Graphing Parking — and Parking Requirements

Thanks to Kevin Woodard over at Reinventing Parking, we now are linked to Seth Goodman at “Graphing Parking.”

The young architect has begun a five part project of graphing the major metropolitan areas in the US with reference to the parking requirements thrust upon commercial activity by local ordinances.  In his ‘about’ section he does pay homage to Don Shoup and his book, “The High Cost of Free Parking.”

Goodwin takes a graphical approach to show how inconsistent different municipalities are when it comes to placing parking requirements on business. For instance, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and Seattle all require 100 spaces for a 100,000 square foot building while Albuquerque, Austin, and San Jose require upwards of 400 spaces for the same building. Indianapolis  goes schitzo requiring 0 spaces in some areas, 120 in others, and 350 in others, all within the same city.

Goodwin has three posts so far, dealing with apartments, restaurants and office buildings, and two more to come. Its quite a feat of research and deserves a look.

In the end, he confirms what Shoup wrote half a decade a go. Parking requirements are useless, ridiculous, and in fact harm the very down towns they are there to protect. Goodwin mimics Shoup in saying

Minimum parking requirements can lead to a massive oversupply of parking. This wastefulness hurts companies bottom lines and the economy at large. Cities often make exceptions or reductions in special zones, but why should offices have to be located downtown to choose to build less parking. People can carpool anywhere, and while transit and pedestrian infrastructure may be less developed in some places, it would be expanded if more people demanded it.

Yes, it would be better if individual builders, developers, and business owners could make the decisions as to how much parking was needed for their commercial activity.

But then, city bureaucrats would have to give up control.

JVH

 

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