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Surface parking lots may be a dying breed in downtown London

A pay and display meter at a downtown London parking lot.
A pay and display meter at a downtown London parking lot. Travis Dolynny/AM980 London

There may be fewer surface parking lots in London’s future.

A report going before the planning and environment committee next week recommends phasing out so-called ‘temporary’ parking lots in favour of parking garages.

The staff report says the city should work with developers to include public parking in garages below new high-rises.

READ MORE: London city council does a U-turn, approves ‘temporary’ downtown parking lots

The report says surface parking lots account for about 25 per cent of all land use in the downtown core.

Staff say the lots represent underutilized land “that could be built upon to generate employees and residents in the core.” Staff say some surface parking lots, which are over 20 years old, have come at the expense of heritage buildings, represent gaps in important streetscapes and can create “safety concerns.”

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Staff reports regarding temporary parking lots date back over 20 years.

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There are 15,435 parking spots spread across 49 lots in the downtown, which can be quite lucrative. Staff estimate each parking spot can bring in between $2,000 and $3,000 per year in parking, with an extra $500 from fines. The report estimates a 100 car surface parking lot could generate as much as $300,000 profit.

Parking in the downtown is at about 77 per cent capacity, but it’s estimated the central part of the core will need about 300 additional parking spots.

The Downtown Parking Study report recommends gradually phasing out temporary parking lots where parking utilization is low. Parking lots in the central part of the downtown are the busiest lots, at over 80 per cent capacity. Parking lots in the eastern part of the downtown are utilized the least, hovering around 50 per cent.

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London city council recently decided to renew three ‘temporary’ parking lots in the downtown for another three years, but indicated those kinds of extensions may not occur in the future.

Staff say if the ten planned high-rise developments currently under construction or in the zoning phase were to include a parking garage open to the public that would create an additional 1,500 spots.

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Monday’s planning and environment committee meeting will start at 3:30 p.m.