By Florence Paulhiac Scherrer, Blandine Vernier
As Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) has been emerging as the new urban planning model in North America, it raises several issues for collective urban action. First of all, they concern the planning modalities of these new districts, which involve a complex coordination between transport and urban planning. They also concern the content of projects that promote sustainable urban planning and mobility. The general objectives of these projects are to counter the dynamics of urban sprawl and automobile dependency. From this perspective, parking lots in TODs appears to be an essential element of sustainable mobility strategies. Generally maximized and thought of as “transport parking” in North American urban policies, parking lots are then designed and optimized as “sustainable parking”. The challenge is all the more acute in the context of suburban areas, which are now highly dependent on cars. Thus, this article analyses the ways in which the actors of the planning process appropriate this new concept and operationalize it. The research focuses on the detailed planning of two TODs located in suburban Montreal. Each project is planned within a multi-stakeholder Project Office. The Offices are developing a new consensual approach to parking: considered as a key link in sustainable mobility, its place in public space must be restricted, better integrated into the built environment, and have reduced negative externalities (social, environmental, economic, etc.). However, there are many risks involved in operationalizing this vision. Thus, the dynamics of change at work come up against some obstacles, among which the social acceptability of measures plays a major role. Managing these obstacles requires the municipality in charge of the projects to negotiate and consult processes that go far beyond the framework and temporality of the project offices.