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Breakfast links: Dry heat


Photo by Daniel Go on Flickr.
Water shutoff starts for PG County: Officials have shut off water for 100,000 people in Prince George's County as crews repair a water main break. The water shutdown may last up to five days, right as temperatures heat up across the region. (Post)

Water OK on Metro: In response to the heat wave, WMATA will allow passengers to drink water through Saturday on Metro and buses. WMATA will also up its track inspections to look for heat kinks in the rails. (Post)

Metro launches bike registration: If you bike to Metro, you can now register your bike with WMATA to help police track it down if it gets stolen. (PoPville)

Environmentalists for golf courses: The Sierra Club wants to preserve a golf course in Reston near the Silver Line. The property's owners are exploring whether zoning allows them to build housing instead. (Patch)

MoCo plan divides BRT supporters: Some transit advocates call Montgomery County's BRT plans a big step forward, while others think the watered-down plan and traffic analysis requirements will limit BRT's potential. (BethesdaNow)

Streetcars nearing final stretch: DC is starting construction on the H Street streetcar barn. DDOT will build tracks and temporary facilities first, then the building later, so they can start service right away. (Frozen Tropics)

Will Gray run again?: Mayor Gray still has not made up his mind about seeking reelection. Aides close to the mayor expect he will run unless the US Attorney finds wrongdoing, but a decision is not expected until fall. (Post)

Howard project goes to court: The developer of Howard Town Center, Cohen Companies, is suing Howard University for terminating their agreement to develop the massive Georgia Avenue mixed-use project. (City Paper)

Georgetown eyes Walter Reed: Georgetown is considering Walter Reed to house some graduate programs as well as other programs. Georgetown will pitch their ideas to the public at a Thursday ANC meeting. (Patch)

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Elina Bravve moved to Washington in 2009, after completing a degree in City Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill. She's lived in the Columbia Heights neighborhood since 2010. After recently parting ways with her car, her goal is to learn how to bike around the neighborhood. 

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Wow, Miami is building new housing without parking while we can't get our s**t together. And we have a vastly superior transit system.

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/07/apartment-designed-force-you-out-your-car/6211/

Interesting interview with the developer here:

"Miami Urbanist: Since you don’t have to build parking at Centro, are you able to pass the savings along to consumers?

Harvey Hernandez: Absolutely, parking adds substantially to our building costs. Consumers are paying 10-15% less for their units because we don’t have to build parking. Since we aren’t required to build parking, the housing we provide is more attainable."
http://www.miamiurbanist.com/the-305-talks-harvey-hernandez-from-newgard-development-group/

by h st ll on Jul 17, 2013 8:51 am • linkreport

Register my bike with WMATA? Come on. They can't do their core mission correctly, what are they doing messing around with bike registration? And can you imagine actually trying to work with them to get your bike back if it was stolen? You'd have better luck posting on Craigslist and doing some vigilante retrieval operation. Maybe WMATA could team up with and "help" the bike thieves, then no bikes would ever get stolen again.

by Joe on Jul 17, 2013 8:53 am • linkreport

H street,

I can't find any unit pricing anywhere for the units so it is hard to determine if that is true or not.

However, common sense will likely show us that a for profit developer isn't going to underprices his competition by 10-15% less simply because he can. He will charge market price for his units, having a lower cost floor simply allows him to negotiate a few grand lower than his competition and still make his proforma.

by Huh on Jul 17, 2013 8:59 am • linkreport

@H St II; I'm sure it has nothing to do with profit margins.

http://blog.fundrise.com/post/55519809799/why-does-residential-real-estate-cost-so-much

More like 5-7%.

by charlie on Jul 17, 2013 9:01 am • linkreport

However, common sense will likely show us that a for profit developer isn't going to underprices his competition by 10-15% less simply because he can.

We don't need common sense, we have actual research that does indeed show that removing parking requirements both lowers the cost to build housing and lowers the price buyers pay for it. It also allows developers more flexibility to target specific segments of the market because their cost structure does not force them to go only after the high-end.

http://www.its.ucla.edu/research/rpubs/manville_aro_dec_2010.pdf

The other lesson from Miami is that we need to allow more development in order to bring market-rate housing prices down. We have lots of demand, but we often do not legally allow more supply to be added in a timely fashion.

by Alex B. on Jul 17, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

If WMATA is concerned with reuniting stolen bikes with their owners, why not collaborate with the already established National Bike Registry? It seems inefficient to duplicate an existing service with one that's completely useless outside of the Metro system. Is this the newly appointed Chief Pavlik trying to leave his mark on the department?

by dcmike on Jul 17, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

Why can't we just permanently allow water on Metro? I get why we prohibit other foods/drinks, but water seems fairly harmless (especially given that several stations now seem to have rivers running through them).

by andrew on Jul 17, 2013 9:07 am • linkreport

Who cares about Miami? It'll be washed away in 20 years.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-the-city-of-miami-is-doomed-to-drown-20130620

by ArlingtonTown on Jul 17, 2013 9:14 am • linkreport

Comical that WMATA is issuing pompous statements about 'being allowed' to drink water. I have never, ever seen anybody busted for eating, drinking or anything else on a Metro train. I'd say you have more chance of getting busted for driving while using a cell phone. I've even seen metrorail employees slurping on a coffee while wearing the yellow vest, right in the train.

by renegade09 on Jul 17, 2013 9:18 am • linkreport

Imagine the savings they could pass on to the consumer if they weren't required to build bathrooms in apartments!

by jh on Jul 17, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

jh,

A: I'm unaware of any person who has never used their bathroom. I'm very well aware of people who have never used their parking spot.

B: Bathrooms (and indoor plumbing/sewage systems) help make the city a healthier place. Cars don't.

I never thought I'd have to answer this seriously but there you go.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 9:25 am • linkreport

Re: WMATA allowing water.

I've been seeing WMATA ads telling customers to "finish it, cover it, or toss it" before getting on the train, alongside a picture of a big starbucks cup. Does that mean metro customers can bring a covered beverage on board? Or is this another example of WMATA's left hand not knowing what its right hand is up to?

by JTS on Jul 17, 2013 9:28 am • linkreport

The majority of Americans watch Cable TV. Why don't we require all buildings to be wired for cable? Why do we allow this subsidy to developers?

And the majority of people who move into new buildings in DC (and arlington) have laptops and/or other wireless devices. Why don't we requyire all new buildings to have WiFi? Why do we allow this subsidy to developers?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 9:28 am • linkreport

Imagine the savings they could pass on to the consumer if they weren't required to build bathrooms in apartments!

