Imaginary Parking Spaces Crowding Norfolk, Virginia


Imaginary Parking Spaces Crowding Norfolk, Virginia

In their efforts to facilitate commercial use of historic buildings, planning officials in Norfolk, Virginia have been relying on a creative application of parking requirements. As older buildings are converted to new businesses, the city bypasses parking minimums by offering a credit for one space per 250 square feet, according to

This policy has created imaginary parking all over the city. It has worked until now, but as more and  more old spaces are updated, officials are concerned that there might be too much parking in Norfolk. They are considering a new equation for parking requirements around historic buildings.

The change would involve either lowering the parking requirement 50 percent or 30 percent, depending on where the property is located. Old buildings either downtown or in the “traditional” district – neighborhoods in the southwest quadrant of the city – would only need to find half the required parking spaces for their new uses.

Norfolk’s imaginary parking policy sounds down right crazy. I want to go park my imaginary car there and pay for my parking with imaginary money. But the reasons for the odd approach are sound and admirable: the city wants to preserve older buildings and maintain the character of its historic areas. Leaders don’t want Norfolk to look like every other city.

I’m not sure about imaginary parking, but I am positive about valuing the heritage of architecture.

Read the article here.

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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