Parking Minimums Removed Across the City

This week, the Raleigh City Council voted to remove all parking minimums for new developments across the entire city. This extends a previous parking reduction that was done in 2020 that mainly affected the downtown area. You can watch the discussion and vote in the embedded video above or directly on YouTube here.

It is worth reiterating that parking is not banned city-wide. It only removes the minimums required and, generally speaking, allows new projects to choose the amount of parking to be built. In some cases, there are maximums in place.

From what I’m seeing, right now new buildings in downtown are building above the minimums anyway. In the future, as transit options come online and our city adds more people, those who prefer to travel car-light or even car-less will benefit from a city that doesn’t dedicate so much space to parking vehicles.

Indeed, climate impacts and sustainability is a big driver of this change, as written out in the text change itself.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS

Adoption of TC-11-21 would:

1. Because it removes subsidies and incentives for car ownership (because rent typically does not vary depending on whether a car is stored on a property or not, so there is no extra cost for car ownership) it would tend to reduce vehicle miles traveled and associated air pollution and carbon
emissions.

2. Mitigate the climate change, stormwater, and other impacts created by large areas of paved parking.

3. Tend to reduce the cost of housing and goods and services by requiring less land to be used for vehicle storage. It would prevent households without cars from paying for parking they do not use.

4. Potentially lead to increased demand for on-street parking in some locations. If issues arise, excessive demand can be addressed through the creation of new residential parking permit areas, adjusting on-street parking pricing, and providing additional public parking.

https://go.boarddocs.com/nc/raleigh/Board.nsf/files/CC5L9Q54981F/$file/20220315PLANDEVTC-11-21StaffReportandDraftOrdinance.pdf

From a sustainability and land-use point-of-view, I think it’s great to address problems of having too little parking on a case-by-case basis (point #4) rather than the problems of having to much. Well managed on-street parking programs are common in larger cities and it’s probably time Raleigh get into that game.

The change is a great, incremental step in the right direction and it’ll take time for the city to adjust. The next step will be to give Raleighites a transit system that allows for all of us to get around while putting less miles on our cars. That kind of Raleigh may lead to shorter buildings (less floors for parking), more destinations closer together, and more vitality to neighborhoods.

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