St. Paul Does Away With Minimum Parking Requirements

The city is one of the first in the nation to completely eliminate parking mandates citywide.

August 23, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Saint Paul Minnesota

Jeremy Noble from St. Paul, United States / Wikimedia Commons

In a move that goes beyond other efforts to reduce parking minimums in select parts of cities, St. Paul, Minnesota has entirely eliminated minimum off-street parking requirements, reports Frederick Melo. "St. Paul officials hope that tossing out parking mandates will open the door to new housing and businesses while moving the city closer to its goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled by 40 percent by the year 2040, and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050."

Developers can still provide off-street parking as they see fit, but zoning rules would no longer require certain numbers of spaces for different types of businesses. "Large developments will be required to offer users transit cards, traffic calming or other alternatives."

However, "[c]ritics have called lifting parking requirements burdensome and impractical, especially in areas with limited or no public transit. There’s also been some concern that the city might lose leverage in negotiations with developers over other public benefits attached to new real estate projects, such as installing bike racks."

With the construction of one parking spot costing anywhere from $5,000 for surface parking to upwards of $50,000 for structure parking, advocates call eliminating parking minimums "a free-market approach that opponents of government regulation should embrace."

Wednesday, August 18, 2021 in St. Paul Pioneer Press

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