Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

It’s no longer a given that condos will be built with parking spaces. Some downtown buildings, located on good transit routes, only offer bicycle parking.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Do fewer parking spaces mean fewer traffic jams? Some municipal governments think so.

Boston has joined Toronto in issuing building permits to developers of large condominium projects that provide zero parking spaces. A 175-unit luxury condominium project near the TD Garden (where the Boston Bruins play) will not have on-site parking. The developer argued that there's plenty of public transit available – and the city agreed.

We are increasingly seeing more examples of cities with severe traffic problems approving housing developments that discourage or prohibit automobile use. There's another proposed Boston project featuring zero parking spaces in which the developer intends to make tenants sign legal agreements that they don't and won't own a car.

Story continues below advertisement

Toronto's foremost example of anti-car thinking is the 42-storey, 318-unit tower south of Dundas Street on University Avenue. It is the first condo in Toronto to have no residential parking. The developer persuaded the city that purchasers of 750-square-foot downtown condos aren't the kind of people who own or even want to own cars.

Another proposed condo development in Toronto's Beaches neighbourhood created a stir, not by proposing zero parking spots, but by proposing a fairly generous 65 parking spots for the 70-unit condo. In this case, area residents objected that cars from the condo would jam side streets and soak up limited on-street parking spots.

Clearly, there's no "one-size" solution. Many people who slap down a million-plus dollars for a luxury condo wouldn't dream of being without a parking space. On the other hand, dedicated urbanites can definitely survive being car-less by relying on public transit, car-sharing and bicycles.

Bicycles? Well, there's another problem. Let's start with the safety issue.

Ontario's chief coroner reviewed 129 cycling deaths in the province in a four-year period and referenced a European study that found that cyclists are eight times more likely to suffer a fatal injury per kilometre of road travelled compared with occupants of a motor vehicle.

But even bicycles bring about their own parking problems. Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world and cyclists there often have to cruise the streets the way motorists do to look for an empty parking space.

In the Dutch city of about a million people, it is estimated that there can be half-a-million bicycles on the road on any given day but only 200,000 dedicated bicycle parking bays. Irate cyclists have nearly rioted and Amsterdam is going to build 9,000 new bicycle parking spaces near the main train station at a cost of more than €100-million ($146-million).

Story continues below advertisement

Toronto has promised to tackle the bicycle parking shortage, too. There are about 17,000 of the post-and-ring bicycle lock-up stands on sidewalks around the city to which will be added bike corrals, lockers and stations. Bike corrals let bikes park in a small space that otherwise would have been used for cars. Lockers and stations are few and far between and require payment.

Downtown housing units with no parking spaces are becoming the new normal. There's another project proposed at Yonge and Queen with 580 rental suites and 580 bicycle parking spaces – but none for cars.

I read an e-mail from "Guy with bike," who says the bicycle parking in his building consists of a difficult-to-enter rack in a small room – and it is only big enough to accommodate standard-size bikes. "No room for longtails, cargo bikes, trikes or trailers," he complains. As a result, he's storing two bikes and a chariot trailer "in what should be our dining room."

Parking wars aren't being settled; they're just being refocused.

If you have questions about driving or car maintenance, please contact our experts at globedrive@globeandmail.com.

Follow us on Twitter @Globe_Drive.

Story continues below advertisement

Add us to your circles.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies