Letters & Opinion

Zero on-site parking is bad for Sandy Hill


Michael Barnes


City urban planning in Ottawa often fails its urban residents and rewards developers who construct residential apartments that too often do not meet the minimum requirements for parking, building height, building setbacks, etc. City planners tend to consider each development application in isolation, and the cumulative impact of developments is often not a concern. Some might say, “they can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Look at two approved development proposals within less than a block of the intersection of Wilbrod and Friel, for example. City council approved a low-rise apartment building with 40 dwelling units at 326-330 Wilbrod St. The minimum parking requirement was 14 spaces. The developer will provide zero residential parking spaces. The south side of Wilbrod is a dedicated bicycle lane. Further, Francojeunesse School — Kindergarten Pavillion, located on the north side of Wilbrod Street across from the development, has very restricted parking conditions. Only four on-street parking spots exist on that entire block. Even so, residents with cars at 326-330 Wilbrod St. can apply for street permit parking, off-loading their parking needs onto the community for the decades to come.

The second example is the development at 280 Laurier Ave. East, which is across the street from Starbucks. City Council approved an infill addition of 19 dwelling units. But here is the challenge: the infill development will eliminate all 10 parking spaces currently available at the existing six-floor residential apartment building on the same lot. This will make a total of about 70 units (the developer has not provided the exact number), and the developer will not provide a single space for residents, visitors, service providers or delivery services. The developer wins and residents lose once again.

The building that housed the daycare at 300 Wilbrod St. will be demolished following a fire last fall. It is expected that another residential building with 70 dwelling units will be built with zero parking spaces.

These three developments with 180 dwelling units less than 75 meters from Wilbrod at Friel provide ZERO residential parking spaces.

Imagine a developer building 100 homes in the suburbs with zero parking and letting residents park on the street. City councillors from the suburbs and rural Ottawa would flip their lids! But the city planners, city council, and developers say it’s OK to do so in Sandy Hill.

Zero residential parking is bad for Sandy Hill residents, and perhaps one day city council will realize it!