re: 838 Broadview
The Community has identified 2 major issues through consultations with developers and the City around the development of 838 Broadview.
1. Broadview/Pretoria as a chokepoint for egress to community north of the Danforth/West of Broadview
2. Competition for parking spaces between non-residents and permit holding residents.
The acquistion of 838 Broadview by the Toronto Parking Authority is not expected to yield any significant improvements for the residents or business community. The issues identified will continue to exist irregardless of ownership change and may increase depending on what the TPA intends to do with the property. The Broadview Avenue Planning Study (BAPS) is silent in regards to a solution for the site specific issues identified by the community while the City’s Mid-Rise Guidelines when applied to the 838 site create outcomes that oppose some of the fundamental objectives of the Mid-Rise Guidelines.
Development possibilities are limited due to the site’s size and location. It is highly unlikely that a public underground parking garage can ever be created on the site so expansion of the parking capacity can only be accomplished by razing the building to turn the entire site into a surface lot. A surface parking lot is not in the interest of the community nor does it align with the densification objectives of the BAPS. Development options become more realistic if properties to the north of 838 Broadview are also acquired enabling public access to an underground parking garage via a ramp from Broadview avenue.
It is recommended that the acquisition of 838 Broadview come with conditions that ensure the site is developed by the TPA in accordance with the BAPS and the City’s Mid-Rise Guidelines modified to address the site specific concerns raised by the community or remain ‘as-is”. The option of enlarging the parking lot by razing the current building should be disallowed.
An option to remove free on-street parking in favour of TPA managed metered pay and display should be examined.
1. The City’s Mid-Rise Guidelines identify the flanking street (Pretoria) to the avenue for service access to 838 Broadview. However the intersection of Broadview and Pretoria is the only two-way street access for thousands of residents who live to the north of Danforth and West of Broadview. Further it is the main route for these residents’ children using the traffic lights and crossing guard heading to Jackman school. The community identified pedestrian/vehicle and vehicle blockage conflicts for:
residents egress to underground parking
solid waste pickup
“quick stop” parking for deliveries ie pizza, courier etc
large delivery parking ie moving trucks, appliance delivery, tradesmen
Throughout the public consultations and further focused stakeholder meetings these points were identified and discussed however no solution was offered having guided the developer to design a building with service access from the flanking street. Broadview access was rejected on the grounds of proximity to TTC stop and the objective of developing a safe pedestrian environment on Broadview (at the expense of the well used Pretoria pedestrian use). Whether 838 is owned by a developer or the TPA, any new development proposal will be evaluated by the community for its impact on the pedestrian/vehicle conflicts and likelihood to create traffic blockage at the Broadview/Pretoria intersection.
2. Residents have identified parking as an issue which they are sensitive to. Permit holders are concerned that new developments along Broadview under the BAPS will increase competition for open spots. To characterize this is a simple parking supply and demand issue does not lead us to a better situation.
There are 4 types of parking with different supply/demand and competition for each:
– paid resident permit on-street parking
– paid off-street Green P parking
– free on-street parking
– private underground parking garages or resident owned parking
Residents are most sensitive to the supply of on-street permit parking which also serves as free on-street parking during certain hours. Non-residents will always choose free parking over paid parking therefore as long as free parking is supplied by the city, the residents will continue to compete and complain about lack of parking. Meanwhile the capacity of paid parking remains ample. As part of the development process The City conducted a parking study of the paid parking capacity to find that 23 out 24 hours of the day there was a surplus of paid parking.
Purchasing 838 Broadview will do nothing to expand free parking or permit parking supply, that is not what the TPA does. In fact quite the opposite. The current parking lot at 838 provides free parking for 11 business patrons. These spaces will become paid parking pushing any previous free users to compete for free on-street parking before they seek paid parking. This makes for a worse situation than when the TPA doesn’t own the property. This begs the question as to why the TPA is willing to commit resources to supplying more paid parking.
Perhaps the TPA will try to make the case that parking is good for local business. This is a weak arguement that is not supported with evidence. A recent study of the Danforth business area demonstrated that merchants over estimate the number of their patrons that drive vs walk. (http://www.tcat.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Danforth_Final_Edit-compressed.pdf). Walkers visit more often and spend more money than drivers. It is expected that a survey of people parking in the area would find that most were City Adult Learning Centre students, commuters who switch to the subway none of which spend any money locally. The TPA has yet to provide any evidence that this lot will support the BIA. Given the evidence if the TPA sincerely focused its efforts on supporting the BIA it would invest in making the community more walkable instead of providing parking.
The TPA says they will retain the buildings and “operate the ancillary parking area as municipal parking until such time it is determined that the site is ready to redeveloped into a surface carpark”. Who does this determining? The City? The TPA? Further how would razing a building and the two businesses it hosted to create a surface carpark quality as “development”?
At no point in the Broadview Avenue planning study did anyone identify reducing density to zero as an objective. Residents have embraced the City’s Official Plan (avenues and mid-rise) increasing density as an opportunity to re-vision and re-invigorate Broadview Avenue. There is an expectation that development investment will yield a vibrant area much like the best parts of the Danforth is now. However a surface car park doesn’t fit into the BAPS densification objectives and 838 Broadview is not big enough for the development of an public underground garage (remember the site requires vehicle elevators?) so why is the TPA proposing this?
If the TPA hopes that by taking a real estate investment position in 838 for future potential development (not a surface lot but an actual building) then it must plan further real estate acquisitions to the north of 838 Broadview. The TPA will need to create a large enough parcel of land to enable a public access parking garage with a ramp from Broadview avenue.
It has been suggested that the best strategy to mitigate the competition between resident paid permit parking and non-resident free parking is to eliminate the free parking in favour of the TPA managing and supplying both on-street and off-street parking. Residents with permits could choose on-street or off-street while non-residents would pay and display on both on-street and off-street. This would create a level playing field without any subsidy distortions against residents while also ensuring we have a clear understanding of the true supply and demand. In other words, parking management might be best supplied by the TPA without the $3 million in capital acquisition costs.