Towards Zero Parking: Housing Affordability and Climate Leadership in Williamsville
This stretch of Princess Street, from the Kingston Centre down to Division Street, is one of the City’s most important hubs for new housing development. Known as the Williamsville corridor, this neighbourhood adjacent to downtown is being transformed by housing projects like Unity Point. This week City Council approved some important changes to the planning framework that will guide future development along this corridor to make sure it’s a great place to live, work and play for current and future residents. That means allowing for taller buildings close to the Princess Street hub, but also imposing a limit of six storeys for new buildings along the rest of the corridor.
Another important change is the amount of parking the City requires for new residential developments in this area. Not only does the revised framework reduce the amount of parking spaces required, it provides a route to zero parking. That’s important for two reasons. First, underground parking garages are extremely expensive. Allowing for reduced or zero parking lowers the cost of construction, and that in turn lowers the rent future tenants have to pay. Second, reduced parking encourages residents to walk, cycle or use transit, which are all viable options here in the urban core. The Williamsville corridor is perfectly positioned as a test run for forward thinking policies like this, which in turn could be expanded to other parts of the City in the future. The result will be more housing, better affordability, and a reduced carbon footprint.