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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The spatial effects of city by-laws upon automobile parking garages Weaver, Barry John


The aim of this thesis is to examine the spatial effects of city regulations and practices upon one urban function - parking and the parking garage. This follows the conviction that the study of urban structure can be best achieved through a spatial analysis of the individual sites that create urban structure rather than through the creation of generalized urban land use models. The study is organized around one central hypothesis: (i) The external and internal spatial arrangements of automobile parking garages are effectively regulated by city planning decisions and city by-law provisions. A review of existing city regulatory methods concerning automobile parking garages showed that external site features of parking garages are regulated through zoning by-law provisions, and transportation and redevelopment or renewal planning decisions; that internal site features, in addition to the above, were subjected to city building by-laws; and that both the external and internal site features were indirectly regulated through city approaches to the administrative and financial aspects of a parking program. The analysis of regulations showed one area in which regulations were particularly stringent. This is the sale of gasoline and oil products and the provision of service and repair facilities inside automobile parking garages. Two subsidiary-hypotheses were therefore considered: (ii) The sale of gasoline and oil products and the provision of automobile service and repair facilities inside automobile parking garages are both a desirable and a safe use of space within these structures. (iii) The sale of gasoline and oil products and the provision of automobile service and repair facilities inside automobile parking garages leads to a conflict between actors at the municipal and industrial levels that can only be resolved by the adoption of similar planning goals by city decision-makers. The analysis of sections of National building and fire codes for Canada and the United States and various city building by-laws revealed that there exists differences between the two countries’ national codes as well as differences between building by-laws for various cities. American codes and by-laws permit inside gasoline dispensing units and service and repair facilities within parking garages, whereas Canadian codes and by-laws do not. All three hypotheses were tested in a case study of Vancouver, B.C. An examination of relevant sections of the building and zoning by-laws revealed that the City has many restrictions on parking garages, specifically in regard to the inside location of gasoline pumps and repair facilities. These regulations create a contentious issue between industry and City officials, because the industry recognizes that a demand exists for various automobile-oriented products and services, yet the City’s building and zoning by-law prohibits many of them. This conflict can only be resolved through availability of common information and continuing dialogue. This study has endeavored to provide this in a systematic form. A dialogue between municipal and industrial officials may lead to diverse and conflicting regulations, however, the ultimate goal should be the creation of an urban environment which accomodates the variety of requirements of an increasing urbanized population.

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