By Connor Simonds, Local Journalism Initiative reporter
The Committee on Planning, Agriculture and Development: Markham’s City-Wide Parking Strategy
The City of Markham’s Committee on Planning, Agriculture and Development is embarking on a new city-wide parking strategy as part of its strategic action plan.
The current approach to parking, based solely on supply and demand, is no longer considered sustainable for urban city planning.
The study aims to provide direction on how parking should evolve over the next 20 to 30 years, focusing on achieving a desirable balance of mobility, including supporting a shift towards public transit, active transportation and preparing for the transition to electric mobility.
The project is divided into two phases, with the first phase being a background review and the second phase being the development of policy directions and recommendations.
By Q1 2024, a final report will be submitted to Markham City Council. As part of the background review, staff will investigate parking standards established in other municipalities, including shared and privately paid parking, and examine the technologies they have adopted and their user experiences. Staff will also ensure Markham has a map of all parking spaces, which could be updated as needed.
In addition to the city-wide parking strategy, the Committee on Planning, Agriculture and Development is also undertaking several other projects and initiatives. These include updates on the city’s active transportation projects, such as the Active Transportation Master Plan, cycling and trail map update, and underpasses at the Stouffville GO line.
During the Committee’s most recent meeting, they provided updates on three York Region projects, including the intersection of 16th Avenue with Highway 404, McCowan between 14th Avenue and Highway 7, and Warden Avenue and Kennedy Road. The Committee has discussed the safety factors and costs related to protected intersections and potential interchange configurations.
The Committee also discussed the Open Streets program, which originated in 2020 in response to Covid-19, to support local businesses and provide more space for physical distancing while walking and cycling. Since the Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, City staff will prepare a report in Q2 2023 to provide an update of the 2021 and 2022 programs and recommend whether or not to discontinue the program.
The 2022 budget process and active transportation-related items included the approved budget for the Active Transportation Master Plan Capital Plan, which includes funding for two full-time staff positions. The first step in implementing the plan is to fill these positions. Traffic calming measures and installation of PXOs are also part of the 2023 budget.
Overall, the City of Markham is taking a comprehensive approach to transportation planning, balancing the need for mobility with the need for sustainability, safety, and accessibility.