Permeable Parking Surfaces and Parking Minimums
Surface parking lots in urban areas cause a number of different problems. They take up space that could be used for housing, they make it cheaper to drive, which effects a city’s air quality, they add to the urban heat shielding of the city, and, because they don't absorb rain, they put pressure on water systems. Portland officials have proposed legislation to mandate developers solve two of these problems in future developments by forcing developers to use permeable surfaces. This would mean these spaces wouldn't reflect as much heat or push as much water in to sewers, but they wouldn't come cheap.
"If Portland planners are honestly concerned about urban heat and the environment then they should propose eliminating minimum parking requirements," Tony Jordan argues in PDX Shoupistas. This strategy, recently employed by Mexico City, would eliminate some of these lots altogether, and instead of making development more expensive, which would in turn drive up the cost of housing, it would make some developments less expensive. Accomplishing two goals in a city that is becoming more expensive.
"Planners and officials might be worried that neighbors will complain about developments with fewer parking stalls, but maybe it’s time to show city officials and planners that people concerned about housing affordability, climate change, and traffic safety can make just as much, or maybe more, noise," Jordan writes.