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Multi-Family Residential Parking Study

Project Background 

Council included funding for a “Multi-Family Residential Parking Study” in the Town’s 2019 budget. The purpose of the study was to measure the number of parking spaces in apartment buildings (rental and condominium) in different areas of Sidney and how that parking is used. In April of 2019 the Town hired Watt Consulting Group (WCG) to conduct this study and it was completed in late July 2019.

The project was intended to measure the following:

  1. How many parking spaces the average apartment building has available.
  2. How many parking spaces are used by the average resident of the apartment buildings.
  3. Whether the Town’s Parking Bylaw requires too much or too little parking for apartment buildings in Sidney.
  4. What factors influence parking demand. For example, number of bedrooms, rental vs. owned, building age, and location.

The project tracked 34 apartment buildings within Sidney that represented a broad range factors such as location, ownership status and proximity to services. Of the 34 buildings, 7 were rental and 27 were condo buildings. These buildings house a combined 739 dwelling units and 836 parking spaces. The parking spaces alone for these 34 buildings equals 3.2 acres of parking, not including driveways and access aisles.

WCG staff conducted observations two separate weekday nights when parking utilization is at its peak (i.e. when most residents are at home). To validate the observations, building managers and strata representatives were contacted and requested to provide additional information on parking usage and trends within their respective buildings. To account for residents who may have been away during the count, an adjustment factor was applied to the results (i.e. the count was assumed to be low, and was increased upwards by 22%).

Study Findings

Observations and interviews concluded in early June with the following results:

  • The average apartment building in the study has 1.12 parking spaces per dwelling unit
  • The average dwelling unit in the study has 0.95 vehicles per unit (i.e. slightly less than one vehicle per unit)
  • 87% of all parking spaces in the study are actually occupied by a vehicle.
  • The study estimates an oversupply of parking of 22% for all buildings in the study. The oversupply rate ranged from 32% (buildings constructed between 1980-90) to 11% (2010-2015)
  • The study concluded that studio and 1-bedroom dwelling units have, on average, less than one vehicle per unit
  • Parking use between condominium and rental apartment buildings is significantly different, with an average of 0.97 vehicles per unit in condos and 0.86 vehicles per unit in rental buildings
  • A higher level of “walkability” (i.e. ease of access to nearby amenities and services on foot) reduces demand for parking

The findings of the study suggest that Sidney’s Parking Bylaw (which requires one parking space per dwelling unit for apartment buildings) is generally meeting the demand for parking spaces. Furthermore, given the Town’s policy goals to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, decrease water runoff from surface parking, increase transportation choices and increase access to affordable housing, maintaining current parking requirements of 1 space per unit for apartment buildings would support these goals.

The Town would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all those strata councils and building owners who were kind enough to offer their cooperation and time to make this study a success. Your assistance was greatly appreciated!

Review the Study

Click here or on the report image below to review the study results.

Multi-Family Residential Parking Study Report Image

Council considered the study and a background staff report at the September 3, 2019 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Contact Information

For further information on this study, please contact:
Corey Newcomb, Senior Manager of Long Range Planning