The imminent closure of one of Singapore's few stand-alone parking facilities, the Market Street Car Park, has provoked some breathless reporting on a supposed 'parking crunch' in the financial district here.*
A local journalist asked my opinion on Singapore CBD parking policy. He wanted to know if the Singapore government has been deliberately restricting the amount of parking in the central area, and if so, do I think it is a good idea. I spent some time on my comments, so I have adapted them into a post.
Singapore has been reducing its minimum parking requirements over the years, especially for the city centre**. Confusingly, many people here are under the impression that these policies amount to a restriction on parking in the CBD.
Huh? These are MINIMUM parking requirements, not maximums! How could parking minimums have anything to do with restricting parking?
Actually, developers have good reason to view the parking standards as maximums and not just as minimums. Why? Because only the required parking is exempted from counting as part of their allowed floor area (gross floor area, GFA) under the development controls (zoning). This means that if they build any more parking over and above the minimum requirements, they will have to reduce something else. And those ‘something elses’ (like shops, offices, hotel rooms, etc) earn much more revenue than parking (at least for now). So developers in Singapore apparently don't usually build any more than the minimum amount of parking.
So did the LTA and the Ministry of Transport set the new parking standards low in order to control traffic?