Planners, city official rethink parking requirements on new projects

Reducing number of parking spots frees up land for ‘more purposeful’ uses.

August 01, 2019 |

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Two recent articles indicate that city planners and officials are reexamining parking requirements for new developments.

The Boston Globe, reporting on a recent survey of parking garages and lots dedicated to apartment buildings in the Boston area, highlighted the finding that about 30% of spaces were vacant in the wee hours of the morning.

Buildings with easy subway or commuter rail access to job centers, or those with more affordable housing, tended to have more empty spaces, the report says. When new projects are proposed, neighborhood residents are concerned about losing on-street parking to newcomers, so they tend to push for robust parking requirements.

In recent years, though, cities have begun to ease parking requirements. Boston, for instance, generally requires less parking at buildings in its denser neighborhoods, and close to public transit stations. The City of Santa Monica, Calif., has eliminated parking requirements on new development downtown, according to a GlobeSt report. The result is a more walkable shopping district that provides retailers and restaurants with more buildable space.

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