What are the effects of eliminating parking spaces?

Article by: Tom Wiese, Sales Associate at Passport


Eliminating parking spaces – it’s a thing. Today, cities are starting to change their zoning rules to reduce parking requirements. In the past, the standard parking ratio was 1:1. For every person, there was one parking space. Typical, right? Now, many cities like Buffalo, New York City, Chicago, D.C., and Seattle are changing their rules to decrease the amount of parking associated with developments.

Eliminating Parking Spaces

The trend of eliminating parking spaces and requirements increases mass transit use, lowers rental prices, and helps the low income individual. Since we all know parking isn’t free. Developers are even moving away from building an excess amount of parking spaces, which further encourages people to take advantage of public transit. Rather than supplying a parking spot for each tenant, cities like Seattle are pushing apartment complexes to discourage the building of parking lots and garages and encouraging builders to give tenants transit passes.

How cities are eliminating parking spaces


Building an excess amount of parking spots is extremely pricey. According to the Metropolitan Planning Council, it costs about $20,000 to build a single parking spot, which means complexes have to up rental prices to break-even. Reducing the development of parking spots lowers rent, and reduces building costs, decreases emissions, and cuts traffic congestion. It really is a win-win-win for the resident, city, and complex.


Developers in New York City are moving away from creating an excess number of parking spots. The Hudson Yards project, for example, is set to build over 5,000 housing units, five office towers, and a variety of retail centers. The amount of parking spaces they’re building? 200. Sounds crazy, right? It’s actually not. The decrease in parking spots equals more motivation to take transit, which in turn reduces congestion, emissions, and improves city living.


Seattle continues to change the parking game. A new idea was presented to the city council that pushed parking policy to an entirely new level. The idea incorporated pushing developers and complexes to offer tenants a “suite of alternative transit options”. If you decided to ditch your Honda Civic and opt to take the light rail into work, your light rail pass would be on the house; the complex’s house. If that decreases my rent, helps the environment, and I can take advantage of free public transportation – why wouldn’t I be all for the policy?


Encouraging people to take public transportation reduces parking demand, while simultaneously promoting car-free living. As more developers and cities veer toward the elimination of parking spaces, the transit industry will continue to gain popularity in urban areas.