And, if they weren't, they would be prepared for the market-rate discount for their bathroom-less units.

Also: as the book says, everyone poops. However, not everyone parks.

by Alex B. on Jul 17, 2013 9:29 am • linkreport

@JH; or fire prevention. Or disabled access. Or rec rooms. Rooftop decks.

@alexB; somehow I doubt that applies to 300 unit apartment builds that are brand new, not conversions as they were in downtown LA.

If the demand for car free living is so great, why can they be sold at a discount?

by charlie on Jul 17, 2013 9:30 am • linkreport

The notion that the free market is somehow imperfect when it comes to dwelling units with and without parking is just plain bizarre. What hypothesis explain why this would happen here? Developer desire for profits isn't a hypothesis--it's the very kind of rational behavior that makes markets function.

by Crickey7 on Jul 17, 2013 9:31 am • linkreport

drumz, I'm obviously well aware of that. That wasn't my point.

My point is that those condos aren't priced lower because they are passing on savings to the consumer because of lower construction costs. They are pricing them lower because they are offering less. X costs less than X+Y (assuming both X and Y are positive). In this scenario, X is an apartment and Y is a parking space.

Obviously there are people who don't use their parking spot. But, they still get a parking spot with their purchase. That's why they pay more than an apartment without a parking spot. It likely has very little to do with construction costs. Similarly, people who are in buildings with gyms or pools or movie rooms or various other amenities pay more than those who don't have those things, all else being equal. You get less, you pay less.

I'm all for eliminating parking minimums. I'm a total free market kind of guy.

by jh on Jul 17, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

somehow I doubt that applies to 300 unit apartment builds that are brand new, not conversions as they were in downtown LA.

How does it not apply? Unless the parking costs nothing to provide (which is false), then fewer parking spaces per unit means a lower cost of construction.

This Miami article is just that - no parking on site. They cut a deal to allow parking to be rented at a nearby garage. Making better use of parking that already exists - a novel flexibility that is not currently allowed in our code.

by Alex B. on Jul 17, 2013 9:34 am • linkreport

Also, are golf courses really all that environmentally friendly? Maybe if you've got electric lawn mowers but they take a ton of maintenance and require large amounts of cultivated grass. That's not to say it'd be less of an environmetal impact than putting TOD there but it's hardly fallow.

Develop it like we see at Takoma park with the green area consolidated into one larger park rather than a bunch of tiny yards. Add a mini golf course.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 9:34 am • linkreport

If the demand for car free living is so great, why can they be sold at a discount?

Isn't the point not whether car-free living is great or not, but about letting the market decide whether car-free living is great or not? Why force developers to make spaces? If developers feel that they need to provide spaces to sell units, they will build them.

by dc denizen on Jul 17, 2013 9:35 am • linkreport

My point is that those condos aren't priced lower because they are passing on savings to the consumer because of lower construction costs.

Or money that would've been spent on parking could now be spent on apartments meaning greater revenue per dollar. Or they didn't have to excavate deeper than they needed to in a parking free building. Either way you have lower costs or at least costs that are easier to recoup. All things being equal that means a lower price.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

"If the demand for car free living is so great, why can they be sold at a discount?"

because to the marginal buyer/renter, the value of the parking space is greater than zero - if below the cost to produce the space.

Imagine 3 renters, and 3 apartments. One is completely car free, and places zero value on the space. One thinks they MIGHT want a car, and values the space at $10. One has a car, and would pay $300 for the space.

One of the apartments is old and has no parking. The other two are new, and have new spaces, that cost $250 to provide. How do you assign the folks - you put the carfree person in the parkingless unit, and the other two in the units with spaces. They cost $500 to produce, and are valued at $310. Thats a net loss to all players of $190. In a market, the discount for parking free buildings will be $10. So there IS a discount, but the scenario is clearly worse than one without the requirement.

Instead of a requirement, lets say we build only where the value placed by the renters exceeds the cost. In that case we only build a space for the third user. The first two do without.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 9:42 am • linkreport

My point is that those condos aren't priced lower because they are passing on savings to the consumer because of lower construction costs. They are pricing them lower because they are offering less. X costs less than X+Y (assuming both X and Y are positive). In this scenario, X is an apartment and Y is a parking space.

This is distinction without difference. Yes, they are pricing them lower because they are offering less, but the point is that the market wants less - they are only offering more than that because of a code.

The savings is passed on to the buyer both because they are buying less, and therefore, less needs to be constructed.

The key difference is that with minimum requirements, you often must build more spaces than the market desires. The price buyers are willing to pay for Y does not cover the costs of Y, therefore the gap is absorbed by the entire development - the cost of everyone's X goes up a little bit thanks to Y, whether they have a parking space or not.

So, some of that savings is the value of the actual parking space, but some is the deadweight loss that all units must bear due to the inefficient parking requirements.

by Alex B. on Jul 17, 2013 9:42 am • linkreport

It used to be that some buildings were designed as rooming houses-- individual rooms built with a shared bathroom. So, yes, there was a time when apartments were built without bathrooms. Many of them still remain. Now we just build 2 and 3 bedroom/1bathroom apartments on the assumption that multiple people will live in the unit and share the bathroom. There is no requirement that all units have to have 1 bathroom for every bedroom. You can pay more for a unit like that if you choose, though.

by Tyro on Jul 17, 2013 9:43 am • linkreport

This is a simple supply and demand issue. All apartment hunters are interested in a unit with parking, but only some people are interested in a unit with no parking. This seems so very simple, less demand for these units. Less demand, moves you down the curve and results in a lower price.

by Kyle-w on Jul 17, 2013 9:47 am • linkreport

charlie - BTW I dont trust fundrise on the percent thats equity profit - given their own motivations. In any case, its not like equity is free, esp for risky projects.

drumz - Reston national is attempting to build "by right" under zoning from the 1970s (thats the whole basis for their suit). So if they win they would build SFH's. Its possible that Reston and the county code make a deal for a PUD that keeps a block of green space - but Reston may not support anything denser. So it may be just as well to keep it a green space, for now.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

AWITC,

Thanks, I don't really know the terms of any deal but its still suspect to say that since it's wide open that a golf course is "green".

