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  • Sandlot Engineering

The Argument for Removing Parking Minimums

For decades, cities around the world have implemented minimum parking requirements for new development projects. These requirements mandate a certain number of parking spaces per unit of development, with the goal of ensuring that there is always enough parking available for residents and visitors. However, in recent years, many cities have begun to question the effectiveness of these minimum parking requirements. Cities are opting to remove them altogether, which can have many benefits.

Increased Affordability

One of the primary benefits of removing minimum parking requirements is increased affordability. The cost of constructing parking spaces can be substantial, with each space costing tens of thousands of dollars or more. By eliminating minimum parking requirements, developers can reduce construction costs and allocate those savings to other areas of the project, such as affordable housing or public amenities. This can make housing more affordable and accessible for residents.

Reduced Traffic Congestion

Another benefit of removing minimum parking requirements is reduced traffic congestion. When parking is readily available, it can encourage more people to drive, which can lead to increased traffic and congestion. By removing minimum parking requirements, cities can encourage more sustainable transportation options, such as walking, cycling, and public transit. Resulting in reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality.

Improved Urban Design

Minimum parking requirements can have a significant impact on urban design. When parking spaces are required, developers must often design buildings and sites around the parking spaces, which can result in unattractive and inefficient layouts. By removing minimum parking requirements, developers can design buildings and sites that prioritize pedestrians and active transportation modes, creating more livable and attractive neighborhoods.

Better Use of Space

Parking takes up a significant amount of space in urban areas. By removing minimum parking requirements, cities can encourage the development of more compact and efficient buildings, which can make better use of limited space. This can help to reduce urban sprawl and preserve green spaces and natural areas.

Increased Flexibility

Finally, removing minimum parking requirements can provide greater flexibility for developers and property owners. Without parking requirements, developers can respond to the needs and preferences of the local community, rather than being constrained by rigid parking regulations. This can lead to a greater variety of housing and commercial options, as well as more innovative and creative development projects.

Removing minimum parking requirements can provide many benefits for cities, including increased affordability, reduced traffic congestion, improved urban design, better use of space, and increased flexibility for developers. As cities continue to grow and evolve, it is important that they adapt their policies and regulations to ensure that they are creating sustainable and livable communities for all residents.

  1. Shoup, D. (2005). The high cost of free parking. American Planning Association.

  2. Litman, T. (2018). Parking requirements: Impacts on housing affordability. Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

  3. Ewing, R. (2015). The case for eliminating minimum parking requirements. The Planning Report.

  4. Donaldson, A., & Warren, J. (2017). Best practices for minimum parking requirements. The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

  5. Transportation Research Board. (2010). Parking management best practices. National Academies Press.

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