Wednesday, June 25, 2008

San Fran De-couples Parking from Residential Units

Chronicle Link
"We hope the legislation increases housing affordability for people who don't need a car and that the space that might have been used for parking can be used in a more productive way," said Tom Radulovich, executive director at Livable City, a nonprofit organization that promotes a less auto-dependent society.
Most cities have zoning ordinances requiring (at least) one parking space per residential unit and often the market is similar. But in places where the market trends towards less, it proves the ridiculous nature of parking minimums, ie San Fran where it is a downright burden to have a car in some places.

Furthermore, construction costs of garages to handle the parking loads forced upon developers in urban locations (thus meaning urban densities) by antiquated zoning becomes a downright burden as covered parking spaces can range from 20K to 30K per spaces, location dependent.

My building in Dallas, where yes, it is indeed possible to live sans-auto, built a parking garage for the retail and residential components of the building as part of the renovation a few years back. The parking for the grocery store and cafe is downright minimal, one level. The remainder of the five-story garage, sits maybe half-full at peak times in a building that requires you to pay $75/month for non-marked space and $110/month for private parking space, an expense of which I opted out.

The issue is that mandated parking requirements such as these are what is hindering the preponderance of vacant and underdeveloped lots in downtown Dallas from redeveloping, among other things (read: out of town ownership of surface parking lots). The City should think strongly about removing parking minimums if not placing parking maximums on new and existing development.