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Asked a question 7 months ago

Does anyone know of any examples of local governments that have that incrementally moved towards ending parking minimums without abolishing them altogether? Our township has reduced parking minimums and has a few mechanisms to waive them with transit connections, bike access etc. Just looking for additional ideas.

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Here in Roanoke, VA, we eliminated minimums in Downtown, Neighborhood Commercial, Urban Flex, Recreation districts, and all of our PUD districts; Even where we retain minimums, we have steep reductions for access to transit, on-street parking availability, Single-family houses have no parking requirement. Also, we have maximums to limit excessive lots. We are headed in the direction to eliminate them altogether.

Paul CorderStrong Towns Member
City of Lebanon, TN Planning Director

A large local bank was building a new headquarters in town.  Their plan called for 95 fewer spaces than our zoning code required.  I used this opportunity to communicate that planners are really bad at knowing how many parking spaces are needed for a project.  I sold the idea that we want the developers to choice how many parking spaces they think they need, instead of having the planners pick a number that is not based on anything real.  We also have flooding problems here so I pushed the idea that flooding was a bigger problem than parking.  As a result the city cut the parking requirements city wide and for every use in half.

Nathan ChungStrong Towns Member
Graduate Student of Regional and Urban Planning

The Pioneer Valley region in Western Massachusetts implemented a rental e-bike system with docks called Valley Bikes as a way to reduce car dependency. Towns like Amherst, which is still very much car-dependent, do have provisions in their zoning code that allows for bypassing the parking minimum requirement if the property developer can demonstrate a parking management plan similar to what you described. Northampton has a provision for shared parking spaces in their zoning code: "Through a special permit, allow a greater percentage reduction where joint use of the same spaces by two or more uses or establishments is justifiable by virtue of the fact that the uses or establishments generate peak demand at substantially different time periods."

Ethan-  Tallahassee, Florida, established a "Parking Standards Committee" which is authorized to approve significant reductions to the number of parking spaces specified by the code, based on a parking needs analysis submitted by the developer.  The specified minimums are fairly standard, and in general few developers have submitted requests for reductions.  -Gordon