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

@DCStreetcar just retweeted this of the streetcar moving in SE

http://instagram.com/p/b3ogGCJ4hz/

by h st ll on Jul 17, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

Alex,

When the pricing comes out for the first sales in this building, come back to us and tell us what they sold for in comparison to the handful of other condo buildings in the near vicinity the same age and amenities. If the sales price is more than 3% lower than those who sell parking, I will eat my shoe.

Pointing to a study that uses an old building being redeveloped, and a brand spanking new building is quite a stretch.

Imagine the savings that could be passed on if developers didn't have to build green roofs, elevators or provide air conditioning!

by Huh on Jul 17, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

@drumz

Yeah I'm deeply suspicious of this for two reasons:

A. They keep calling the golf course "grasslands" when it could not be farther from a natural environment short of being completely paved over.

B. "written by Linda Burchfiel, Chair of the Great Falls Group of the VA Sierra Club." - I have a feeling that she's concerned at a loss of golfing capacity in the region, and how that will either affect her directly (she plays at Reston National), or indirectly (the folks who play there now will go to Riverbend or 'Trump' or whatever they're calling Lowes Island Country Club these days.

Either way, I could've sworn that GGW was saying that the developers were looking to take advantage of the new Silver Line to build something more akin to TOD, rather than SFHs...

by MJB on Jul 17, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

@Huh

The green building movement is actually a free market story. LEED is a voluntary industry standard that developers embraced because demand for green buildings was strong, but no one knew what "green building" meant.

by Crickey7 on Jul 17, 2013 10:05 am • linkreport

"Imagine the savings that could be passed on if developers didn't have to build green roofs, elevators or provide air conditioning"

AC is not mandated in the DC area, and units without central air are certainly cheaper. mandating AC which some people dont want (some are out all day, some prefer fans) would be a mistake.

And there are lots of low rise units that have no elevators. They make up a very large portion of the market affordable housing stock.

Green roofs are to avoid the negative externality of run off.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 10:05 am • linkreport

It would be far more effective for Metro to simply provide secure bike parking. It's why many people won't use bikes for part of their trip...they think part or all of their bike may not be there when they return

by thump on Jul 17, 2013 10:06 am • linkreport

Imagine the savings that could be passed on if developers didn't have to build green roofs, elevators or provide air conditioning!

Developers don't have to provide concierge desks, party rooms, or gyms. And, surprise, buildings without those amenities are cheaper than those with those amenities.

by Tyro on Jul 17, 2013 10:07 am • linkreport

When the pricing comes out for the first sales in this building, come back to us and tell us what they sold for in comparison to the handful of other condo buildings in the near vicinity the same age and amenities.

Final sale price being less of a discount because of a variety of factors (demand, housing bubble, whatever, I don't know Miami) doesn't mean that all things being equal this building can offer units at less cost because it didn't have to build parking.

And quit it with the bad analogies, people!

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 10:07 am • linkreport

MJB

Golf courses with their fertilizer aren't ideal, but its still pervious surface vs impervious which I think is the concern.

GGW may have thought that TOD was possible, but IIUC GGW was incorrect on that one. The by right zoning which is the subject of the law suit, is not for TOD but for traditional SFHs. It COULD be upzoned to TOD, but that would require not only the consent of Fairfax zoning, but also the Reston Association. Whether the latter is a good bet, is debatable.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

When the pricing comes out for the first sales in this building, come back to us and tell us what they sold for in comparison to the handful of other condo buildings in the near vicinity the same age and amenities. If the sales price is more than 3% lower than those who sell parking, I will eat my shoe.

So, you are asserting that the value of a parking space (to be included into the price of a condo) is only 3%?

by Alex B. on Jul 17, 2013 10:10 am • linkreport

AWITC: There is no "GGW thought" anything. GGW is not a hive mind. And in this case, I don't think any article took any stand on anything about this. There have been a few breakfast links reporting on the controversy, but nobody has said we should built or not build anything specific, and this link doesn't say that either.

by David Alpert on Jul 17, 2013 10:11 am • linkreport

EVERYONE needs groceries. Shouldn't it mandated that every new building have a grocery store? many new buildings are already built that way, and theres no clear evidence that buildings without grocery stores are much cheaper - and its even possible the developer will make money on a grocery store.

Why do we subsidize developers profits by letting them getaway with not providing grocery stores?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

DA - apologies, by "GGW thought" I was responding to whatever MJB meant by it - a post, a link, or a comment. I'm quite aware not all posters agree, and certainly not all commentors.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

Yeah, if it's golf course vs. SFH's then I'm inclined to stick with the golf course. If anything because the SFH's will be harder to redevelop later on if Reston National gets hip to TOD.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

Err, the Miami building is an apartment/rental, not a condo.

I have no idea what parking costs in Miami condos -- it has been 10 years -- but at least here the averaage 20K to 50K that you pay for a parking is far more than the costs.

@AWITC; fair enough on fundrise's projections. However, again, you're not challenging their breakdown of parking costs.

by charlie on Jul 17, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

Charlie says If the demand for car free living is so great, why can they be sold at a discount?

Huh says If the sales price is more than 3% lower than those who sell parking, I will eat my shoe.

Both think it's an argument for requiring parking.

by Ben Ross on Jul 17, 2013 10:14 am • linkreport

@Crickey7,

LEED is a requirement for most new commerical office and residential projects in the District. Has been for a few years.

by Huh on Jul 17, 2013 10:15 am • linkreport

and yes, in this case the mistaken "GGW" was yours truely. who commented without knowing the details of the zoning (though steve yates in his link write up seems to have made the same incorrect assumption I did)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 10:15 am • linkreport

"If the demand for car free living is so great, why can they be sold at a discount?"

It's not a demand for car-free living. It's a demand to not be forced into paying for something you're not going to use by the car-free. You don't need to not have a parking place to choose to be car-free. But it is much more attractive to be in a place that does NOT have parking, and as a result is less expensive to buy, than a place that has an amenity you'll never use.

by Catherine on Jul 17, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

"If anything because the SFH's will be harder to redevelop later on if Reston National gets hip to TOD.:"

I think Reston National (a private golf club) will be happy to sell to the highest bidder. The issue is the Reston Association - the "HOA" for all of Reston. They are willing to accept TOD in some locations (under pressure from FFX county? From the larger landowners in Reston?) But Im not sure they would be keen on doing so on this site.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 10:18 am • linkreport

drumz:
"Also, are golf courses really all that environmentally friendly? Maybe if you've got electric lawn mowers but they take a ton of maintenance and require large amounts of cultivated grass."

No, golf courses are absolutely not environmentally friendl and it is curious that the Sierra Club would advocate for the golf course to remain here rather than more housing located next to the $4B investment the Silver line.

