The parking plan outlined in the Cloverdale town centre proposal does not measure up, according to the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association.
The proposal, which is currently open for the community to provide feedback on, broadly outlines the city’s vision for future land-use plans in downtown Cloverdale. It hasn’t been updated since 2000. The new plan proposes residential densification, a pedestrian-friendly commercial core, and an enhancement of 176A Street.
All of those factors are intended to bring customers to the commercial core, located near the crossroads of Highway 10 and Highway 15. But the plan for parking just “doesn’t add up,” according to the BIA.
In 2016, the city undertook a survey of all public parking in the Cloverdale town centre. That study found that the existing supply of parking exceeds the current demand.
The city counted 446 total commercial parking spaces in downtown Cloverdale, and found that the lots were only used, on average, to 28 per cent of capacity.
But those numbers don’t line up with the day-to-day experiences of Cloverdale businesses and their customers. The parking lot along 56A Avenue, for example, is often so full during regular business hours that vehicles are double or even triple parked.
“The research itself really needs to be taken with a grain of salt, because [it leads] you to believe there are no parking problems,” said Paul Orazietti, BIA executive director.
“For a report to come from the city that says 20 to 25 per cent of the lot is used at any given time of day is disheartening as a business owner,” added BIA President Dean Moore.
Based on the 2016 parking study, the city has proposed to relocate existing surface parking lots, breaking up the downtown core’s two largest lots along 176A Street in order to move parking to a condensed lot on 57A Avenue.
“When you look at it, just on the surface, the math doesn’t add up,” said Orazietti. “Parking is by far one of the most important things to the business community.”
“We’re trying to prepare for five years from now, because Cloverdale will be completely different from what it is now, and there will be a lot more people living here,” said Orazietti. “And because we’re not serviced by transit, it’s going to be a problem for us.”
What the BIA would like to see is for the lot along 56A Avenue to expand and for the lots along 176A Street to remain unchanged.
Both Orazietti and Moore expressed frustration with parking variances being granted to several projects in the downtown core by the city without any additional parking being developed.
“I feel a sense of responsibility for 15, 25, 30 years from now … how successful can merchants in the town be if this parking is taken away?” asked Moore. “The city is not in the business of parking lots, but we’re asking them to [help provide a solution] with the parking variances.”
The BIA pointed to the Museum of Surrey as an example, as it was granted a variance of 78 parking stalls. Between residential projects currently in progress, and projects that would be built under the new town centre plan, the BIA said there would be a considerable parking shortfall as new residents move in to the downtown core.
“It’s getting to the point where it’s starting to max out now, and not everybody’s moved in,” said Orazietti.
“The town centre of Cloverdale and the main area is 100 years old, so ultimately it didn’t have enough parking to current standards. And it never will,” said Orazietti.
“Older buildings along the main street — a lot of the time the footprint of the building takes up the entire lot. That’s planning from 100 years ago, 70 years ago,” said Moore.
“We look upon this area as our own mall, and a mall requires parking. So until a building is torn down and redeveloped to have parking on the land — they could be here another 100 years, these buildings. We need to, with the city’s help, protect what’s here [for parking],” he said.
Community members can submit feedback on the town centre plan by filling out a survey at surrey.ca/surveys. The survey will be open until Friday, July 6.
The town centre plan will be revised during the summer months, and city staff expect to present the final plan to council in fall 2018.