your office moved elsewhere in the City to a transit desert, or a place where transit exists but not convenient for you. You might also discover that your office/work unit gets transferred to another city altogether with the expectation that you can drive there from where you live. This could especially be a challenge if you have somewhat settled in your housing unit of choice for a variety of reasons.
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#42
(06-18-2018, 11:58 AM)nms Wrote: I wonder if some of the perceived need for parking is tied to the relative flexibility of the employment world.  You could be happily working in one office, close to transit, only to have your office moved elsewhere in the City to a transit desert, or a place where transit exists but not convenient for you.  You might also discover that your office/work unit gets transferred to another city altogether with the expectation that you can drive there from where you live.  This could especially be a challenge if you have somewhat settled in your housing unit of choice for a variety of reasons.

Professors are notorious for wanting parking and it's not a super high flexibility job. But yes, your reasoning is probably part of it. If I got moved to a place that I couldn't easily get to, I'd change jobs. But that takes even more flexibility.
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#43
(06-14-2018, 05:40 PM)tomh009 Wrote: As for making parking more expensive for employees, that's a disincentive for many people to work at the company, so I don't think many companies would move in that direction.

I'm with you on that.  In bigger cities (with a better established transit system) it might make sense but we're not quite there yet.
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