The Hidden Cost of Bundled Parking

C.J. Gabbe, Gregory Pierce

Urban renters in the US face fast-rising housing prices, especially in coastal metropolitan areas. Price increases are in part due to restrictive land-use regulations. Minimum off-street parking requirements, a central component of land-use regulation in the US, warrant detailed study and policy reform. In most cities today, municipal regulation requires developers to provide on-site parking. Renters or buyers then pay for this parking as part of their monthly rent or purchase price; the price of parking is thus “bundled” with the price of the housing unit. While many households might have chosen to pay for on-site parking in a free market, this proportion is surely lower than what has been mandated. Moreover, the historical effect of minimums and bundled parking hides a transportation cost burden in housing prices, leaving households unable to choose. Minimum parking requirements force developers to build costly parking spaces that drive up the price of housing. Urban policymakers have recently taken an interest in reforming parking regulations and allowing unbundled parking based on social equity and environmental sustainability rationales.

Do Cities Have Too Much Parking?

Andrew M. Fraser, Mikhail Chester, Juan Matute, and Ram Pendvala

Minimum parking requirements create more parking than is needed. This in turn encourages more driving at a time when cities seek to reduce congestion and increase transit use, biking, and walking. After nearly a century of development under these requirements, parking now dominates our cities.

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2017-08-14T17:48:32+00:00 Categories: ACCESS 49, Fall 2016|Tags: , |

Cruising for Parking: Lessons from San Francisco

Andrew Millard-Ball, Rachel Weinberger, and Robert C. Hampshire

Parking management has been a vexing problem for cities since the invention of the automobile. Among the concerns are traffic congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions caused by drivers searching for available parking—an activity colloquially known as cruising. Cruising for parking in a 15-block business district in Los Angeles has been estimated to produce 3,600 miles of excess travel each day—equivalent to two round trips to the Moon each year.

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2017-05-24T22:17:24+00:00 Categories: ACCESS 49, Fall 2016|Tags: |

Market-Priced Parking in Theory and Practice

Michael Manville and Daniel G. Chatman

One of the first lessons of economics is that price controls lead to shortages, and shortages lead to queues. Street parking vividly illustrates this principle. Many cities keep valuable street spaces free or underpriced, and as a result they fill up quickly, creating shortages at busy times. These shortages then create moving queues as drivers circle the block, or “cruise,” searching for spaces. Cruising, in turn, creates congestion and pollution.

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2017-06-02T21:53:48+00:00 Categories: ACCESS 49, Fall 2016|Tags: |

Parking Management for Smart Growth

Richard Willson

Parking is the sacred cow of land uses. It claims privileged status in zoning codes and there is simply too much of it in cities. Previous ACCESS articles reveal problems with minimum parking requirements; show how excess parking harms livability, sustainability, and equity; and explain how pricing can manage its use. This article demonstrates that progress requires more than code reforms and better pricing; it requires coordinated, comprehensive parking management. We need to shift from building parking to managing it.

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2017-05-26T21:15:49+00:00 Categories: ACCESS 49, Fall 2016|Tags: |

From Parking Minimums to Parking Maximums in London

Zhan Guo

Minimum parking requirements create too much parking, reduce the supply of housing, and increase traffic congestion. Without parking requirements, the market would provide fewer parking spaces, resulting in fewer cars and more housing units. Evidence to support this argument is inconclusive, however, in part because few local governments have removed their parking requirements. Even when they do adjust parking requirements, the changes are usually quite minor, often targeting small areas (e.g., near a rail station) and including only a few development types.

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2017-05-26T21:23:33+00:00 Categories: ACCESS 49, Fall 2016|Tags: |

Cutting the Cost of Parking Requirements

Donald Shoup

At the dawn of the automobile age, suppose Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller had hired you to devise policies to increase the demand for cars and gasoline. What planning regulations would make a car the obvious choice for most travel? First, segregate land uses (housing here, jobs there, shopping somewhere else) to increase travel demand. Second, limit density at every site to spread the city, further increasing travel demand. Third, require ample off-street parking everywhere, making cars the default way to travel.

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Does Transit-Oriented Development Need the Transit?

Daniel G. Chatman

Urban planners have invested a lot of energy in the idea of transit-oriented developments (TODs). Developing dense housing near rail stations with mixed land uses and better walkability is intended to encourage people to walk, bike, and take transit instead of driving. But TODs can also be expensive, largely because rail itself is expensive. In one study, the average cost for light rail construction was $61 million per mile in 2009 dollars.

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