Parking Minimums a Political Football?


Parking Minimums a Political Football?

This issue caused no end of controversy here in California with no less than Donald Shoup weighing in. The deal was an attempt to remove parking minimums in transit zones. The idea being that developers would be enticed to build housing near transit stations if they could decide for themselves how many parking spaces the development needed. This went down to defeat in California.

Now we find that Washington DC has a similar proposal that is about to bite the dust, too. Read about it here.

This seems like a reasonable idea. The transit zones already have transportation, with the subway or bus service right there. If ever there was a place to eliminate parking requirements it would be here. But no.

People complain that there won’t be enough on street parking as folks who move there will park on the streets taking valuable spaces away from current residents. So the councils yield, and little progress is made.

I wonder if maybe, just maybe, there is more to it than that. The ability to ‘adjust’ the minimum parking requirements lies with local boards and councils. The requests for such ‘adjustments’ come from big money developers. Now if the requirement for minimum parking went away, then there would be nothing for the council to ‘adjust’ and potential donations to a particular election campaign might not happen.

Am I being cynical, or not?


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. I’m not a fan of parking minimums in general, but here in Las Vegas which is arguably the epicenter of real estate flipping, it has happened with a number of developments that a big developer will come in, build a building with not enough parking (and they know it), then flip it and make it someone else’s problem.

    You would expect private industry to take over at this point and build additional parking to meet the needs because it’s a profit center, but the break-even requirements for structured parking plus land cost just don’t pencil with the market parking rates ($50-$75 for monthly parking and $2.00-$5.00 per hour for transient parking). Oh, I know the rates will get there, but they have to triple or quadruple first, and they have to be in line with office and retail rental rates which are extremely low in the market; who’s going to lease space if your parking costs more than your rent?

    So it’s officially my problem until everything balances out. Sigh.

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