Etienne Lefebvre

Communications Coordinator, Parking Reform Network

Picture of a typical stroad in Canada

Parking Mandates, Equity, & Accessibility

Freeing up valuable space in our cities by reducing car-dependency can provide immense opportunities to intentionally design our cities around the needs of people with disabilities. Allowing people with disabilities to not only have independent mobility but also experience what it’s like to live in a city that directly prioritizes them rather than cars. When cities are designed around people instead of machines we get to enjoy an urban typology that encourages greater social connectedness, greater accessibility, greater equity and greater proximity to services and to each other.

image shows how undeground parking imposes a disproportionate cost on midrise housing developments relative to lower density housing.

Missing Middle Housing and the Parking Problem

Urban land is scarce and valuable, when cities mandate minimum parking requirements they increase the price of every other type of urban land use. Mandating parking in cities means less space for housing and less space for small businesses. This means more expensive housing and more expensive rents for businesses. The end result is a city that quickly becomes unaffordable for regular people.

What Barriers Stand in the Way of Good Parking Reform?

An overreliance on intuitive reasoning and a determination to maintain outdated parking policies have birthed a perfect storm of political inertia capable of taking the wind out of parking reform’s proverbial sails. A recent proposal to abolish minimum parking mandates in the city of SeaTac was unfortunately caught up in this political inertia, hampering the odds of successful reform. The case study in SeaTac makes it clear just how paramount it is for our message to reach the public in order to ensure people are equipped to successfully advocate for parking reform in their own cities.