Is Parking a Way to Improve Urbanism?

Oct 14, 2016

Is Parking a Way to Improve Urbanism?

There was an interesting article recently about how to improve urbanism in the United States.

In, a nonprofit group that writes about transportation and land use issues in Minnesota, the writers offered eight ways to improve the urban landscape through small, incremental changes.

As to be expected, they included two ideas on how parking is an important factor in reshaping urban areas: 1) Eliminate parking minimums. They argue: “There is no bigger detriment to urban centers than parking. It adds costs to private development and drives up rents. Car storage is a terribly inefficient way to allocate land, especially in existing walkable neighborhoods. If you want to make your downtown more livable, the first policy move should be to eliminate (or, reduce if elimination is not politically feasible) all parking requirements.” 2) Sell public surface parking lots for $1.

They write: “Cities and towns are sitting on a gold mine of under-utilized land, specifically public open-surface parking lots. What is open surface parking getting you?

The answer is very little.

This is easy: sell them to the highest bidder. Have an auction, start at $1 and sell to the highest bidder.

Code the specific site to hit all the urban guidelines fitting of a form based code and require development start within 3 to 5 years.” What do you think? Is parking a way to improve urbanism?