Are parking minimums an endangered species internationally?

More and more cities around the world have been abolishing their parking mandates. 

So should we describe parking minimums as "an endangered species" internationally?

I tackled that question in the March edition of the Parking Today magazine

With Parking Today's permission, here is the article as a short "extra" Reinventing Parking podcast episode (between our regular monthly episodes).

Scroll down to read a few highlights.  Or listen with the player below. Or read the full article via then click on the March 2022 edition.

Parking Today is a US-based parking industry trade magazine and it's also the company behind the annual Parking Industry Expo (PIE). The March edition of Parking Today is its International Edition and it has a bunch of interesting articles.

Reminder: Reinventing Parking is the official podcast of the Parking Reform Network.

Here are some key points from the article

The practice of mandating on-site parking with buildings emerged in 1923 in Columbus, Ohio

By the mid-1990s, minimum parking requirements - let's call them parking mandates - applied in almost every municipality in the world, even in China and in the former Soviet bloc.

A surprising number of cities have already abolished parking mandates, either wholesale or in certain areas. The Parking Reform Network has a handy map and the Parking Reform Atlas highlights various international cases.

Some of the parking mandate abolition cases in the Parking Reform Atlas.

The trend was limited to downtowns at first. For example, in 1976 London abolished parking mandates in the City of London (the financial district) and imposed maximums instead.

Another trend was to allow waivers in return for payments in lieu of parking. In Downtown Santa Monica for example, parking mandates remained but buildings with zero on-site parking became possible.

In many German city centers, developers have to pay fees-in-lieu for the required parking that they are banned from providing, if that makes sense.

In 1997, Berlin swept away all parking mandates across the whole city. 

In 2001, England started a national phase out of its parking mandates

In 2014 Hamburg followed Berlin's example. In the same year, São Paulo in Brazil abolished all parking mandates. 

In 2017, both Mexico City and Buffalo, NY abolished their parking minimums. They were followed by various others across North America.

As of February 2022, New Zealand has banned most local governments from imposing parking mandates.

Many more cities have been abolishing parking mandates but only in places with good transit service.

Although momentum is gathering, it would be premature to label parking minimums an endangered species. Most cities in the world still have excessive parking mandates.

Japan has little reason to abolish its unusually benign parking mandates.

Other cities are trying to reduce their harm rather than abolishing them. In 2004, Seoul adopted very low minimums and new maximums for five of its most intense transit-oriented business districts. 

Over four decades, San Francisco tried various ways to reduce the harm of parking mandates. By the end of 2018, this tinkering ended in the wholesale abolition of its parking minimums.

Do cities that abolished parking mandates (or greatly reduced them) face parking problems. The short answer is no. 

You can also listen to the discussion here: 


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