Although not as much of a concern here in the DC region as it is in arid regions, golf courses use a huge amount of water. Some of this can be recycled water but it often isn't. Additionally, golf courses use a huge amount of pesticides and chemicals to keep the grass green. I took a marine biology course in high school and we sampled the water quality along the local beaches. Some of the most polluted water was right below the golf course.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 17, 2013 10:18 am • linkreport

what I would really, really, like for all new developments to be mandated to provide:

free intro to microeconomics courses.

I mean it would be a start.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 10:20 am • linkreport

jts: I've been seeing WMATA ads telling customers to "finish it, cover it, or toss it" before getting on the train, alongside a picture of a big starbucks cup. Does that mean metro customers can bring a covered beverage on board?

Yes, Metro rules actually prohibit only the act of "eating" or "drinking" in the system, not possession of food or beverage. So you may bring a covered beverage (or your lunch in a bag, or a cooler of food and beverage for a picnic, or even a smelly paper sack of greasy Big Macs) into the system, so long as you do not consume any of it.

This is one of the few things WMATA does right, in my opinion, although enforcement (and employee compliance with the rules) could be a lot better.

by Bitter Brew on Jul 17, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

AWITC,

You keep proving my ignorance (which I actually appreciate btw). So then, I hope everyone gets hip to it so much that they eventually sell the air rights to the station/toll road and implement an ambitious plan to extend the Town Center south into a huge pocket of TOD that still includes lots of parks/pervious surfaces.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

I can't speak for others, but I'm certainly not trying to argue FOR parking minimums. My main point of contention was the developer's quote that made it sound like prices are strictly a supply issue. Prices are a result of supply AND demand. I think everyone here realizes that. Simply cutting costs doesn't automatically mean the price something sells for will be cheaper; at least not cheaper to the point of being equal to the reduced costs. The sales price may end up being a little cheaper, but part of that is because of less demand.

But, the fact is that parking is not alone when it comes to "things you pay for that you may not use when you rent an apartment".

Hard to believe this conversation has had so many posts.

by jh on Jul 17, 2013 10:34 am • linkreport

Sad to see the Great Falls Chapter of the Sierra Club following the NIMBY lead of the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club in opposing development near existing infrastructure. Even worse that they are arguing that a golf course is good for the environment. (I wonder that the carbon footprint of that golf course is! It probably takes a fleet of lawn mowers to maintain.) These types of actions by local chapters undermine the national organization's claims to support transit and transit-oriented development.

by rg on Jul 17, 2013 10:37 am • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity -

"Green roofs are to avoid the negative externality of run off."

The day that conservatives understand negative externalities is the last day that they would be conservatives.

by Frank IBC on Jul 17, 2013 10:41 am • linkreport

But, the fact is that parking is not alone when it comes to "things you pay for that you may not use when you rent an apartment".

Sure, but the issue isn't whether everybody will use it. It's about whether gov't should require it.

Regarding the rest, well, duh. Ceteris Paribus always applies but just because other factors can drive up demand doesn't make the costs of providing parking any less real.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

@ Huh.

Good point. Although my point also still stands. The free market will provide things like green roofs. LEED may be the law in DC, but (1) it's telling that DC had LEED already there to plug into and (2) if you were to look at downtown markets in the US right now, most buildings are being built to some level of LEED.

by Crickey7 on Jul 17, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

http://www.arlnow.com/2013/07/17/board-approves-lower-speed-limits/

I was surprised that the speed limits were 25 already. Amazing to see people outraged over it as well, as if there is any tangible difference.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

Nobody is "forced" to buy parking in DC. There are plenty, plenty of apartments that do not provide it.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 11:13 am • linkreport

And more should!

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

goldfish

if one wants a unit in a building built since 1958 one is.

And the shortage of new buildings, and accompanying higher rents, in part driven by the costs of providing mandated parking, effectively mean all renters (and new buyers) are paying for it.

BTW, goldfish, congrats on the new car barn construction that just started.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 11:16 am • linkreport

if one wants a unit in a building built since 1958 one is.

Nope. Parking is sold independently.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

and once again, if the developer loses mony on the space (as is most likely in the places most desirable for carfree living) then that loss will end up passed into the price of housing.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 11:21 am • linkreport

developer loses mony on the space

They want the profits, they must assume the risk. That is the nature of the business.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 11:24 am • linkreport

@goldfish
They want the profits, they must assume the risk. That is the nature of the business.

This has nothing to do with the argument about those costs being passed on to buyers/renters.

by MLD on Jul 17, 2013 11:26 am • linkreport

They want the profits, they must assume the risk. That is the nature of the business.

True, lets not force developers to take risks on things they may not want to.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

Nope. Parking is sold independently.

Incorrect. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not.

by Alex B. on Jul 17, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

"They want the profits, they must assume the risk. That is the nature of the business."

if they think something will make money, but theres a chance it will lose, they should assume the risk. This will be pased on to those who want to buy units with amenities that are risky, but not to those who avoid such buildings. Example - a building with a built in movie theater - definitely risky as to whether there is a return on it. Which is why most buildings are built without it. Those who seek out such buildings will pay for the cost of building the amenity, including a risk premium.

but that is not what the discussion of parking is about. Parking is mandated even where the developer is CERTAIN it will lose money. Thats not an issue of risk. Thats simply an imposed cost.

Oh, and congrats on the start of construction on the new street car repair facility.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

if the developer loses mony on the space (as is most likely in the places most desirable for carfree living) then that loss will end up passed into the price of housing.

There is also no reason the developer should be in the parking sales and rentals business if he doesn't want to be. There are plenty of developers who ARE in the business of building, selling, and renting parking. Why do you hate freedom?

by Tyro on Jul 17, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

This has nothing to do with the argument about those costs being passed on to buyers/renters.

What is the argument, that non-drivers are subsidizing drivers? This is an underwhelming argument, because everybody pays for mobility, in a thousand different ways.

As a crucial part of the transportation system, parking is necessary, and it must be provided and paid for somehow. The alternative is municipal garages, paid for by taxes.

Parking is sold independently of housing, the cost of which may include a fraction of the cost of providing parking for others, ONLY in *new buildings*. Pretty weak.

