Friday, April 11, 2014

Minimum parking requirements yah or nay.

This is my personal view of the situation. Please do not regard as official advice.

Today there has been a controversial topic facing municipalities is whether they should require all builders and developers adhere to minimum standards for amount of parking available when building any residences, businesses, and public venues where people as well as their vehicles will gather. It can be measured by amount of vehicles that can fit street curbside beside the property it self as well as spots available for parking within the property itself.

Minimum parking requirements had been codified into US cities on a city by city bases then eventually cities in European countries follow suit. Around late 80s and 90s many Asian cities with the booming popularity of car ownership along with a similar rise in building construction boom started requiring minimum parking standards for new buildings built there as well.

Though minimum parking while it had been a boon for property owners and visitors with cars it also had made enemies as well. Those who are for public transportation and alternatives to driving the car they would state that minimum parking requirements make it difficult for users that walk, bike, or use transit to access property as large amount of land would need to be dedicated for parking making walking difficult and far. Available Parking also discourages people from using transit as well causing any new transit projects to rapidly lose revenue support. Minimum parking requirements also prevent many low income housing from being built as with land prices so high its very expensive to either buy land to allocate for parking which might not even be possible in built dense regions or build expensive parking structures either alongside or underground to meet the requirements. Many low income families depend on public transportation and cannot afford their own vehicles therefore making the expensive garage a waste of money. In some cases cities have reduced if not eliminated minimum parking requirements. For example cities like San Francisco had changed its minimum parking requirements to a maximum parking requirement to encourage transit oriented development.

Though minimum parking also has its benefits for cities and those who are in the city as well. All those vehicles entering the city would need some where to go. They ultimately have to be parked some where. Minimum parking reduces vehicle related crime(car breakins, car stealing), it also reduces residents or visitors likelyhood to be a victim of crime walking long distance to and from their cars, as well as rowdy visitors who might park in a neighborhood far away from a residence, bar, party, or ballgame due to lack of nearby parking, and loiter and cause problems in the neighborhood which can be a pain for a municipality as well as nearby residents to deal with. It also makes it safe for those who are ill, handicapped or otherwise mobility limietd, or the elderly from dangers of falling or being hit by vehicles when walking to and from their cars particularly in walking and transit unfriendly neighborhoods with high speed traffic. Also there would be less complaints from neighbors of blocked driveways and rowdy individuals who enter the neighborhood to search for parking or improper use of private parking areas taking precious parking away from customers. Cities would also have to deal with less illegally parked cars which would be an issue when parking gets to tight as well as reduce the likely hood of hindrance of emergency services in narrow areas.

While there are minimum parking requirements in practice it seems like there is not much enforcement on how it would be restricted by the property manager after its built. This is particularly true in denser portions of cities, i.e  I.e while multi family housing may require two parking spaces per 2 bedroom unit the ordinance is not clear whether the property manager of the apartment/condo to save them for such apartment. I.e if a owner/renter did not have a car at the beginning of ownership or lease but bought a car later is he/she entitled to that space? What happens when the carless owner/renter moves away and another family with two cars move in? Should the landowner be required to evict the extra cars of another family out of parking spaces in order to accommodate the new owners/renters cars?  It seems like many complexes don't guarantee parking despite what the ordinances or buildings code says in that locality. Its not uncommon for apartment or condo owners to change convert parking for other uses or to reserve it for other uses. There are also often cases where visitor parking had been designated according to code when the complex received its permit but had been removed or converted to resident as multi car residents demand more parking. In this case should tenants or homeowners assert their rights to the parking they are entitled to?

Also  if parking is entitled if the land owner tows cars for any reason should we legally hold the landowner responsible for the cost of towing as the contract entitles the car owner to park there.

Minimum parking requirements should be reexamined in their applicability and friendlyness to transit, residents, and visitors. I wonder minimum parking requirements yay or nay?

Please regard this at opinion only. Not professional news article or advice.

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