Cities Reconsider Mandatory Parking

Cities around the country are beginning to think twice about having off-street parking requirements for every new development. Those who oppose these "parking minimums" say that it creates too much parking and stifles the growth of cities.
September 24, 2008, 5am PDT | Judy Chang
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"Like nearly all U.S. cities, D.C. has requirements for off-street parking. Whenever anything new is built - be it a single-family home, an apartment building, a store or a doctor's office - a minimum number of parking spaces must be included. The spots at the curb don't count: These must be in a garage, a surface lot or a driveway."

"Parking requirements - known to planners as 'parking minimums' - have been around since the 1950s. The theory is that if buildings don't provide their own parking, too many drivers will try to park on neighborhood streets.

In practice, critics say, the requirements create an excess supply of parking, making it artificially cheap. That, the argument goes, encourages unnecessary driving and makes congestion worse. The standards also encourage people to build unsightly surface lots and garages instead of inviting storefronts and residential facades, they say. Walkers must dodge cars pulling in and out of driveways, and curb cuts eat up space that could otherwise be used for trees."

Thanks to Franny Ritchie

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Published on Saturday, September 20, 2008 in MSNBC
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