Author Topic: Austin abolishes parking minimums  (Read 695 times)

FireLane

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Austin abolishes parking minimums
« on: November 05, 2023, 01:43:53 PM »
Good news for those of us who want to see America break its addiction to cars:

https://www.texastribune.org/2023/11/02/austin-minimum-parking-requirements-housing-shortage/

Quote
The Austin City Council voted 8-2 Thursday to wipe out minimum parking requirements for virtually every kind of property citywide. That includes single-family homes, apartment buildings, offices and shopping malls.

...Until now, Austin set out requirements for virtually every way people use land: community gardens, art galleries, funeral homes and restaurants. In a state with a high number of drunken driving incidents, Austin like other major Texas cities required a certain amount of parking at liquor stores, cocktail lounges and breweries.

For residential properties, those requirements stifle the amount of housing that can be built and lead to higher housing costs for tenants who may not even own a car, critics of the rules say. Austin has required every single-family home to have room to park at least two cars. For apartments, that requirement was one-and-a-half spaces for a one-bedroom apartment plus half a space for every additional bedroom.

Parking requirements feed sprawl and make cities less walkable. They contribute to pollution and climate change. And they gobble up scarce land, directly contributing to housing shortages and higher costs for people who want to live there.

Cars are convenient and useful, but they should be treated as what they are - a luxury - and not an essential appliance for living. Forcing housing developers to include them, by law, is as absurd as laws requiring every new house to have a room set aside just for the TV.

We should be redesigning our cities to encourage walking, bikes, and mass transit. Scrapping parking minimums is a good first step.

GilesMM

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Re: Austin abolishes parking minimums
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2023, 08:54:43 PM »
If only Austin had decent public transportation. The new rule may just make it harder to find parking but not a lot else on the car side of the equation.

Log

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Re: Austin abolishes parking minimums
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2023, 12:38:50 AM »
If only Austin had decent public transportation. The new rule may just make it harder to find parking but not a lot else on the car side of the equation.

But waiting until there's good public transportation before you do anything to change car dominance just maintains the status quo of shitty public transportation... Abolishing parking minimums won't mean car parking disappearing overnight, but it will open up more development opportunities (whether residential, commercial, or mixed use) in neighborhoods that are already near transit or other walkable areas.

Austin, like almost every city in the US, has a ridiculous excess of parking spaces - people only complain about parking because they have an unreasonable expectation that their parking space should always be free and right in front of their destination. The only real negative consequence for drivers of abolishing parking minimums is that some people may start needing to walk slightly further from their parking space to their final destination. The benefits that come from that small cost are immense, and abolishing parking minimums is an absolutely crucial early step for any city trying to initiate a long-term transition towards becoming a more eco-friendly, livable, walkable city.

dcheesi

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Re: Austin abolishes parking minimums
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2023, 05:12:04 AM »
If only Austin had decent public transportation. The new rule may just make it harder to find parking but not a lot else on the car side of the equation.

But waiting until there's good public transportation before you do anything to change car dominance just maintains the status quo of shitty public transportation... Abolishing parking minimums won't mean car parking disappearing overnight, but it will open up more development opportunities (whether residential, commercial, or mixed use) in neighborhoods that are already near transit or other walkable areas.

Austin, like almost every city in the US, has a ridiculous excess of parking spaces - people only complain about parking because they have an unreasonable expectation that their parking space should always be free and right in front of their destination. The only real negative consequence for drivers of abolishing parking minimums is that some people may start needing to walk slightly further from their parking space to their final destination. The benefits that come from that small cost are immense, and abolishing parking minimums is an absolutely crucial early step for any city trying to initiate a long-term transition towards becoming a more eco-friendly, livable, walkable city.
Plus, reduced parking requirements encourage higher density, and higher density makes public transit more feasible (at least easier to justify, if not fully self-sustaining). There's a whole chicken-and-egg thing there, and removing parking minimums is one way to get the ball rolling without a large up-front public expense.

 

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