City Finds Parking Surplus Costly


City Finds Parking Surplus Costly

It was 1963 the last time officials in Alexandria, Virginia reviewed city parking needs. Lately, they’ve begun to realize that it’s time for an update. Residents, city leaders and developers have been working on a parking survey, reports, and the consensus is that the city has much more parking than it needs. The study came after five years of regular approvals for reductions of parking requirements from commercial developments.

A survey of 60 sites performed for the task force found all but one had lower parking demand than required — the average peak occupancy in those lots was 59 percent.

Most of the time we read this kind of news article about the opposite scenario. City leaders want to ensure adequate parking and determinedly resist revisiting parking minimums. Local businesses, too, are often clamoring for plentiful parking. And the residents don’t complain about open lots much, either.

But in Alexandria, it is being determined that too much parking is costing business owners money, and that cost naturally transfers to the city and its residents. It’s also been recognized that public transit is on the rise, and tourists are more and more devoted to ride sharing their way into town.

Instead of arguing against the obvious, the city is considering decreasing parking requirements to spare business owners the trouble of asking for reductions. A policy that reduces parking requirements will not only save them the cost of building unnecessary parking, but also the fees and delays incurred asking for deferrals. Sounds smart to me.

Read the article here.

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John Van Horn

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