Parking minimums—provisions in a city's zoning code that require businesses and residential buildings to provide a set number of parking spots, depending on the building's size and use—are bad policy because they make cities and towns less productive and prosperous.
One key reason is that parking minimums require the setting aside of unproductive land that doesn't generate tax revenue. In most cities, municipal services, such as fire protection, schools or streets, are paid for (in part) by property tax revenue. And the amount that every property is taxed is based on its assessed value.
That value is minimal for parking lots. Think about it: people don't spend money in parking lots; people don't build homes and live in parking lots.
When we multiply this calculation across cities and towns where parking lots are required by law for most properties, local governments get an enormous loss in tax value. The result, for example: fewer police officers on the roads, fewer teachers in the classrooms, and fewer potholes patched.
Some parking is necessary, but when we require excessive parking that just sits unused, not generating value, it benefits no one. Learn more about the many costs of too much parking.
If cities and towns ended parking minimums, people could transform unnecessary parking space into better uses that benefit everyone—including small business owners, homeowners, developers, renters—and increase tax revenue. Learn more about how you can show better uses for parking.