April 16, 2012
We’re currently in the market for a new place to live. We have a rental condo and are looking to either purchase a condo or build an infill somewhat near downtown. We like walking to work, and we like the atmosphere of downtown living.
The hottest new project in Calgary is the East Village [http://www.evexperience.com/]. We stopped in on the weekend and had a great talk with the developers of the first two condos going up: Evolution [http://www.evolutioncalgary.com/] and First [http://www.thenewcalgary.com/calgary-condos/first/].
They both had some cool layouts, decent prices, and it looks like the projects are going to end up being pretty great. At the end of each discussion I asked how many parking spots we got with the condo purchase and both said the same thing: 1. We have two cars, one is a sedan and I use it to drive to work and around town, the other is a wagon that we use for ski trips, camping trips, etc. We need two parking spots for our cars. First said that we MIGHT be able to get a second spot, for $20k, and that it would be a tandem with one car in front of the other. That would be a massive pain in the butt. Evolution said that they couldn’t guarantee an extra spot at all but that there might be one available for purchase once all condos were sold.
There is a bylaw in Calgary stating that downtown condos can have a maximum of 0.85 parking spaces per unit. This means that some units get 0 spots and the rest get 1. This is completely unacceptable for some purchasers and will end up driving them to the suburbs instead, adding to the traffic problem that this bylaw was probably intending to reduce.
People that live downtown:
It just seems backwards to push people into houses which defeats the purpose of this bylaw. In my opinion, everything possible should be done to encourage people to live in higher density areas like condos. This regulation does the opposite.
I heard one reason that they can’t have more is because people might rent them to people commuting to downtown. An easy solution to that is to disallow the rental of a parking space in a building that you aren’t a resident. Similar to how you can’t park on a street that you don’t live on in some neighbourhoods.
I honestly can’t see a reason why this law should exist. Can somebody explain it to me? All I know is that my choice is now simple and that I will be going the infill route and contributing to Calgary’s traffic issues like the rest of the city.
Written by Mike Cousins who lives and works in Calgary building useful things. You should follow him on Twitter