Great Parking Not Worth a Housing Crisis


Great Parking Not Worth a Housing Crisis

I saw this headline over on Park News and I went ballistic. Parking gets blamed for everything from Climate Change to Original Sin, but how was it getting blamed for a housing crisis. As I read the article I calmed down quickly. You can read the entire article over on 

It wasn’t a story necessarily blaming parking about the lack of housing, but rather a story about parking minimums and how they can lead to fewer and more expensive apartments being built. It extensively quotes Mike Manville, a protégé of Don Shoup at UCLA who has done extensive research in this area.

“Removing parking requirements doesn’t remove the problem (buyers might still want parking), but it does remove the one-size-fits-all solution,” Manville writes. “Developers can provide parking in the way they think is best, the same way they already provide pools, fitness centers and other amenities.” The result was “more housing with less parking, often in buildings and neighborhoods they had long ignored.”

The experiment worked in downtown. There’s no reason to think it couldn’t work throughout the city, especially if combined with another key ingredient in the downtown trial: eliminating free street parking. “When cities don’t give on-street spaces away for free, developers will provide — and drivers will pay for — spaces off-street,” writes Manville. Let the market work.

Those of you who frequent this blog may remember a number of pieces about “letting the market work” and “one size doesn’t fit all.” I’m honored that Mike agrees with me.

This article with clickbait, with that misleading headline. Easing parking requirements can help housing, but also help other issues in a downtown core including development, refurbishment of existing buildings, and neighborhood renewal. Some people like to pay for parking separately from their rent, some don’t own two cars and don’t need two spaces, some may like to park or a surface lot, or pay less in a structure nearby. One size doesn’t fit all.

Let the market work.


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John Van Horn

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