Parking isn’t always something that comes to mind when searching for a new home in Calgary. It generally isn’t even listed as an amenity in a new home community. Parking is almost always considered a given, and only becomes an essential amenity when it isn’t available or is restricted in some way.
However, recent policy changes in Calgary may be about to increase the importance of being able to park in front of your home.
Parking in Calgary New Home Communities
In new home communities, parking (both on and off-site) is one of the first things considered. When planning a new community, residential developers start by applying the rules set by each municipality for the number of parking stalls required for each home.
The number and types of parking required are determined by the type of property—single-family detached, or multi-family—as well as the municipality’s development guidelines.
How this works in practice is that typically communities with a front drive will look at providing four parking spaces per home – two garages and two driveway spots. Multi-family developments not only need to provide parking to their residents but also a certain number of guest parking spots.
Off-site residential parking is a little trickier. When planning a new home community, developers will lay out the roads and determine the amount of traffic on each road before any decision can be made about on-street parking. If the city decides a road is too busy, then parking on the side of the road will not be permitted. This means if you choose a home in this location, you’ll need to ensure you have enough parking for all the vehicles your family owns on your property or look at other alternatives.
Parking Planning in Calgary
According to The City of Calgary’s Residential Parking Program, their goal is to “provide easier access to on-street parking to those who live in an area while providing some additional regulations for general visitors to the area.” When planning, they’re looking at ways to make parking readily available for residents, visitors, and businesses that provide services to homes.
It’s important to keep in mind that “on-street parking is a public asset intended for public use.” Often homeowners wrongly assume that the on-street parking in front of their homes is for their exclusive use. This means that if you buy a home in a cul-de-sac, you’ll be sharing the limited on-street parking with your neighbours and their guests.
Changes to Calgary’s Residential Parking Program
In an effort to increase the financial sustainability of Calgary’s residential parking program and to better use street space, parking permit eligibility changes are coming. A decision was made by the previous city council in January 2021 to overhaul the city’s parking policies.
As of January 1, 2023, multi-residential dwellings that are four stories or taller or with more than 20 dwelling units are no longer eligible for parking permits. The exception is buildings built before 1945, where residents will be eligible to apply for a maximum of one permit.
For homeowners still eligible, their first permit will be free of charge. Each second and third permit will cost $15 when the fees come into effect in 2023.
The biggest impact of these changes will be felt by multi-family buildings in the inner-city where there are parking zones surrounding the building. Already, it is causing some homebuyers to reconsider where they want to live.
Whether you’re in the inner-city or suburban areas, a lot of people park for free in front of their homes. But before you buy your next home, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what parking options are available to you to avoid any surprises.