Colorado cities are inundated with parking, and parking lots are often unnecessary. Parking reform can lead to more housing affordability.
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.
An overreliance on intuitive reasoning and a determination to maintain outdated parking policies have birthed a perfect storm of political inertia capable of taking the wind out of parking reform’s proverbial sails.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.
Obviously, in the middle of this crisis, with lockdowns in place and ICU beds filling up, parking policy (like most things) isn’t important. We have much bigger fish to fry: maintaining a functioning health care system and supporting millions of people thrown off the payrolls are at the top of the list. But we will …