Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Parking

Visualizing America’s Absurd Parking Requirements

false

Architect Seth Goodman is on a mission to illustrate the absurdity of parking requirements. The above image, showing mandatory parking requirements for office buildings in different American cities, is one of three infographics he created to show the extent to which American cities mandate the construction of parking.

The worst offenders in the office category were San Jose, Albuquerque and Austin (though Austin recently eliminated all parking minimums downtown). Goodman notes that the majority of U.S. cities exempt their downtowns from these requirements, but he says that's not enough."In many of these cities, the relatively small footprint of these exempt areas has failed achieve the critical mass necessary to create robust transit ridership and fully-functioning pedestrian oriented communities."

Goodman has created two other infographics that explain different cities' parking requirements for residences and restaurants. The below comes from his examination of residential parking requirements.  You can see that for two-bedroom apartments in U.S. cities, the median parking requirement consumes more than half as much space as the dwelling itself:

false

Here's how Goodman explains the pernicious impact of residential parking minimums:

Nearly every municipality in the United States requires a minimum amount of on-site parking at every residential development. The enormous cost of constructing this parking is hidden from buyers and renters alike because the costs are bundled into the price of each unit. Minimum parking requirements deprive residents of the full benefit of choosing other modes of transportation because they are compelled to pay for parking whether they use it or not. Often people who cannot afford to buy their own car are forced by city governments to have their own parking.

All that parking also consumes an enormous amount of space. Depending on the efficiency of the layout, each space requires between 300 and 400 square feet when aisles and ramps are included. Minimum parking requirements make sprawl inevitable rather than the result of market forces.

Goodman is working on two additional infographics: one will explore parking requirements at high schools, and another will look at places of worship. He tells us he gathered the information for all of these charts from city websites. Once he wraps up the five infographics, Goodman said he will move on to examining "arguments for changing off-street parking minimums rather than continuing to document their prevalence."

In the meantime, be sure to check out and share his infographics. You might learn something about your own city.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Car Crashes by City Workers Cost Taxpayers $180M in Payouts Last Year: Report

A record number of victims of crashes involving city employees in city-owned cars filed claims in fiscal year 2023 — and settlements with victims have jumped 23 percent, a new report shows.

April 16, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines: Biking with a Dutchman Edition

You really get a fresh perspective on city cycling when you do it with someone from Holland. Plus other news.

April 16, 2024

City Urges Judge to Toss Anti-Open Streets Lawsuit

The city's not responsible for 24-7 car access to every street, officials argued.

April 16, 2024

Opinion: Connect the Dots of Manhattan’s Missing Bike Lanes

Only a few miles of missing protected lanes stand in the way of a robust bike network.

April 15, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Thanking the Academy Edition

We would be remiss if we didn't offer some photos and copy about Friday's George Polk Awards ceremony, plus other news.

April 15, 2024
See all posts