Reinventing parking. Minimum Parking Requirements: what happens when they disappear?

Much of this post comes straight from Paul Barter’s Reinventing Parking Blog

Berlin abolished its minimum parking requirements (MPR) in the 1990s, only keeping requirements for disability spaces and bicycles. The results were mixed. Studies have found that it helped reduce development costs, and there is somewhat less parking than before in various developments, but certain high-end, ‘international standard’ developments still provide plentiful parking. Of note is that there was no pushback on removal of MPR. Parking nuisance existed with MPR and exists after MPR was removed. Parking is defined as ‘stationary traffic’ and parking violations enforcement is said to be at a low level across Germany.

Feral parking in Duisburg, even though the Parking signage shows over 600 off-street car parks are available.

In London the minimum off-street parking standard was replaced by a maximum in 2004; parking supply was reduced by approximately 40 per cent. Complementary policies such as strict parking maxima, on-street parking controls and parking taxes are often necessary to form an efficient parking market.

Japanese small buildings are totally exempt from MPR (usually those below 1500m2 of floor space). The minimum parking mandate then phases in only gradually as the floor area of the proposed building increases. The requirements only reach full strength at about 6000m2 of floor space. There is a total ban on overnight on-street parking, which makes a proof-of-parking law work more easily without corrupting the police. Japanese cities do provide brief [I am calling this 5 minutes] on-street stops for drop-offs, brief errands and deliveries. This seems not to cause problems in these small streets that have little traffic and very low speeds (Learn from Japan! Paul Barter’s interview with Rebecca Clements). How parking markets works – variations between different contexts, such as differences in property prices, parking demand and mobility mixes – mean that parking market outcomes do vary, reflecting their inherent market responsiveness. For example, areas that are more car-dependent tend to have more public parking at lower prices.

Hitachinaka (pop154,631, density 1,500 people per km2) Newport car parking. Low minimum parking requirements do not necessarily limit parking (p92*)

Paul Barter’s best work is a report he authored for the Asian Development Bank on ‘Parking Policy in Asian Cities’*, which investigated parking policy across 14 large metropolitan areas throughout Asia. There is a lot in his report. The following are a few highlights.

  1. Whose responsibility is parking supply? – In Japan it is neither the real estate developers’, nor the local governments’, but the car owners themselves (p23).
  2. Creating off-street parking does not magically suck cars away from streets. Motorists will park in the most convenient spaces, in the streets, so long as the consequences or costs are minimal. (p89)
  3. Each broad approach to parking has its own hidden assumptions. This causes confusion in parking policy debates. Participants working under one set of assumptions will often be baffled by arguments based on another approach. (p23)
  4. Excessive residential parking requirements, especially for small units, have the potential to harm housing affordability, which is an important issue in most cities (p30)
  5. Concern over on-street parking drives much of parking policy – This is based on the assumption that on-street parking is the result of inadequate spaces off-street. It is clear that plentiful off-street parking provides no guarantee of orderly on-street parking (p43).
All these cars could be parked off street or along the street

How on-street parking is rationed (Taipei city) Occupancy of 80% triggers an upward revision, while occupancy below 50% triggers a downward revision. (p48)

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