Parking Master Plan

Parking Master Plan for Guelph’s downtown

Through the Places to Grow Act the Province of Ontario requires increased population density for communities including downtown Guelph. As well, over the next 16 years the number of people who work and live downtown will double from 8,000 to about 16,000 people and jobs and as a result there is a need to plan to have sufficient parking for people living, working and visiting downtown.

Public parking infrastructure downtown has not increased since 1983 when Guelph had a population of 70,000 and as a result, on-street parking and parking lots in the downtown core are at capacity. To accommodate downtown population and employment growth targets, an additional 1,300 to 1,700 parking spaces are needed by 2031. These new parking spaces will be created by replacing downtown parking lots with a series of parkades, starting with 350 new stalls (anticipated to be the Wilson Street parking lot) and followed by 250 new stalls (anticipated to be the Neeve Street parking lot).

Wilson Street reconstruction and parkade

The current public parking system relies on a mix of revenues.

  • Long-term permit holders, daily and short-term parkers, and tax support contribute to the system
  • On-street parking does not generate revenue and its enforcement is paid through a cost-recovery from tickets issued
560 kBParking Master Plan – Downtown Guelph map

Project timeline (activities to date)


  • Data collection
  • Community engagement


  • Background study report
  • Financial strategy development



  • Tender awarded for construction of Wilson Parkade to the Newton Group


Downtown Parking

Future parking needs

By 2031 the downtown is being planned to support:

  • 8,000 people (4x more)
  • 8,000 jobs (30% more)

~1,500 new parking spaces are required by 2031:

  • Assumes some shift to transit, walking and cycling
  • Addresses current unmet parking needs
  • Positions City for redevelopment of surface parking lots
  • Required to increase economic activity
  • Pooled parking to supplement private development supply to support urban form
  • Assumes maximization of on-street parking supply

Sufficient reserves required to support replacement at end of service life and to leverage infrastructure needs to support additional business development opportunities.

Current capacity

  • On-street parking in core areas at capacity
  • Off-street supply at capacity during the daytime (~150 person waiting list)
  • Daytime and event parking spillover to adjacent neighbourhoods a consistent community issue
  • Parking turnover is occurring in core, however observations and public feedback suggest some vehicles are circumventing 2-hour limit
  • Insufficient surplus available to support economic development, required intensification and the objectives of the Downtown Secondary Growth Plan

To address Guelph’s parking needs, the City will need to build new capacity, maintain existing parking infrastructure, create supportive policy, and plan for future requirements.

What’s needed

  • Parking for people visiting the downtown core
  • Parking for people living/working downtown
  • Parking for downtown property and business owners
  • Parking management in the downtown periphery
Element Recommendations
  • Plan four (4) new shared parking facilities (min 250 net gain of publicly accessible spaces each)
  • Integrate shared parking projects into new development where possible
  • Require portion of parking in new developments to be publicly accessible
  • Plan to address governance of parking function to position services for additional capacity and business development
On-street parking management
  • On-street parking:
    • Determine best way to maintain short-term turnover
    • Enhance customer service and enforcement i.e., increase flexibly through technology
    • Increases revenue to make system improvements
  • Maximize on-street inventory on existing streets and in growth areas
Downtown periphery parking
  • Introduce on-street permit system in adjacent neighbourhoods:
    • Rationalize (make consistent) parking signage and policies
    • Improve clarity around permit programs and include in on-line info
    • Expand and promote daytime permit program for non-residential users
    • Consider lower fee for overnight residential permits
  • Enhance enforcement
Zoning direction
  • Align Zoning By-law regulations over Downtown Secondary Plan area to reflect urban built-form standards:
    • Rationalize policies and approaches to embed into updated zoning regulations
    • Consider minimum and maximum parking standards for all uses
    • Introduce adjustment factors for shared parking, TDM, bike parking, etc.
    • Introduce off-site parking option (allowing developer to secure private or municipal parking off-site)
    • Review and update on-street operations where land-use objectives have been upgraded (change areas)

Financial scenarios and considerations

190 KBParking Master Plan – Financial Chart


Challenges in balancing competing interests in the system:

  • Downtown employers rely on a robust parking supply with competitive rates to maintain and attract employees.
  • The on-street spaces are seen as part of the customer service relationships for ground floor enterprises.
  • Enforcement needs to be effective but not a deterrent to access
  • Adjacent neighbourhoods are impacted but also are a source of capacity for the downtown area
  • Expectations on low or free rates puts investment burden back to the larger community

Proposed parking strategies

The City of Guelph wants to create a parking strategy that leverages several revenue streams to:

  • Build two new parkades (first is anticipated to be on the current Wilson parking lot, and the second anticipated to be on the Neeve parking lot);
  • Maintain existing and new parking infrastructure;
  • Create a reserve fund that can be leveraged to replace the East and West parkades at end of service life as well as enable future opportunities and parking infrastructure requirements; and
  • Enable economic development and growth in downtown Guelph.


415 kBParking Master Plan – 2015 Financial Chart Parking Master Plan Public Information Session slides – June 13, 2013 Parking Master Plan Public Information Session – June 13, 2013 Parking Master Plan Public Information Session – April 16, 2013 Parking Master Plan Fact Sheet Parking Master Plan Public Information Session – February 26, 2013 Parking Master Plan Comment Sheet

For more information

Jamie Zettle
Program Manager Parking
Engineering Capital Infrastructure, Transportation Services
519-822-1260 extension 2590
Business Development and Enterprise Services