Because of parking minimums—a zoning code that requires developers to provide a fixed amount of parking spaces depending on the developments' size and use—cities across North America are filled with unused parking spaces.
Cities need parking, however, as we've demonstrated in our annual #blackfridayparking event, they don't need as many parking spaces as parking minimums require.
You can show better uses for parking spaces by pitching a vision: a vision of unused space that—should the local government end parking minimums—could be transformed into uses that benefit everyone in the city:
- Small business owners wouldn't have to spend their precious, hard-earned dollars paying for designated parking spaces for their customers. Instead, they could use that money on supplies, space to sell products, etc.
- Homeowners could take on basic projects like adding a small rental unit in a basement or a backyard because they would no longer have to add a parking space for the tenant of the unit.
- Developers can build much needed services, such as housing or a grocery store, in neighborhoods because they don't need to choose a location based on required space for parking—nor do they have to pay for it.
- Renters have more housing opportunities because spaces that were once filled with parking are now filled with homes.
And the best part: in total, the local government increases its property tax revenue. That's because the amount that every property is taxed is based on its assessed value. For parking, that's low—meaning less money to spend on basic services. Therefore, when the properties include better uses, the assessed value increases, increasing the local government's tax revenue.