The study area is characterized by large amounts of land used exclusively for parking. Coupled with the vacant areas, this large proportion of land used for surface parking not only gives the Downtown an ugly appearance, but also reduces the tax base of the central city. A total of 1,888,600 square feet, or 16.5% of the Downtown area exclusive of streets and lanes, is used for grade level parking purposes. An additional 195,700 square feet is utilized as ground floor space by the Downtown parkades, resulting in a land area of 2,084,300 square feet devoted to parking, or 18.3% of the Downtown total. Vacant land comprises almost 560,000 square feet, or 4.9%. All this land, which is devoid of buildings or public amenities such as parks, constitutes 23.2% or almost one quarter of prime Downtown land. This proportion varies from section to section as the following paragraphs will explain. Plate 4 illustrates the existing amount of parking space, and Table 3.3 sets out the existing amount of land which is either vacant or used for parking.
In the high density area between the Assiniboine River and Broadway, almost 300,000 square feet, or 8% of the total square footage is devoted to grade level parking. A further 150,000 square feet, approximately, is vacant. In terms of the entire Downtown, 17.7% of the available grade level parking is located in this area, and 28.4% of the vacant land.
In the sector of the study area between Broadway and Portage Avenue, 1,123,200 square feet, representing 23.0% of the total area, is in the form of parking lots. An additional 175,700 square feet is contributed by the ground floor levels of the four structures in this area. The total of 1,298,900 square feet represents 26.4% of the land area in this sector and 62.3% of the total Downtown parking area. Vacant land comprises 119,800 square feet or 21.4% of all the vacant and in the Downtown area. None of this land is located in the block between Graham and Portage. Parking lots, including the ground floors of parkades, and vacant land constitute 28.9% of the area of this particular sector.
North of [XMLmind] Avenue, parking lots utilize 473,800 square feet of land, plus an extra 20,000 square feet which is the ground floor area of the parkade in this section. Together, they represent 17.0% of the total square footage of the land between portage and Notre Dame, and 23.7% of the total available parking space in the Downtown. There are 281,000 square feet of vacant land in this area, most of it located in the block between Kennedy and Balmoral on the east and west, and between Ellice and Qu'Appelle on the south and north. This amount of vacant land represents 50.2% of total Downtown vacant land. As a proportion of the total land area between Portage and Notre Dame, it represents 9.7%. Combined with the parking lots, the proportion increases to 26.7% of the total area of this sector.
Despite the large amount of land utilized as parking space, deficiencies do exist. The adequacy of the supply of parking spaces was determined from two sources: The Winnipeg Parking Authority's study on Downtown parking facilities in 1968, and the sections regarding parking in the Metropolitan Corporation's 1967 Economic Survey. The Parking Authority's study found tat effective parking spaces had increased 45% between 1956 and 1966. Curb parking had decreased by 36%, parking lots had increased by 12% and garages had increased by 80%. However, the study found a serious parking space deficiency in the area surrounding the T. Eaton Co. A shortage of between 500 and 600 spaces is indicated, and the erection of another garage in this vicinity is recommended. Another potential problem area is situated east of Hargrave between Portage and Notre Dame, but the Authority suggests deferment of action pending completion of the Richardson Complex and the proposed new Marlborough Hotel parking garage.
The Corporation's survey identified some additional trouble spots, based on the replies of the firms in the area. Adequate parking in this context includes any and all available parking spaces, since 67% of the replying firms do not supply their own parking. Firms complained of inadequate parking north of Portage to Ellice between Colony and Donald, and south of Graham to York between Main and Osborne. It is somewhat paradoxical that the firms in the latter area complained of inadequate parking, since this area has the largest proportion of land used exclusively for parking. In most of the other areas, the majority of firms reported parking to be adequate. Of a total number of 739 firms replying, 82% were satisfied with the existing situation.
Illustration 3-A: Vacant Land South of Portage Ave.