Cities Switch From Requiring Too Many Parking Spaces To Banning Too Many Parking Spaces
This past week, Nashville’s Metro Council approved a new ordinance that eliminates minimum parking requirements in the city’s “urban zoning overlay” district. From now on, developers in those urban zones won’t have to build parking spaces no one wants.
That doesn’t mean Nashville builders are free to decide how much parking to construct, however. The city’s new ordinance leaves the old parking standards in place but says from now on they’ll be interpreted as parking maximums that cap the number of spaces developers are allowed to build.
This is part of a trend.
Across the country, jurisdictions are waking up to the high costs of mandated parking. But the reforms they enact often pair an elimination of costly parking minimums with counterproductive parking maximums.
In 2021, Berkeley, California, passed reforms that eliminated minimum parking requirements while also capping how much parking could be built by right in “transit-rich” areas. It’s a similar story in Minneapolis, which has eliminated parking minimums citywide but established parking maximums in certain areas of town.
The 2016 update to the zoning code in Washington, D.C., got rid of parking minimums for some downtown areas while also establishing new limits on above-ground parking garages. In 2015, Fayetteville, Arkansas, eliminated its parking minimums while keeping maximum parking ratios.
It’s, of course, true that parking minimums are costly. These near-ubiquitous rules typically establish ratios of required parking spaces per new residential unit or for a given amount of new commercial floor space. To meet those minimums, developers often have to consume more land than they would otherwise or reduce the amount of rent-generating floor space they build.
On smaller lots, meeting parking minimums can often mean building incredibly expensive parking garages where each space can cost north of $75,000. Technically legal commercial uses are often rendered practically infeasible by minimu
Article from Latest