Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Urban Parking

Via MSNBC - Cities rethinking '50s-era parking standards
D.C. is now considering scrapping those [parking space] requirements — part of a growing national trend. Officials hope that offering the freedom to forgo parking will lead to denser, more walkable, transit-friendly development...

Parking requirements — known to planners as "parking minimums" — have been around since the 1950s. The theory is that if buildings don't provide their own parking, too many drivers will try to park on neighborhood streets.

In practice, critics say, the requirements create an excess supply of parking, making it artificially cheap. That, the argument goes, encourages unnecessary driving and makes congestion worse. The standards also encourage people to build unsightly surface lots and garages instead of inviting storefronts and residential facades, they say. Walkers must dodge cars pulling in and out of driveways, and curb cuts eat up space that could otherwise be used for trees.

Reading this article reminded me of a study by my old grad school committee member Bryan Pijanowski that found communities had more parking spaces than vehicles.

Parking Spaces Outnumber Drivers 3 To 1, Drive Pollution And Warming

The hidden costs of free parking – one space at a time