Strong Towns – Minimum Parking Requirements, what happens when they disappear?

Much of this post comes straight from the Strong Towns blog, so for a longer read, see Parking Minimums: From 101 to Taking Action

Edmonton (pop 932,546, Density ~1,855 people per km2), the oil capital of Canada, was the first major Canadian city to drop its minimum parking requirements. New rules went into effect in early July [2020]. Was there parking chaos? Not at all, and a number of projects have now been put forward with limited or no parking.

From CBC News: Previously, the city required businesses and developers to provide a specific number of spaces depending on the size and nature of the building, but now it will be up to the developer or business to decide how much on-site parking to have on their properties.

Hartford is a modest city in central Connecticut that made history last year [2017] when it removed parking minimum laws citywide. The city of 125,000 people has a density of 2,716 people per km2, a modest downtown and most of the housing stock does not rise above three stories. Removal of minimum parking requirements has made repurposing easier, as offices were converted to residential without the burden of parking requirements. Over all, property owners benefited and human-scaled development flourished as a result of the removal of parking minimums. The city did not receive any negative responses to these changes. This might sound surprising, but  research shows that parking minimum removals aren’t protested nearly as much as most cities seem to fear.

Strong Towns crowd-sourced map of cities that have made significant progress toward eliminating their parking requirements, or have scrapped them entirely.

“Notice that we [Strong Towns] didn’t say no city or town should have parking. There is nothing wrong with a business opting to provide parking for its customers, or a residential building providing it for its residents. But those businesses are perfectly capable of assessing their own need for parking, and weighing it against the other, potentially more valuable things they might do with the same land. Only when parking is not mandated can we do that weighing, decide what it’s actually worth to us, and price it accordingly.”

Category: News

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