US cities inch towards fewer parking requirements
Slate publishes the best headline ever for an article against minimum parking requirements, "Out Damned Spot."
Matthew Yglesias calls attention to a "regulatory scourge so ubiquitous as to be nearly invisible: Regulatory parking mandates that tax the poor to subsidize the rich while damaging the environment and the broader economy."
Many cities are reducing their parking requirements, but few are eliminating them entirely. Residents have an interest in maintaining their free on-street parking and feel threatened by any change that could reduce its availability — whatever the policy's virtues.
Boston, Yglesias reports, is considering cutting its parking requirements. This is being reported in the Boston Globe by reporter Casey Ross as the city wanting to reduce parking ("City Wants a Cutback on New Parking"), Yglesias says.
What’s actually happening, as Ross’ reporting makes clear, is that officials are allowing the construction of buildings with a lower ratio of dwellings to parking spaces than previously required. Specifically, “in most cases, officials are allowing the ratio to slip to 0.75 spaces per residence,” rather than the one or two spaces that had been the previous rule.
Boston officials should be commended for this. But what they really ought to do is something radical, and it’s the exact same thing every other city and suburb in America ought to do: reduce the number of required spaces to zero.
The blog Beyond DC reports that Washington planners have now backed off a proposal to eliminate parking minimums around transit stations. Instead, they want to cut parking requirements for residential and office spaces in half. Parking requirements downtown are still proposed to be eliminated.