Parking Madness 2019 Round 1: DC MVT vs. Toronto

noma vs toronto

The nation’s capital makes its second appearance in our annual Parking Madness battle, this time with a neighborhood going head to head against Toronto. But first, an update:

We’ve closed the polls on some earlier matchups, with Houston narrowly defeating BostonPittsburgh also squeaking by Portland, and Providence absolutely destroying Austin (we suppose that happens when an entire city is completely reimagined rather than just a developer building a nice building on a former parking crater).

But there’s still time to vote in another matchup pitting a DC-area neighborhood against a piece of the heartland — yes, it’s DC Pike vs. Indianapolis. Play now.

parking madness 2019 dc mvt

OK, onto today’s battle:

DC’s Mount Vernon Triangle

Streetsblog reader Ben Ross sent in the “before” and “after” pictures below from, respectively, 1999 and 2018, adding in the caveat that the current transformation is not fully complete. Ross sent in little other info, so we pieced it together.

The area below is a wedge basically bordered by Massachusetts Avenue on the south, New York Avenue on the north and the 395 expressway on the east, with K Street NW running through the middle. It’s north and west of Union Station. (Locals call it the Mount Vernon Triangle.)

The area really took off after “in the 21st century as more people moved into the city, and local government officials offered tax abatement for residential construction,” as Wikipedia tells us.

But is this just a story of developers rushing into a Wild West and gentrifying everything? Yeah, probably.

DC before

DC after

Toronto

Meanwhile, north-of-the-border reader Dave Thom told us about an “unbelievable” infill in downtown Toronto, specifically, the areas south of King Street and east of Yonge Street.

“The entire city should get an award for eliminating most surface parking in not just one area, but in the entire downtown core through the course of two decades of nonstop infill and vertical growth,” Thom said, citing a famous blog headline from 2017, “That time when Toronto was a city of parking lots.”

The pictures tell a lot of this story:

toronto before toronto after

So who is going on to the next round? DC or Toronto? Vote early (but not often!):

Update: An earlier version of this story misidentified the DC neighborhood as NoMa when it is, in fact, the Mount Vernon Triangle. The poll graphic above does not reflect the new information.

8 thoughts on Parking Madness 2019 Round 1: DC MVT vs. Toronto

  1. Not that it’s not also a highly improved parking crater, but absolutely no one from DC would call that wedge described as part of NoMA. The area featured here most definitely refers to Mount Vernon Triangle https://www.mountvernontriangle.org/ instead.

    NoMA itself is the area directly north of Union Station and directly west of the NoMA Metro station (which the Mount Vernon Triangle wedge is nowhere near…). Google Maps gets the boundaries about right, or you can also look at the NoMA BID: https://www.nomabid.org/about-noma-bid/

  2. I’m tempted to go ahead and declare Toronto the winner of the entire bracket because it appears from the image that Toronto not only infilled a bunch of parking lots but also didn’t replace them with lots of deck spaces. Can somebody confirm whether my perception is correct or not?

  3. Toronto is a city of underground parking now. Nearly every new building comes with multiple levels below ground. So while yes, there are no parking decks above ground anywhere downtown, it’s not as if the development is being built without parking at all. It’s not nearly as progressive as you might think and this is causing congestion issues.

    Minimums for high-rise apartments or condos, I believe, are:

    A) in Policy Area 1 (PA1):
    (i) at a minimum rate of :
    (a) 0.3 for each bachelor dwelling unit up to 45 square metres and 1.0 for each bachelor dwelling unit greater than 45 square metres;
    (b) 0.5 for each one bedroom dwelling unit;
    (c) 0.8 for each two bedroom dwelling unit; and
    (d) 1.0 for each three or more bedroom dwelling unit; and
    (ii) at a maximum rate of:
    (a) 0.4 for each bachelor dwelling unit up to 45 square metres and 1.2 for each bachelor dwelling unit greater than 45 square metres;
    (b) 0.7 for each one bedroom dwelling unit;
    (c) 1.2 for each two bedroom dwelling unit; and
    (d) 1.5 for each three or more bedroom dwelling unit; and

    https://www.toronto.ca/zoning/bylaw_amendments/ZBL_NewProvision_Chapter200.htm

  4. Thanks for clarifying. Those minimums are lower than I see in most places so perhaps Toronto can start thinking about eliminating minimums entirely.

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