You don't want to contribute to that, buy in an older building. All buyers are free to do so.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

Is the idea that local Sierra Clubs are hand in hand with many "NIMBY" groups a new idea? I feel like I've been seeing this for years.

lol @ AWITC - how does money work?

by Alan B. on Jul 17, 2013 11:46 am • linkreport

What is the argument, that non-drivers are subsidizing drivers? This is an underwhelming argument, because everybody pays for mobility, in a thousand different ways.

As a crucial part of the transportation system, parking is necessary, and it must be provided and paid for somehow.

Subisidizing mobility is much different than subsidizing driving. Parking is often necessary. What's not is a requirement for developers to always build it in new projects.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

You don't want to contribute to that, buy in an older building. All buyers are free to do so.

Sellers/builders should be able to make that decision, too, based on individual market conditions. Only people who hate freedom and everything American stands for believe otherwise. This kind of thing where you force everyone to be a parking space salesman whether they want to or not is pretty silly. That's not too far away from extending it to grocery stores.

There are private garages all over the city if the built-in parking that developers CHOOSE to provide is insufficient.

by Tyro on Jul 17, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

"What is the argument, that non-drivers are subsidizing drivers? This is an underwhelming argument, because everybody pays for mobility, in a thousand different ways."

yes, and the best ways to pay for it are either through the market for transportation, or by govt investments that have positive benefit cost ratios. Paying for it by mandating it to private developers, in places where its not needed, is not.

Do you think every single family house that gets built in the suburbs should be mandated to have a bike parking?

"As a crucial part of the transportation system, parking is necessary, and it must be provided and paid for somehow. The alternative is municipal garages, paid for by taxes."

There are already many existing buildings with parking garages. And there will be more, even without parking minimums. Parking minimums are not needed to have parking.

"Parking is sold independently of housing, the cost of which may include a fraction of the cost of providing parking for others, ONLY in *new buildings*. Pretty weak."

Not weak at all. Its what the argument is about.

"You don't want to contribute to that, buy in an older building. All buyers are free to do so."

there are currently 33 to 38% of DC households that are car free. How many units are there in buildings with no parking? If everyone who was carfree wanted to move to such a building, could they? What if the carfree % goes up to 40%? To 45%?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 12:00 pm • linkreport

Markets are always distorted, so I always find "free market" arguments a bit problematic in their simplicity. The value of a parking unit if sold by itself is rarely reflected in purchase prices, and buildings where there is some certainty of parking don't necessarily bring a premium over those with none. Usually, there are a variety of factors involved in pricing, some of them not very "rational" in the utilitarian sense.

The Sierra Club thing is funny. Golf courses are among the worst drags on the environment imaginable--huge users of water, with runoff that's polluted by fertilizers, insecticides, etc. An intensive residential development (or at least intensive by Loudon standards) would be a better use of the land. Sierra has been really good at failing to engage grassroots beyond a narrow range of environmentally minded people. Despite being a hiker, recycler, etc. I looked beyond them long ago.

by Rich on Jul 17, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

AWITC, Currently 33-38% of DC households are car-free, which means that 62-67% of households own at least one car.

The post-1958 parking requirements for apartments and condominiums range from one space for every two units to one space for every four units, with the lowest requirement in the highest density zones.

The minimum parking requirements aren’t sufficiently high that developers would be required to provide one space per unit, so if you have observed that there are few newer buildings where you can opt out of paying for a parking space, it isn’t because of the zoning regulations.

As to the question of what would happen if the percent of car-free households increases to 40-45% and the percent of households with one or more cars decreases to 55-65%, a minimum parking requirement of 0.5 spaces per unit or less, does not interfere with the ability to provide units to those households, without any pressure to require that they also rent or buy a parking space.

by OtherMike on Jul 17, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

How many units are there in buildings with no parking?

No easy way to answer this question, but anecdotally I'll give it a shot:

Based on the number of households with lead service lines, around 120,000, and the total number of households, around 260,000, I will SWAG that the older construction (i.e., pre-1958, with lead service lines) account for 120/260 = 46% of the DC housing stock. Of course, many of the older buildings have antiquated parking -- like mine, which is too small to fit a car. So my rough estimate is around 40% (only one significant figure here) of the buildings in DC do NOT have parking.

Since 37% of the households are car free, that means parking is still needed.

@David C: I would appreciate it if you don't jump all over this estimate; take it for what it is worth -- but improvements are welcome.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 12:15 pm • linkreport

rich

1. Reston is in fairfax county, not Loudoun.
2. AFAICT, the development that would take place by right would not be intensive by suburban standards/

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 12:16 pm • linkreport

goldfish, are you limiting that to only multifamily? 260k looks like all housing units in the district to me. Many older buildings are likely rowhouses or other single family homes which typically have access to on street parking.

by Alan B. on Jul 17, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

other mike

I did not ask how many units do not come with a space, but how many there are in buildings with no parking, since Goldfish said if you want to buy in a building with no parking, you can. A building 100 spaces for 300 units is not the kind of building he was referring to.

Goldfish - most of those 40% are single family or townhouses I imagine - with most of the single family houses in places where there is an on street space right in front of the house, which is effectively available to the household as parking 24/7. And even some townhouses are like that. Not to mention that many SFHs built between 1910 and 1958 do have offstreet parking - and some townhouses have backyards converted to off street parking.

In addition to which I specifically mentioned buildings. Clearly many car free households live in houses - but what if they all wanted to live in apartments - since you specifically said "buildings" (I won't even specify apartments close to transit).

Are there enough units in BUILDING without parking, to accommodate all currently carfree households in DC, IF they wanted to move into them?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

Actual numbers:
DC has 298,000 housing units as of 2011 census numbers
Of those about 180k are multifamily and about 120k are single family. We can assume the vast majority of single family have parking access in this city.
Assuming your 58% numbers are evenly distributed between the two, that would be about 100k units with no parking or about 1/3 of the total housing supply in the city.

There is probably a better way to get at the real number though.

by Alan B. on Jul 17, 2013 12:30 pm • linkreport

The day that conservatives understand negative externalities is the last day that they would be conservatives.

The day liberals understand the inevitability of negative externalities from government failure will be the first day that liberals and conservatives can have a rewarding discussion of externalities. Too often government intervention is justified as a correction for market failure without regard to the consequences.

by Bitter Brew on Jul 17, 2013 12:58 pm • linkreport

I'm tellin you guys, the reason the Great Falls Sierra Club and not the Reston Sierra Club is all up in this is because they just don't want to lose the golf course, period. Nothing to do with environmental concerns.

by MJB on Jul 17, 2013 1:05 pm • linkreport

Doesn't matter if the housing is multifamily or not. The point is, older construction (=lead service line) were built before the parking requirement was implemented. This is around 40% of the current DC housing stock. These units do not include the cost of parking due to the zoning rules. If a non-driver insists that her housing not include any contribution to parking, she has around 40% of the DC housing to choose from.

