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darwink

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I've returned to a project I started a while ago - grabbing the same airphoto from different time periods and marking the off street surface parking on it. I want to go back once a decade or so, maybe to the 60s or so, and do the same.

Here for now is the first, 2020:
parkinglots-today.png
 
As far as I am aware, there is no single, readily available, updated dataset that has a count of total downtown parking supply including underground, surface and street. That would be incredibly useful to put some numbers to supply for parking.
 
As far as I am aware, there is no single, readily available, updated dataset that has a count of total downtown parking supply including underground, surface and street. That would be incredibly useful to put some numbers to supply for parking.
15 years ago there was a big court fight about taxing parking, including on street spaces and those in residential buildings. (The question was: can you tax private lots at business rates if competing residential lots are taxed at residential rates and city owned lots, and street parking wasn't taxed at all). I'd imagine a deep dive in the city archives could find some of the reports which flowed through council then.

In 1999 there was also talk of a parking tax, and the city wrote a few reports on it including revenue estimates, which implies at least some knowledge on the number of parking spots. $5 a spot per month was estimated to bring in ~$2.4 million a year.
 
15 years ago there was a big court fight about taxing parking, including on street spaces and those in residential buildings. (The question was: can you tax private lots at business rates if competing residential lots are taxed at residential rates and city owned lots, and street parking wasn't taxed at all). I'd imagine a deep dive in the city archives could find some of the reports which flowed through council then.

In 1999 there was also talk of a parking tax, and the city wrote a few reports on it including revenue estimates, which implies at least some knowledge on the number of parking spots. $5 a spot per month was estimated to bring in ~$2.4 million a year.
Here's an interested google success - a strategic report from the Calgary Parking Authority. https://www.calgaryparking.com/documents/10184/11460/Final+-+10+Year+Strategic+Plan.pdf

On slide 20, the CPA references they have 14% of all paid parking at a supply of 14,357 in 2014. Doing the math, that would suggest they estimated that there was 102,550 paid parking stalls in 2014. The geography is unclear though - likely most would be downtown?

On the next slide they might have calculated it:
1639437193054.png


So looks like about 45,000 stalls in downtown in 2014. However, it's not clear what that includes (e.g. an apartment/condo that has a stall but dedicated to an owner, does that count in this supply? What if they rent it out? etc.) It also wouldn't include any garages since 2014 - Brookfield Place etc. Painfully, the chart also shows the sparkle in CPA's eye that eventually morphed into the incredibly wasteful Platform garage in East Village.

What's also painfully obvious from this document - the CPA really took that 60/40, transit/private vehicle mode split downtown as the goal, not greater than 60% transit as the goal. This document reads that they are trying to maintain 40% car mode share. Another classic example of following the letter of the law (60/40 split exactly) but not the spirit (a larger transit mode share is better for a city's health).

Can you imagine if they modelled an economic downturn? A slight bit more nuance from CPA in why we are making mode split goals and a few more realistic demand scenarios (including demand decreases) and we'd probably have saved ourselves $60M and a parkade.
 
That is super cool!

I hate to be the guy who responds immediately to a cool piece of original work with nitpicking, but those pictures sort of create an impression of progress in filling up parking spaces because they only add new parking space (eg "where was there surface parking in 2010 that there wasn't in 2020") without looking at changes the other way. For instance, the three by three block core of the East Village (between 3rd and 6th St and 6th and 9th ave SW) looks like this in the 1969:

1639458966070.png


But actually, in 1969 the space was:
1639459229144.png

So the blocks on the west side where the Central Library, etc is now have a bunch of developed land on it - just with developments that would be turned into parking before 2020. Or the centre block that's currently all parking; it had that large building that looks to me (with the parking around it) like a market of some sort; that was there from 1957-88 or more.
 
So the blocks on the west side where the Central Library, etc is now have a bunch of developed land on it - just with developments that would be turned into parking before 2020. Or the centre block that's currently all parking; it had that large building that looks to me (with the parking around it) like a market of some sort; that was there from 1957-88 or more.
That was a Safeway - I believe one of the first "supermarket" style Safeways to be built in Calgary:

na-5600-7197b.jpg
 
Great work, and I don't want to be "that guy" about nitpicking as well, and maybe you considered this already, but are you sure all the surface areas are actually parking? The one that jumps out is the lot where West Village Towers is now located. This was a car dealership, so large swaths of asphalt to sit cars on, but I don't think it was actually available as commercial parking for day users. There are a couple of rental car offices that this might apply to as well, however overall I am betting this is a pretty small amount of the overall data set.

In terms of number of stalls, the above referenced CPA report probably pertains only to the Centre City. Other than on-street parking in Kensington and Inglewood (maybe Marda Loop), was there any other part of the city that had paid parking? The Airport maybe?

I once saw a presentation about parking in Calgary that said there was approximately 3 million and change parking stalls in the City. Not sure where this data came from, and I asked if it included on-street parking, and the presenter confirmed it did not. This would have included all parking stalls in multi-family buildings, as well as garages and driveways I think. The point was to highlight that there was approximately 3 parkings stalls for every car registered in Calgary, or somthing like that.
 
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Great thread and post showing the past years. Although getting rid of parking lots has been slow, it shows that at least it's happening. I didn't know that in 1969 we had so many parking lots downtown, I thought most of the lots came in the 80's.
 
The Life, Death and Life(?) of Victoria Park, One of my favourite local development storylines that never gets enough attention. Many other neighbourhoods in the inner city suffered similarly renewal, but very few at this scale, to such a complete and apocalyptic level in Calgary. It's a great local case study to explore on why some neighbourhoods were/are selected for reinvestment while others are selected to be wiped from the map. To @Surrealplaces point, most of the parking lot conversions in Victoria Park came fairly late by the renewal era standards, in the 1980s to 2000s.

1957:
1639594774597.png


2006:
1639594881750.png


2020:
1639594922105.png
 
I wish we could do a Google streetview of Victoria Park in 1957. I'd love to see the general feel of the neighborhood.
 
I wish we could do a Google streetview of Victoria Park in 1957. I'd love to see the general feel of the neighborhood.
Saw this from Alan Zakrison on twitter a while back to give a bit of a taste. This is quite a bit earlier, note the lack of full grown trees link

1639622921129.png


I think the view is from the north end of the Ramsay Hill, looking towards downtown. The nearest streetview isn't the same angle or location, but gives you the rough idea. I marked the Elm tree in question for reference ( I believe this was originally posted in response to the Flames tearing out that old Elm tree in the parking lot for the new arena).

1639623395820.png


Physically, the neighbourhood isn't very different from the Missions, Hillhursts, and Sunnysides out there of the same vintage. Only neighbourhood of the bunch that was completely removed though.
 

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