Eliminating Parking Minimums: Obstacle or Opportunity?

It’s no secret that cities all across the country are undergoing a process of parking reform when it comes to eliminating parking minimums. But what are these requirements exactly and how do they affect the mobility industry as a whole? 

The concept of parking minimums refers to the zoning laws that dictate the minimum number of parking spaces that must be provided for any given development. These requirements are usually set by local governments as part of their building codes, however there is a growing movement among urban planners and policymakers to eliminate parking minimums altogether, arguing that they are an unnecessary and costly burden on cities and municipalities. 

As more and more cities are seeing and can expect these changes, some may wonder about the state of their parking environment, and whether or not they can get on board with the reform.

Potential Pros of Eliminating Parking Minimums

  1. Reduced Traffic Congestion: When developers are not tied to these regulations, they have more flexibility to create developments that are better suited to the needs of the community, such as housing communities that are easier to navigate, thus reducing the number of cars on the road. This also promotes alternative public transportation and micro-mobility options, such as e-bikes or scooters.
  2. Improved Environment: Abolishing parking minimums would not only encourage alternative transportation methods, but would help the environment as lower automobile use can reduce local emissions and pollution from cars.
  3. Cost Savings: Eliminating the requirement allows for builders to significantly reduce the cost of a development, leading to lower housing costs, increased affordability and more efficient use of land. 

Potential Cons for Eliminating Parking Minimums:

  1. Limited Availability of Parking: Without parking requirements, developers may choose to build fewer parking spaces, leading to a shortage of parking for residents, customers and employees.
  2. Increased Traffic Congestion: While eliminating parking can reduce traffic congestion in some cases, it can also lead to increased traffic congestion in others, such as drivers circling the block looking for a parking space. This can not only lead to traffic congestion, but increased carbon emissions and air pollution as well.
  3. Added Pressure for City Officials: Eliminating parking minimums will create added pressure on city officials, planners and parking managers to manage on-street parking efficiently and effectively for their constituents.

The key to remember in this debate is that eliminating parking minimums does not eliminate parking. There is still a high demand for mobility management and Passport’s platform provides the data and insights needed to make these types of strategic decisions, all within a more integrated, efficient and reliable system.

In fact, Tobias Marx, Parking Services Division Manager at City of Bend, wrote an op-ed on this topic debating whether or not eliminating parking mandates creates opportunity for innovation. As a Passport client, we value his thoughts on the matter and will pose the same question: are you willing to innovate?

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