Now of the housing constructed after 1958, yes, probably a fraction of the cost to build it has parking. How much is hard to say. But it could be argued that the subsidy works the *other* way, that housing constructed after 1958 (which includes parking) is actually subsidizing the older housing (which does not include parking) because 62% of DC households own cars.

The largest assumption is that a lead service line = pre-1958. Many of these lines have been replaced; but nobody seems to have questioned this.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 1:29 pm • linkreport

If a non-driver insists that her housing not include any contribution to parking, she has around 40% of the DC housing to choose from.

A number that has been shrinking since 1958 and will continue to shrink.

Meanwhile, that's great for the consumer (sort of) now what about the builder who has a cost imposed on him/her that doesn't allow for flexibility (outside of a variance) and doesn't solve the problems its intended to solve anyway?

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 1:34 pm • linkreport

"It's a demand to not be forced into paying for something you're not going to use".

Single people or childless couples could make the same argument for the money they pay in taxes that go to pay for public schools they don't use.

Healthy people could make the same argument for the money they pay in taxes for a city wide abulance service.

And taxpayers in the region who don't live anywhere near metro but whose tax dollars directly fund metro on a yearly basis could make that same argument.

I could go on and on...

The point is, no one is saying that keeping parking minimums is going to eliminate the parking issues if the District. The idea is that parking minimums keep them from getting worst. 60K people have moved into the District the past 12 years, constituting approximately 29K new households.

36% of those households are car free but the rest are not and assuming the remaining all have one car (not true, many have more) that means the District has also added about 20,000 personal vehicles to the streets in the past 12 years too.

Can you imagine the level of cluster-f&^k that would be District streets today if every one of those 20,000 cars had to be parked on the street because developers were given a pass?

Developers have as much culpability in having to deal with the extra traffic they bring, just as they have culpability in dealing with the extra sewage capacity they are adding to the system, and having to upgrade all the sewer lines along the frontage of their property to minimize the issue.

by Huh on Jul 17, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

the builder who has a cost imposed on him/her that doesn't allow for flexibility

This is a cost *all* builders OF NEW CONSTRUCTION must bear, so it does not make any difference.

There are a lot of buildings ripe for gut-rehabs, that do not to need include parking. So again, a builder has a choice whether to do this or not.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 1:39 pm • linkreport

and once again, if the developer loses mony on the space (as is most likely in the places most desirable for carfree living) then that loss will end up passed into the price of housing.

No, if the building gets built then the price is going to be whatever maximizes their profit (whatever gives them a certain percentage of vacancies). That’s going to be the case if they spend $5 or $500 million on development costs.
Getting rid of minimums will reduce prices if you believe:

1. There will be lower demand for such apartment buildings (even among individuals who would not have rented a parking space), driving down the cost. How do buildings without parking compare to buildings with parking? They don’t seem to be noticeably cheaper to me.

Or:

2. Despite how fast we’re growing and how much more development there already is, there needs to be more development at a faster pace, and getting rid of parking minimums is going to increase development to the point where there is a noticeable price drop, because it will lead to the development of numerous new buildings that wouldn’t have been built otherwise.

I won’t say that either belief is impossible, but I hardly think they are self-evident. Even if you believe one (or both) of these, then you still have to make a value judgment that the amount that will be saved in housing costs will offset the amount lost from less underground parking.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 1:44 pm • linkreport

Single people or childless couples could make the same argument for the money they pay in taxes that go to pay for public schools they don't use.

Healthy people could make the same argument for the money they pay in taxes for a city wide abulance service.

And taxpayers in the region who don't live anywhere near metro but whose tax dollars directly fund metro on a yearly basis could make that same argument.
This has been explained many times, it's whether we can agree whether parking (and driving) is considered a public good. There is a lot of debate to that, while the debate on schools as a public good is pretty settled. The city has a goal of reducing trips by car so why does it support a policy that encourages driving/car ownership?

The point is, no one is saying that keeping parking minimums is going to eliminate the parking issues if the District. The idea is that parking minimums keep them from getting worst. 60K people have moved into the District the past 12 years, constituting approximately 29K new households.

And parking minimums bring more car owners into the district so it does actually make the problem worse since people with cars usually drive them around town and must park places other than their own spot.

Developers have as much culpability in having to deal with the extra traffic they bring,

True, but there are better ways of dealing with this than just mandating a number of parking spaces must be built.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

Chatham,

Everyone saying that no parking buildings will be cheaper is implicitly saying this in their comment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceteris_paribus

Yes, sometimes other factors influence demand (and thus the price) but that doesn't mean that the unrelated costs shouldn't be removed.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

it's whether we can agree whether parking (and driving) is considered a public good.

The question was settled long ago, apparently back in 1958: driving and parking is a public good.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 1:48 pm • linkreport

This is a cost *all* builders OF NEW CONSTRUCTION must bear, so it does not make any difference.

Yes it does, when you think its something that shouldn't be mandated with any new construction.

There are a lot of buildings ripe for gut-rehabs, that do not to need include parking. So again, a builder has a choice whether to do this or not.

"So go build somewhere (or something) else" isn't a good argument.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 1:49 pm • linkreport

The idea is that parking minimums keep them from getting worst.

There is no evidence that parking minimums keep 'parking issues' (whatever that may be) from getting worse. Meanwhile, there is lots of evidence that they have numerous detrimental side-effects: higher housing costs, inducing more driving, fewer housing units produced, etc.

Can you imagine the level of cluster-f&^k that would be District streets today if every one of those 20,000 cars had to be parked on the street because developers were given a pass?

No, because such a scenario would not come to pass. If the developers were given "a pass", they would still build some parking - enough to meet the market demand for cost-effective off-street parking.

The remainder of the units would therefore be sold without parking to people willing and able to reduce their car storage needs. Ergo, the assumption that 20,000 cars would come is unfounded.

Developers have as much culpability in having to deal with the extra traffic they bring, just as they have culpability in dealing with the extra sewage capacity they are adding to the system, and having to upgrade all the sewer lines along the frontage of their property to minimize the issue.

Of course, building zero-parking buildings wouldn't induce much auto-traffic at all!

by Alex B. on Jul 17, 2013 1:49 pm • linkreport

The question was settled long ago, apparently back in 1958: driving and parking is a public good.

