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Buffalo’s parking reform having noticeable impact on development

Elimination of mandatory parking allotments encourages new projects.

June 17, 2021 |

Courtesy Pixabay

In 2017, Buffalo, New York, revamped its zoning code to cease requiring a minimum amount of parking for commercial and residential projects.

A study of the impacts of the change found an uptick in development, particularly in commercial corridors served by public transportation. Inactive storefronts, underutilized historic structures, and former industrial buildings are being rehabilitated. Vacant parcels are being developed in fragmented neighborhoods.

The study looked at projects underway from April 2017 to April 2019. Developers of 14 sites mixing retail space and residential units incorporated 53% fewer parking spaces than required under the old zoning rules. Four of these added no parking.

Buffalo’s action seems to have sparked parking reform around the country. Minneapolis, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Raleigh, and Richmond are among the cities considering similar changes.

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