Too much parking hobbles America’s TODs
Less parking and more car-sharing would help make transit-oriented development more successful.
Subscriber? Log in for full article. Not a subscriber yet? Subscribe to read all articles (print + online delivery) about how to implement better cities and towns. Or, get the September 2012 issue (instant pdf download).
In July, the City of Seattle cut in half the volume of parking required in new developments within a quarter-mile of a light rail line, bus rapid transit route, or regular bus route that offers frequent service. The decision is the latest recognition by an American municipality that parking requirements need to be pared down, especially in areas where rail or bus service is frequent.
Seattle’s City Council authorized a 50 percent reduction in off-street parking in areas that are within a quarter-mile of a transit stop where there is generally service at least every 15 minutes.
Mike Podowski of the Department of Planning and Development said the reduction will:
• Make housing more affordable by reducing the amount of money that developers have to spend on land and structures for parking.
• Help meet the City’s environmental goals by reducing automobile use and thereby cutting carbon emissions.
Seattle has been paring down or eliminating parking requirements for years. The willingness to deemphasize parking has helped to reinforce City and King County initiatives aimed at fostering compact development and improving the public transit network.
Transportation analysts such as Robert Cervero at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that in much of the US, high