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Nimble Cities, Week One: Putting Parking Under Scrutiny

They are all around you. They influence the way you live, and the look of where you live. They cost you whether you drive or not. They are minimum parking requirements. This week, over at the Nimble Cities project, I write about the idea, proposed by a number of readers, to reform or even abolish parking minimums.

Relatedly, and I’m late to post this, but Paul Barter over at Reinventing Urban Transport explains that while building/zoning codes often treat parking curiously like toilets — a big necessity — there are reasons why this comparison is flawed.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 at 4:46 pm and is filed under Parking. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Nimble Cities, Week One: Putting Parking Under Scrutiny”

  1. Brent Says:

    My brother, a contractor, tells me a curious fact about California building code: parking spaces are dimensioned carefully, with minimum size requirements and location. Bedrooms, by contrast, have no size requirements, but they must have a window. In a sense, the car has become the minimum unit size in California cities.

  2. Jonathan Says:

    I first ran into the parking requirement when I asked the local REI why they didn’t have a bicycle rack. Turns out, they were down to the minimum number of required parking spaces and couldn’t turn even ONE of them over to a bicycle rack.

    They came up with a decent solution: posting a sign welcoming cyclists to lock up their bicycles on the loading dock, but the whole situation is rather ridiculous.

  3. George Says:

    On one of our favorite bicycling routes is a small country resturant/takeout. A few years ago the county goverment put a limit of 8 on the number of chairs in the stores dining room. This was done because the store had only 8 parking spaces and a neighbor complained about cars parking on the side of the road.

    We kid the owner that being bicyclist the rule should not apply to us and that an extra chair per bicyclist eating would make sense.

    The bicycle stand is on the lawn so as not to reduce the parking/chair count by one.

  4. townmouse Says:

    It happens in the UK too. I was amazed to discover that a local proposed ‘eco’ housing development was being planned on the basis of 1.5 cars per household (roughly – I think the parking is actually predicated on the number of bedrooms per house). Truly eco-friendly housing projects that actually want to limit space for cars have to fight very hard to be allowed to do so. Insane.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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