And the US flag looks perfect at just 48 stars!

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 1:50 pm • linkreport

"So go build somewhere (or something) else" isn't a good argument.

why not? the builder has a choice. You can't say there is this unavoidable subsidy when in fact it can be avoided.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 1:51 pm • linkreport

come back to us and tell us what they sold for in comparison to the handful of other condo buildings in the near vicinity the same age and amenities. If the sales price is more than 3% lower than those who sell parking, I will eat my shoe.

A good comparative study of the effect of parking on pricing can be seen by analyzing the River Place co-op in Rosslyn. It's a 1600 unit complex so there are several sales every month and there are only about 4-5 floorplans, so there are lots of comps. Some of the units come with parking and some do not. The units with parking typically sell for about $10K more than identical units without parking. That equates to about 5% of the price of a typical unit.

That said, 5% is probably low for central DC where I'd guess the price difference is a little more than that. So, it's definitely more than 3%. However, if the developer ends up pricing units without parking only 3% cheaper compared to the comps with parking, and you buy it a that price, you have overpaid and you'll suffer the consequences when you go to re-sell the unit.

by Falls Church on Jul 17, 2013 1:52 pm • linkreport

The subsidy's existence justifies the subsidy. Gotcha.

“There is always a choice."
"You mean I could choose certain death?"
"A choice nevertheless, or perhaps an alternative. You see I believe in freedom. Not many people do, although they will of course protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.”
¯ Terry Pratchett, Going Postal

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 1:54 pm • linkreport

"Can you imagine the level of cluster-f&^k that would be District streets today if every one of those 20,000 cars had to be parked on the street because developers were given a pass?"

Indeed, one might be forgiven for thinking that it would be sufficient impetus to pay extra for the amount of off-street parking they think they will actually need. And in any event, since we have now forced consumption of car parking so that the incremental costs of owning and operating a car in DC are lower, there are more cars in DC than there would otherwise have been.

Parking minima arguably makes things worse for other car owners in the District, not better.

by Crickey7 on Jul 17, 2013 1:55 pm • linkreport

" Despite how fast we’re growing and how much more development there already is, there needs to be more development at a faster pace, and getting rid of parking minimums is going to increase development to the point where there is a noticeable price drop, because it will lead to the development of numerous new buildings that wouldn’t have been built otherwise."

The higher number of new buildings being built is due to a drastic backlog, which has resulted in very high prices, by historical standards for DC, compared to other similar sized metros, and compared to affordability. There is evidence that the number of new units will bring rents down, but that the lower rents (Which wont be that low) will slow the number of units built (I refer to recent reports from Delta, etc) Lower costs would lead to enabling the high rate of construction to continue even at lower price points - hence to a lower "equilibrium" rent.

If you beleive that increasing costs on developers will have zero effect on supply and hence zero effect on price, why increase costs specifically by requiring parking? Why not require something else? Why not require all new developments to contribute to a fund for mass transit? That could fund major new transit lines. (note this is similar to what Tom Coumaris has been saying, but is not iddentical - he calls for parking OR other proffers - I am suggesting a proffer for transit ONLY) Of course the disadvantage of that is that supply will be impacted by piling on costs.

"I won’t say that either belief is impossible, but I hardly think they are self-evident."

There is both a priori theoretical evidence, and empirical evidence, for the impact of parking minimums on housing prices.

" Even if you believe one (or both) of these, then you still have to make a value judgment that the amount that will be saved in housing costs will offset the amount lost from less underground parking."

Its not clear to me that there is a net public benefit from additional underground parking.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

"he question was settled long ago, apparently back in 1958: driving and parking is a public good."

So if the new code passes, will you say for all time that it was decided in 2013 that parking is not a public good?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

I would argue that public goods have to be somewhat non-excludable as well. Provision of public parking is a public good whether it is free or paid. Electricity and water etc are pretty much available to everyone for the set rate. Mandating private parking only available to the residents of a building much more closely fits the definition of a required amenity. There are reasons that we require certain things like ventilation for health and safety reasons, but I'd be hard pressed to find a health and safety reason for required parking.

by Alan B. on Jul 17, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

If you beleive that increasing costs on developers will have zero effect on supply and hence zero effect on price, why increase costs specifically by requiring parking? Why not require something else? Why not require all new developments to contribute to a fund for mass transit? That could fund major new transit lines. (note this is similar to what Tom Coumaris has been saying, but is not iddentical - he calls for parking OR other proffers - I am suggesting a proffer for transit ONLY) Of course the disadvantage of that is that supply will be impacted by piling on costs.

That actually is what I’m in favor of. I don’t think that additional underground parking is the best benefit a new development can bring to the city. However, it’s preferable to nothing.

There is both a priori theoretical evidence, and empirical evidence, for the impact of parking minimums on housing prices.

The only empirical evidence I’ve seen posted is that LA study regarding refurbishing dilapidated buildings. I don’t think that’s a good indicator of whether or not new apartment buildings will be constructed near subway stops.

Its not clear to me that there is a net public benefit from additional underground parking.

Every car parked underground is one less car parked on the street or on ground level parking. Take, for example, Alpert’s recent piece where he writes that new developments in Tenleytown don’t need new parking because they can rent spaces from the Whole Foods. The above ground Whole Foods structure (and pretty much all above ground parking lots) can be put to much better use as housing or mixed-use development. Likewise, if we had a lower demand for street parking we could add bike lanes or do things like extend the sidewalk in Cleveland Park.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 2:31 pm • linkreport

So if the new code passes, will you say for all time that it was decided in 2013 that parking is not a public good?

No, as there is also all the road construction, paid for with tax dollars.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 2:33 pm • linkreport

"Every car parked underground is one less car parked on the street "

maybe. or maybe one more car owned. And whats the value of a car not parked on the street? In some places that can mean a bike lane. Or less dooring of cyclists. But on 15th street the on street parked cars protect the bike lane.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 2:46 pm • linkreport

"No, as there is also all the road construction, paid for with tax dollars."

how does it follow from that parking is a public good?
'
Airports are paid for with tax dollars. We dont require buildings to include parking for airplanes.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 2:47 pm • linkreport

"Every car parked underground is one less car parked on the street "

Nope. Eventually those cars travel around DC and park elsewhere.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 2:50 pm • linkreport

how does it follow from that parking is a public good?

I am sure you know that parking follows driving...if we provide for the former, so to must we provide for the latter, else the entire mode collapses.

