This Week At City Hall: In Which Parking Nearly Breaks My Spirit

Wednesday, July 14
REGINA PLANNING COMMISSION (4 pm): Considering an application to build an apartment block at 1129 15th Ave. This will be going up on a lot on Montreal St next to a cool little retail strip which includes Hemp Haven. There are also two retail-looking buildings just to the north that, based off Google Street View (I haven’t been down this far on 15th, ever), seem to have been repurposed for something (like, maybe, residential, even). Anyway, the apartment looks pretty nice in the plans and the added residents in the neighbourhood could revitalize the retail thereabouts. Sounds like a great idea so naturally, current residents are writing in to say… oh for crying out loud… they’re complaining about the effect of the apartment on on-street parking.

How much frickin’ time is wasted at city hall puttering about on parking issues?

You know… I’m thinking, all this municipal brainpower exerted on the accommodation and facilitation of parking has to be counted as yet another hidden subsidy for the auto industry. And I’m starting to begrudge having to spend minutes of my life every week reading the endless paragraphs on the subject that turn up in every frickin’ city hall report.

Here’s the deal: just because you can afford to buy a car (or three) does not mean you have a Crown-protected right to park it any old place you please. Maybe if parking is becoming a problem it’s because we need a few fewer cars and not more fucking parking!

Grrr…… Look, kid had me up before dawn today. I do not need to be provoked by people’s goddamn parking troubles.

Next up, a restaurant wants to open in a vacant commercial space at 917 11th Ave. That’s just down the street from the Ukrainian Co-Op. It’s a neighbourhood I really dig and I’m always happy to see a new restaurant open in the city. I’m hoping it’ll be Laotian, but hey, even another bacon and eggs joint will be fine by me.

But wait, what’s this? The Heritage Community Association won’t support the application because there isn’t enough on-site parking. The hell?? Apparently the HCA must like vacant retail space staying vacant because how else are they going to promote their neighbourhood’s sketchy, crime-ridden charm?

Was this morning’s RPC agenda frickin’ designed to irritate me?

Other concerns about the restaurant relate to it serving alcohol and that causing increased delinquent behaviour. The applicant though asserts they’ve no intention of getting a liquor license, and if they change their minds they’ll have to go through another application process downtown, so it seems liquor shouldn’t be a reason to hold up this restaurant.

Next! A four-storey office block at 1827 Albert Street. This is that hideous vacant lot just north of the Rising Sun Tattoo Parlour. (For the record: I have some issues with tattoo parlours taking over so much of our retail space these days — it’s because I’m square, you see. But Rising Sun has such a mind-blowingly AWESOME sign, I think it deserves love and some kind of award.)

Parking for this office block will be underground (good!) and it will be built so it can be easily converted to have street-level retail once residential density in the core makes such use viable (as demanded by the new, but not-yet-law-of-the-land Downtown Neighbourhood Plan). In fact, this whole proposal seems to be very much in the spirit of the DNP. And it’ll mean development overtop of a vacant lot. And you know what? If they stick to the plan in the report, it won’t even ben the ugliest building I’ve ever seen. So, yay! How could anyone not love this plan?

Well, three nearby property owners are worried about what it’ll do to parking in the area.

Goddamn parking. From now on, let’s just take it as read that when I’m writing about a good idea for some development in the city, somebody has written in pissed about how it’ll wreck parking for them.

Wrapping up, also on the agenda are proposals for an office building at 1940 Prince of Wales Drive, for 116 townhouses in the Lakeridge Addition, and for a road reconfiguration in the Eastgate Subdivision.

And that’s it.

As always, if you want to read more about your fellow citizens’ parking woes and get more details about how your city hall is protecting your parking rights, you can go to the city’s website.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

8 thoughts on “This Week At City Hall: In Which Parking Nearly Breaks My Spirit”

  1. 1827 Albert was the location of the Coronet Cinemas. Granted, showtimes were rarely on weekday afternoons, but it seemed to manage just fine with the amount of parking available in the area. There really needs to be a concerted PR campaign for this city that walking more than half a block from your parked car won’t kill you.

