Before eliminating on-site parking minimums city-wide, City administration made a number of incremental changes to the Zoning Bylaw parking regulations over the past decade to address specific challenges.

Reducing Barriers for Businesses and Special Events

On Monday November 26, 2018, City Council passed a suite of amendments (Item 3.17) to the Zoning Bylaw that make it easier for new businesses to open, and simpler for residents and businesses to hold short-term special events like community parties and festivals.

Highlights of the changes include:

  • Removing minimum parking requirements for some new businesses opening in existing buildings, saving time and money for business owners
  • Removing the need for minor home-based businesses from requiring a development permit, saving small business owners a $125 startup cost
  • Making it simpler to hold special events on private and public property
  • Creating more opportunities for farmers markets throughout the city

These changes were part of the City’s efforts to be open for business, support the local economy, and encourage Edmonton’s festival city spirit and community gatherings. Taken together, the proposed amendments contribute to a more robust economy and a more vibrant city for all Edmontonians. 

For more information, visit the project page.

Expanding Areas Around Transit to Qualify for Parking Reductions

On September 11, 2017, City Council approved Zoning Bylaw amendments to lower vehicle and bicycle parking requirements for both residential and commercial properties near LRT Stations, Transit Centres, and in main street areas (Item 5.3). This project advanced concurrently with the Main Streets Overlay Review, the Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Review, and is part of the same bylaw package.

Parking Requirements for Low-density Residential Uses

On June 28, 2017 (Item 5.4), City Council approved Zoning Bylaw changes to reduce parking requirements for single-detached housing, semi-detached housing, duplex housing, and mobile homes (excluding Mobile Home Parks) from a minimum of 2 parking spaces to a minimum of 1 parking space. Parking requirements for row housing, secondary suites and garden suites were also set at 1 parking space per dwelling. 

Parking for Religious Assemblies

On March 20, 2017 (Item 3.8), City Council approved changes to establish a context specific on-site parking rate for religious assemblies based on their size (major or minor) and the neighbourhood type where they were located (Central Core, Mature, Established, Industrial or new neighbourhood).

Previously, parking was required at a rate of 1 space for every 4 seats, posing a challenge for Religious Assemblies that did not use seating in their worship space. The seating requirement also did not take into consideration the full footprint of the building, which may include gathering space for large events such as weddings.

A further limitation was that a single rate applied citywide, despite different development patterns and parking rates in different areas of the city. The changes were introduced to address these limitations.

Reducing Barriers to Child Care Services

On May 25, 2016 (Item 3.5), City Council approved Zoning Bylaw changes to reduce barriers to child care services. While the review of these regulations was not specific to parking, parking was identified as a barrier to developing more child care services. 

The previous parking requirements were based on the number of employees and children, not on floor area like most other non-residential uses. This caused issues with permitting because a change to the ages of children in their care, in turn, changed the number of employees required by provincial regulation, and, as a result, the parking requirement would also need to be adjusted.

The Zoning Bylaw changes shifted the parking requirement from employees and children to floor area, aiming to result in the same number of spaces provided. It also allowed pick-up and drop-off spaces to be provided on-street where appropriate. It also allowed a reduced parking rate when adjacent to transit.

Parking for Eating & Drinking Establishments (Pilot Project)

On April 4, 2016 (Item 5.5) City Council approved parking reductions for eating and drinking establishments in 3 areas:

  • Jasper Avenue west of 109 Street
  • Whyte Avenue
  • 124 Street

These changes were made to strengthen the vibrancy and character of Edmonton’s main street areas by encouraging pedestrian activity, and preventing existing buildings from being demolished to meet parking requirements.