"Affordable housing for cars"
I should be finishing packing, but I just noticed that Ken Archer's op-ed in this week's Current is online. Archer, a Georgetown resident who told the parking zoning hearing that he and his wife would be bringing their upcoming baby home on the D3 bus, rebuts many arguments made against reducing or eliminating parking minimums.
Critics of the proposal tell us ... that we will have to "bear the burden of increased curbside parking competition" (known as "overspill"). D.C. residents are sure to hear this criticism repeatedly in coming months. But is it true? And if not, what will be the consequences of the elimination of most parking minimums?Archer also points out how free parking isn't free, but comes at a social cost:
The truth is that the city is responding to overspill through its use of multispace market-based meters in neighborhoods. These new meters are used around Nationals Park (a larger source of potential overspill than will exist in Georgetown or any other D.C. neighborhood) and are supported by neighbors. ... How will the elimination of most parking minimums affect you? If you live in a neighborhood in which parking minimums currently force developers to overbuild parking, then elimination of parking minimums will lead to more affordable housing, more walkable communities and less trolling of cars looking for a free space.
If you live in a high-density neighborhood in which residential developers already exceed parking minimums (like Georgetown), then elimination of parking minimums will have no direct effects, only the pleasant indirect effect of less through traffic on its way to other D.C. neighborhoods.
The free market on its own simply cannot provide enough parking for the 1950s vision of universal car ownership and use, and so 1950s planners solved this "commons" problem by requiring landlords and businesses to provide ample off-street parking. The free market doesn't provide affordable housing for all either, but no matter; affordable housing is apparently less of a concern (required parking spots add $25,000 to $50,000 to the price of a condominium).Great article, Ken!
Today, a 50-year policy of "affordable housing for cars" has resulted in 99 percent of car trips in America enjoying free parking. In the meantime, 37 percent of D.C. residents don't even own a car, and congestion and lack of affordable housing are the primary complaints of people leaving D.C.
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