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

Parking Break: What Cities Gain When They Lose Parking Quotas

This is the season climax, the culmination, the big reveal.

Previously on Parking? Lots!

Cities mandate off-street parking (guided only by junk science and groupthink). They do it in fear of territorial neighbors who want “their” curb spaces left alone. Our communities suffer horribly as a result. Information technology is shaking things up, though, and cities can now charge for curb spaces more easily. They can also share the proceeds with neighborhoods. Doing that breaks the vicious political circle that perpetuates parking quotas.

false

The final step -- here’s the reveal -- is so simple it’s anti-climactic. (Sorry.) Once they’ve metered the curb and bought off neighborhoods, cities can just ditch parking quotas: scratch them out and turn the page.

There’s never been a good policy reason for minimum parking requirements. Their political rationale -- preventing spillover parking -- disappears when street parking is no longer free. Then, developers can figure out for themselves how much car storage to provide, just as they decide how many dishwashers, light fixtures, and bay windows to install. The market, a spot market, emerges.

What’s not anti-climactic -- and what’s the focus of this episode -- is the encouraging degree to which cities are already taking this step. A few are reducing or outright scrapping off-street parking quotas, and many are writing exceptions to them.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Justice Dept., Citing Streetsblog Reporting, Threatens to Sue NYPD Over Cops’ Sidewalk Parking

The city is now facing a major civil rights suit from the Biden Administration if it doesn't eliminate illegal parking by cops and other city workers.

April 19, 2024

What to Say When Someone Claims ‘No One Bikes or Walks in Bad Weather’

Yes, sustainable modes are more vulnerable to bad weather. But that's why we should invest more in them — not less.

April 19, 2024

NYC Transit’s New Operations Planning Chief Wants To Fight ‘Ghost Buses’

One-time transit advocate and current MTA Paratransit VP Chris Pangilinan will oversee bus and subway operations for the whole city.

April 19, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Gimme Bus Shelter Edition

The days of the Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewing every proposed bus shelter in landmarked districts may be no more. Plus more news.

April 19, 2024

Deal Reached: Hochul Says ‘Sammy’s Law’ Will Pass

The bill, though imperfect, has been four years in the making.

April 18, 2024
See all posts