Small car parking studied

Drivers of small vehicles in Red Deer might soon have a place to call their own.

Drivers of small vehicles in Red Deer might soon have a place to call their own.

The city’s municipal planning commission has asked administration to look for developments where some designated stalls for small cars might be appropriate.

It could then relax the minimum parking stall size requirements to allow such a feature, and potentially set the stage for an amendment to Red Deer’s land use bylaw to incorporate small vehicle parking stalls.

The matter came up this week when the commission heard a report from senior planner Tony Lindhout.

He’d researched the practices of other Alberta cities with respect to small car parking, and also their policies concerning reduced parking stall requirements for multi-family buildings in the downtown.

Lindhout said Lethbridge, Edmonton, St. Albert, Fort McMurray, Sherwood Park and Leduc all provide for small vehicle parking in commercial and industrial areas, and in most cases in high-density residential developments as well. Typically, the stalls are 2.4 to 2.6 metres wide and 4.6 to five metres deep.

By comparison, parking stalls in Red Deer must be at least 2.7 metres wide and 5.5 metres deep.

There is no legislative provision for small vehicle stalls in Calgary, Airdrie and Grande Prairie, said Lindhout.

He added that about half the communities he surveyed require fewer parking stalls for downtown multi-family developments than elsewhere.

Lindhout recommended that the proposed new Riverlands direct control district — which is expected to come before city council for approval early next year — be used to test small car parking stalls and reduced minimum parking requirements.

However, Coun. Buck Buchanan wondered if small vehicle parking stalls couldn’t be tested earlier in the new Clearview North subdivision.

Coun. Paul Harris echoed this suggestion, explaining that it would be nice to run a pilot before development in Riverlands proceeds.

“It seems to me that we’d want to run some kind of a pilot before that, so we get it right.”

Lindhout pointed out that the layout for much of Clearview North, including parking areas, has already been approved. But Harris said he’d like the issue raised with the developer anyway.

Ultimately, city staff said they would look into this and other pending developments to see if small car parking could be tested sooner.

The commission voted to table the matter for up to eight weeks to allow this process to occur.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com