  2. Parking rules this city. One day people will look back and marvel at how an entire planet was enslaved by gas-burning boxes on wheels. Did I say people? I meant visiting aliens who will touch down and survey our world in wonder, long after humanity has exhausted itself and died out. So, like, in about ten years.

  3. Brett, agreed! Whenever I have to drive downtown, even at lunch time, there is plenty of parking. I always park on 13th Avenue between Hamilton and Broad Street. That little area always has tons of parking. I would normally never put this kind of secret on the internet, but ya because Regina folks really WILL NOT walk more than half a block, I’m not worried. I can still park quickly and easily and walk no more than 4 blocks to get to where I’m going downtown, and the rest of the city can complain about how hard it is to find parking. Sheesh.

    An apartment building on 15th would be great! And most people who would live in that building likely would not even own cars anyway. It would be great if they built a really secure bicycle lock up area for the residents of that building. But, considering that they have planned for 14 parking stalls for 14 units, I really don’t think parking will be a problem.

  4. I bet the people complaining there is no place to park downtown (when there is plenty of parking, just not right next to where you want to go all the time) are the same ones who frequent the box stores, where you always end up parking 2 kilometres from the store.
    I guess one difference there is that in a giant parking lot it is easy to see where there is empty space, but in downtown you have to drive around to find the open parking spaces because you can’t see them from where you wish you could find a spot. But if you know where to start looking this doesn’t take very long. Yeah, people are just lazy.

  5. Paul & other posters: I share your amazement on the fanatical obsession of Reginians in parking as close as possible to their destination. And it’s real.

    When my wife and I moved back to our hometown Regina in 2006, after living in Edmonton for 15 years, we laughed and thought it ridiculous that people wouldn’t go downtown or to a certain restaurant or event just because there might not be up-close parking. We stopped laughing when we realized people were serious.

    A while back, I was in my car in the parking lot of the Science Centre on a Sunday afternoon amongst a dozen other drivers looking for a space in the 105% full parking lot. I decided to dump my passengers off at the door, then drove out into the park and found a spot on Wascana Drive. As I walked back to the Science Centre doors, I noticed the same dozen cars circling circling circling the parking lot, waiting for someone to leave.

    These parking-fanatics must never have lived in, or even visited, a city bigger than Regina. But the Good News is this obsession will soon pass as more and more people realize we’re a Big City now, no longer a small town.

  6. Parking a problem…?!? I have to agree there is lots of parking downtown if you are willing to walk a few blocks. Heck I look out over a section of Hamilton and there always seems to be at least one space open in my limited view of the street.

    Perhaps a good idea would be to increase the parking rates by 500% and put the extra money into improving mass transit. I wonder how that would go over with the ‘I’m addicted to my car’ crowd? *grin*

  7. Parking isn’t simply a downtown issue, not with all the parking lagoons that exist around big box developments on Regina’s outskirts. Now magazine in Toronto did an article in June 2009 called Parking’s Cheap Trick where it was noted that through something called “market value-based assessment” parking lots pay a fraction of the property tax that buildings, be they commercial or residential, do. I’m not sure what the situation is like here, but it’d be interesting to see what tax treatment either stand-alone parking lots or lagoons tied to big-box stores get.

  8. Aren’t these the same group of mental giants that approved the construction of more than a million square feet of retail space in the city’s east end before figuring out just how they were going to service the area?

    Hey, great plan guys.

    Let’s offer no direct access off the city’s principal east-west artery (Vic Ave), instead – we’ll have you access it from a four lane, undivided roadway (Quance St) that runs through the middle of it.

    Traffic control? Sure…how about three lights that bridge a span of road from the east boundary of the city to the edge of the ring road.

    Pedestrian access from the residential area south of the retail landmass? $hi7 no…why the hell would we do that? We’re all about driving in this city.

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