Berkeley, CA is poised to approve a major reform of its car parking requirements on Tuesday 1/26/2021. We spoke to Lori Droste – Berkeley City Councilor to find out how and why she’s worked for five years to get to this point. You can watch the hearing live on Zoom at 4pm PST here.
We’ve also been watching the proposal in Hartford, CT to increase parking lot fees. That could be decided today starting at 4pm EST (you can watch here). Parking Today’s John Van Horn thinks the proposal, and our advocacy for similar policy, is terribly misguided.
Sacramento, CA is another city moving to eliminate parking requirements. Los Angeles’ Metro Council is considering required unbundling of car parking and car parking maximums. Honolulu, HI recently passed parking reforms. Atlanta, GA is working on a zoning reform package that could eliminate car parking minimums. And Pittsburgh, PA Mayor Bill Peduto wants to ban curb cuts for new single-unit attached homes. As Michael Andersen points out in this Sightline post, Zoning Reforms Are Popping Up Everywhere.
Nidhi Adlakha’s argues that “free parking is not your right,” and provides some interesting insight into parking reforms happening in Indian cities. Joanna Gubman is the latest San Franciscan to make the case to “stop subsidizing car ownership.” And this interview with the authors of the book Case Studies in Retrofitting Suburbia covers some interesting ground regarding excess parking and what we can do with it.
Cities continue to build or purchase more parking. Easton, PA is planning to build a 505 stall garage for $12-14 million. Des Moines, IA will pay $40.5-47 million to bail out a floundering car parking garage project. And Chicago suburb, Park Ridge, IL is considering a new parking lot, but they’re claiming it will be “green” due to permeable pavement. Car parking is only getting more expensive, as evidenced by this single space which sold for $123,000 in Toronto, Canada!
If cities are going to build more parking garages, they should at least be convertible to other uses. Watry Design has an interesting post about how garages can be designed for adaptability (but it does add a lot to the construction cost).
Prospects for recouping construction costs for car parks don’t look great, either. Cities from New Haven, CT to Pasadena, CA are seeing deep declines in parking revenue, but authorities are hopeful for a post-COVID recovery.
Revenue from parking tickets has taken a hit due to the pandemic as well. Los Angeles, CA issued almost 700K fewer citations in 2020 than in an average year and La Crosse, WI issued ~$265,000 less in fines in 2020. Of course, issuing tickets isn’t the same as collecting the fines, the state of Hawaii has failed to collect on 20% of tickets over the last five years.
Parking reform is a marathon, not a sprint. Bloomington, IN has been studying options for downtown car parking for a year, but officials want another round of input before making a decision. Palm Beach, FL is considering paid car parking in three business districts. Their third focus group meeting is scheduled for Tuesday before the city can act. Lafayette, LA has raised meter rates and increased hours of enforcement for the first time in 8 years. Hong Kong is updating it’s parking management system with thousands of new pay stations, but the price of car parking remains at 1994 levels and critics say the plan adds 4,000 new parking stalls to the congested city.
Chelmsford, England will start charging for cars at the historic Hylands park, but they also have plans to freeze car park fees. Parking a car at the airport in Manhattan, Kansas will cost $2.50 a day starting in February. It seems the skiing and winter recreation areas in the Pacific Northwest could use better parking management.
Maybe the solution is for citizens to take matters in their own hands and install their own parking meters, like this couple did in Yorkeys Knob, Far North Queensland, Australia.