Policy Minute: Minimum Parking Requirements
New York City’s Zoning for Quality and Affordability zoning text amendment recently started winding its way through the city’s public review process. The proposal aims to reform a number of zoning provisions that the city claims are unnecessarily hindering the creation of housing and driving up its cost. Among other provisions, the amendment takes on New York City’s minimum parking requirements.
While affordable housing is currently exempt from parking requirements in a few areas of the city, affordable housing developers are required to provide some off-street parking in most neighborhoods, which drives up the cost of that housing. The amendment proposes to eliminate off-street parking requirements for new affordable housing in “Transit Zones,” defined as areas with good access to public transit (see proposal description).
- In NYC, developers are required to provide about 40 new off-street parking spaces for every 100 new housing units. More >>
- "The median municipality in the U.S. requires that developers set aside 1.5 parking spaces for each two-bedroom unit. Given that a parking space requires 300-400 sq. ft. of building area, these regulations typically add about 50% of the floor area needed to build a 900-square-foot apartment." More >>
- "Data suggest that parking requirements cause developers to build more parking spaces than they otherwise would based on what they believe their prospective tenants or buyers demand." More >>
- Reducing Minimum Parking Requirements May Improve Housing Affordability
In a just-released chapter in The Next Urban Renaissance: How Public-Policy Innovation and Evaluation Can Improve Life in America’s Cities, NYU Furman Center Faculty Director Ingrid Gould Ellen hiighlights reducing minimum parking requirements as one of three potential strategies cities can adopt to improve housing affordability with little government spending. More >>
- NYC’s Parking Supply May Surpass Demand
A policy brief by the NYU Furman Center, Searching for the Right Spot: Minimum Parking Requirements and Housing Affordability in New York City (PDF), examined New York City’s minimum residential parking requirements’ possible effects on housing affordability and sustainability. The study concluded that the requirements may cause developers to supply more off-street parking spaces than they expect tenants and homebuyers to demand, potentially driving up the cost of housing and promoting inefficient car ownership. More >>
- Exploring the impact of London’s parking reform on residential parking supply
From Minimum to Maximum: Impact of the London Parking Reform on Residential Parking Supply from 2004 to 2010? by NYU Furman Center Faculty Affiliate Zhan Guo and Shuai Ren (Urban Studies Journal, 1-18, 2012) examines the change in the residential parking supply in London after minimum off-street parking requirements were replaced by a maximum standard. More >>
- In some jurisdictions, requirements have caused developers to overbuild parking
Do Parking Requirements Significantly Increase the Area Dedicated to Parking? A Test of the Effect of Parking Requirements Values in Los Angeles County by W. Bowman Cutter and Sofia Franco (Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 46, No. 6, 2012) found that, in many jurisdictions, minimum parking requirements are forcing developers to build more parking spaces than they would otherwise build. More >>
"Even apartment dwellers without cars are effectively forced to pay for the cost of a parking space because the cost of parking provision makes development more expensive."
-Ingrid Gould Ellen, NYU Furman Center Faculty Director, The Next Urban Renaissance: How Public-Policy Innovation and Evaluation Can Improve Life in America’s Cities
$31,000: The estimated cost of a Los Angeles parking space (Donald C. Shoup, The High Cost of Free Parking, [Chicago: APA Planners Press, 2011])
Spotlight On: Seattle
Seattle’s new idea would require developers to "offer new tenants a suite of alternative transport options. So instead of getting a parking spot, a resident might get a transit pass or a bike-share membership instead—a trade that, over time, should reduce parking demand and promote car-free living." (CityLab, Eric Jaffe, 5/8/2015)
See also: Seattle Planning Department proposal (PDF)
IN THE MEDIA: CityLab: An Unusual Objection to Less Parking: It Will Make Our City Too Nice (Eric Jaffe, 9/21/2015)
VIDEO: ITDP Mexico: Less parking, more city
FOR MORE: Reinventing Parking tracks parking policy and reform across the globe.
Policy Minute, prepared and distributed by the NYU Furman Center, highlights research and discussion relevant to current policy debates. Join our mailing list to receive Policy Minute by email.