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Future parking requirements


The way we shop is changing as more and more businesses are going including a buy-on-line and have your goods delivered to your vehicle. Additionally, there are more transportation changes pending, including autonomous vehicles and ride sharing programs.

Which poses the question of how are you calculating parking requirements for new development. I have heard that some communities are doing away with a 2 spaces per dwelling and dropping it to 1.25 and cutting parking for big box stores by 50% to 60%. Is there anything that your community doing in particular to address changing parking needs or are you taking a wait and see approach?

What changes in transportation methods do you see coming and how will they effect development in your community as it relates to parking and infill development of old parking areas?


Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Regardless of future trends for driverless cars, etc, I think no zoning codes should be requiring minimum parking spaces for developments.

At this point, commercial development financing pretty much requires parking anyways, so why have the extra layer of municipal parking requirements.

If the reason for zoning is 'impacts' I would think max parking and max impervious surface regs are where we need to be.

Let the private market determine how much free parking they want to provide at a one acre pad restaurant site on private property. If someone parks in someone else's private parking, that is a private matter and isn't the muni's problem.


The only reason to have parking requirements is when you have on-street parking nearby that existing residents or businesses rely on as part of their parking supply. In that case, permit parking generally works better - though it is often resisted by the same people who would benefit from it.

If you must require parking, 1 space per dwelling unit is fine in most cases. For commercial in urban areas (or even towns) half of what is traditionally required is fine. A nice tool if you can pull it off is to allow the parking requirement to be established through a site-specific parking demand study that is peer reviewed. That allows the requirement to be tailored to the specifics of a site.

Maximums are a very good idea in theory but in most cities its a struggle to explain why they represent a public interest.