Park the Car at Home

Driving got you down? Try a more sustainable way to travel, and save the hassle!

I was raised in a one-car family and because of this, when I wanted to go anywhere, I took transit more often than I got a ride. It wasn’t until I moved to a smaller town that I even ended up getting my driver’s license, let alone a car. With my car, I have also encountered the frustration that every driver has: I can’t find a parking spot! I often plan my route based on parking at the other end, as well as the traffic I’ll encounter. I try to use my car as little as possible if I have an easy transit route.

In some larger cities around the world, rather than increase parking (as many developers would prefer), city planners are choosing to reduce parking, replacing it with additional sustainable infrastructure, or increasing the amount that parking costs.

European cities, such as Copenhagen, Zurich and Hamburg, have more strict parking plans in placee. In North America, while cities try to reduce the amount of cars on the road by encouraging people to take transit, or by putting in bike lanes for cyclists, there has been a lot of push back from our car culture. Even the types of cars that are found in North
America (large and mid-sized sedans) versus Europe (smaller hatchbacks and small cars) reflects our car culture.

So what types of options do cities have to reduce the amount of cars in our downtown urban areas and increase our infrastructure?

Encourage greater parking spot turnover, or discourage parking in busy areas:

  • Increase parking costs
  • Reduce free parking
  • Enforce parking time maximums

Create pedestrian and bike friendly routes:

  • Create safe bike lanes (and safe bike parking)
  • Widen sidewalks
  • Beautify sidewalk area

Encourage electric / hybrid / low emission vehicles:

  • Implement special parking spots

Next time you’re  heading out, take a minute to think if driving is your best option.

  • Compare the cost of taking transit to the price of gas and parking.
  • Is there an easy transit route?
  • How long will it take you to find a spot, and will it be closer than where transit would get you?
  • Transit can be worry free travel.

You may find that leaving the car at home is a better idea!

Lauren Wingham-Smith is a Municipal Peer Review Team Project Assistant with Hardy Stevenson and Associates Limited, acting on behalf of the Municipality of Port Hope. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering, specializing in Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Economics. This multidisciplinary background allows Lauren to view both the environmental and human effects of engineering projects. She is also passionate about green innovation and design.


About Hardy Stevenson and Associates Limited

Hardy Stevenson and Associates Limited (HSAL) is a multidisciplinary strategic planning and public affairs consultancy, focused on environmental and land use planning, stakeholder relations (including communications, facilitation, public consultation and engagement), socio-economic impact assessment, communications, engineering and related services. We have the expertise to predict and decipher technical and public policy issues, and significant experience mitigating them, building consensus and attaining even the most complex approvals. For more information, visit
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