How Much Excess Parking Capacity Is Needed?

Typical parking supply and demand on Laurier Blvd.

It’s somewhat absurd to complain about free street parking being reduced from an oversupply of 20x maximum observed demand down to 10x. Yet that’s the core of the anti-laners’ grievance on Laurier Blvd.    

Laurier Blvd is designated in the City’s Official Plan as a primary segment of Brockville’s cycling network. Laurier is a two-lane, low-speed residential road on a four-lane wide road corridor, carrying an average of 6,000 motorized vehicles per day.  That’s about 30% of the full carrying capacity of the street.

In the cycling network, Laurier is a key east-west route for neighbourhoods north of the 401, linking them to work, schools, shopping and the Brock Trail route to downtown and the waterfront.

According to residents, there’s parking for about 260 cars where permitted between Briarwood and Stewart, using the two curb lanes. In the Spring and early Summer of 2016, several dozen spot surveys were done at different times of the day and days of the week by a City committee. The maximum number of parked cars counted was 13. That’s 5% of capacity. Bike lanes on Laurier would reduce the parking such that, at maximum observed demand,  10% would be used – 90% of parking would remain vacant at peak times. A handful of residents say that reducing parking from 247 never-needed, never-used spaces to 117 never-needed, never-used spaces is an intolerable imposition on residents, many of whom have double garages and double-width driveways.

Residents’ concerns need to be heard and addressed when City plans might hold potential negative impact for a few in order to better serve the City as a whole. Other times, they need to be called out for what they are and let’s get on with the job.

Author: Alan Medcalf

Alan is a post-corporate, volunteer, community builder living in Brockville, Ontario. He seeks to create sustainable lifestyle advantage for the community by creating opportunities for more people to choose to walk and to ride bikes. He promotes the health, social, environmental and economic benefits of active mobility.