Minneapolis Eliminates Parking Requirements Citywide

Minneapolis joins the avant garde of cities implementing a dramatic overhaul of the parking requirement status quo that has been a primary determinant of the form and function of cities for nearly a century.

May 19, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sam Wagner / Shutterstock

"The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously Friday to eliminate minimum parking requirements on new developments citywide," reports Zoë Jackson.

The new citywide parking requirements are set to take effect this week after the 13-0 by the City Council. The change also "makes Minneapolis the largest Midwest city to abandon parking requirements and one of just a handful in the United States," adds Jackson.

In addition to removing parking requirements for new development citywide, the ordinance "also includes an increase in bicycle parking requirements and will add new travel demand management (TDM) strategy requirements to more buildings, including every residential building with 50 or more units."

Jackson notes that although parking requirements have been eliminated, developers still have the choice to build parking with new developments, just with more flexibility.

City Council President Lisa Bender offers a soundbite in the article that ties the parking reform vote to climate and emissions goals set by the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan. As for the advocacy that helped bring this historic moment to fruition, Jackson provides this anecdote:

Minneapolis Planning Commissioner Chris Meyer has been pushing for the elimination of parking requirements since he was a student at the University of Minnesota in 2011. In 2015, he bought 13 copies of "The High Cost of Free Parking" by Donald Shoup for each council member. Later that year, minimums near transit were eliminated.

Minneapolis is in the lead in the parking reform movement in the Midwest, but several other U.S. cities have already removed parking requirements, like Buffalo, San Diego, and San Francisco. Houston and Los Angeles removed parking requirements in specific neighborhoods. Nearby St. Paul is in earlier stages of reconsidering the parking requirements in its zoning code, as detailed in a Planetizen post from earlier this month. Other cities around the country are at various stages of the process of removing some or all parking requirements, including Berkeley, Dallas, Seattle, and Raleigh, among others.

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