Airports are paid for with tax dollars. We dont require buildings to include parking for airplanes.

LOL!

We build airports, but nobody suggests that a certain fraction of airport need not include parking for airplanes. Do you think it should be in the zoning? Funny!

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 2:51 pm • linkreport

"The above ground Whole Foods structure (and pretty much all above ground parking lots) can be put to much better use as housing or mixed-use development"

There are self storage sites that could be put to better use as housing. Does it make sense to require buildings to provide storage, to encourage that transition?

How about we take the current parking requirements, and give developers the option of providing an equivalent amount of storage instead?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 2:53 pm • linkreport

maybe. or maybe one more car owned. And whats the value of a car not parked on the street? In some places that can mean a bike lane. Or less dooring of cyclists. But on 15th street the on street parked cars protect the bike lane.

Perhaps, but I’ve yet to meet anyone that has based their car ownership on parking spaces in apartment buildings. Anecdotally, most people who have given up their car seem to do so because of the presence of other transportation options. This seems to indicate that if we want to lower car usage, exchanging parking requirements for things like zip cars and bike infrastructure seems to make much more sense.

And I’m not terribly moved by the argument that we need more cars parked on the street to protect bicyclists. I’m sure we can find other barriers if we need to. And yes, in a lot of places less parked cars will could mean more bike lanes, wider sidewalks, designated bus lanes, etc.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 2:55 pm • linkreport

"I am sure you know that parking follows driving...if we provide for the former, so to must we provide for the latter, else the entire mode collapses."

But the latter can be provided by the users, at their own expense, without subsidy or mandate. The whole system also collapses without repair facilities, gas stations, etc. shouuld they be provided as public goods?

We provide inland waterways as public goods. We do not provide storage for barges that way.

We provide sidewalks as a public good. should we provide storage for shoes? For clothes? for strollers? as public goods?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 2:57 pm • linkreport

Perhaps, but I’ve yet to meet anyone that has based their car ownership on parking spaces in apartment buildings.

Hello, my wife and I own one car. We had two when we got married but the apartment complex we moved to only allowed free parking for 1 car. While we decided that we were going down to one car regardless this still influenced us to get rid of the car faster and store it at her parent's house until we could sell it. And this was over 35$ or some similar amount.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 2:59 pm • linkreport

"Perhaps, but I’ve yet to meet anyone that has based their car ownership on parking spaces in apartment buildings.
Anecdotally, most people who have given up their car seem to do so because of the presence of other transportation options. "

my impression is that for many its both pull to other means, and push - the expense and hassle of car ownership. of which the cost of storing the car is by no means trivial.

Of course the cost is less in DC than it would otherwise be, because we mandate new buildings to have parking.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 2:59 pm • linkreport

I am sure you know that parking follows driving...if we provide for the former, so to must we provide for the latter, else the entire mode collapses.

Surely its self evident that the streets of DC aren't just used by cars.

Also, there are many ways to provide parking, not just mandating new parking be built with new structures.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 3:00 pm • linkreport

and note well, as Drumz points out, its not only about carfreedom, but about being car lite - in a multidriver household the question can be how many cars to own. Cost and convenience of parking can play a role in that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 3:01 pm • linkreport

"And I’m not terribly moved by the argument that we need more cars parked on the street to protect bicyclists. I’m sure we can find other barriers if we need to. And yes, in a lot of places less parked cars will could mean more bike lanes, wider sidewalks, designated bus lanes, etc."

we could of course do all those without requiring off street parking (in every building). we could just reduce the number of on street spaces available. with or without increased prices for RPP's.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 3:02 pm • linkreport

I mean if you think that requiring off street parking has NO impact on how much housing gets built, and no impact on how many cars are owned, its pretty much a cost free thing.

I do not believe that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 3:03 pm • linkreport

But the latter can be provided by the users, at their own expense, without subsidy or mandate.

..or by parking on the street, either free or at an artificially low rate, subsided by the public.

So I am not sure what you are saying.

Driving, like most forms of transportation is a public good, which justifies its subsidy. The matter has been settled.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 3:04 pm • linkreport

My friend has a car he never uses in the city because he went to grad school elsewhere. He told me he would have sold it by now if he didnt have a parking space that came with his condo anyway. I'm sure he would have prefered to get the condo cheaper in exchange for no parking spot but surprising its hard to find condos that don't come with them for some reason...

by Alan B. on Jul 17, 2013 3:05 pm • linkreport

Driving, like most forms of transportation is a public good, which justifies its subsidy

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/19535/road-advocate-says-car-dependence-is-an-argument-for-more/

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 3:07 pm • linkreport

"or by parking on the street, either free or at an artificially low rate, subsided by the public."

which we can choose not to do.

"o I am not sure what you are saying." That the system will not collapse because we treat parking as a private good.

We treat public radio as a public good (with far more justification than driving because the incremental cost of one more listener is zero) yet we do not provide free radios.

"driving, like most forms of transportation is a public good, which justifies its subsidy. The matter has been settled."

Driving is historically provided as a public good because it was too difficult to charge for it. Toll collection being a time consuming (and pollution generating) bottleneck. Today its probably possible to pay for roads (the only publicly provided part of driving BTW) with VMT charges.

I think you may be confusing "public good" with "good provided on govt owned infrastructure"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 3:09 pm • linkreport

goldfish

downtown miami no longer requires buildings to have parking.
Arlington County virginia allows some new buildings to have no parking, IIUC.

has driving collapsed in either place?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 3:10 pm • linkreport

Wife and I looked at one of them fancy new buildings. Close to metro, bikeable to work, lots of stuff within walking distaance, and zipcar right there. I said if we move there, we could sell our car - the cost of parking was ONE factor, as were other costs of owning the car. If the parking fee were higher (because of no mandated spaces) than that would have been even more the case.

by EmptyNester on Jul 17, 2013 3:13 pm • linkreport

downtown miami no longer requires buildings to have parking.

My neighbor's doghouse does not have parking either.

1. Your example have an infinitesimal fraction on the transportation needs of the city. Talk to me after NO building in the entire city of Miami has parking.

2. You can't really be serious given how car-dependent DC is, so I'm out of this conversation.

by goldfish on Jul 17, 2013 3:16 pm • linkreport

Nope. Eventually those cars travel around DC and park elsewhere.

While they are parked underground, they aren’t parked on the street. The more cars are parked underground, the less cars are parked on the street.

There are self storage sites that could be put to better use as housing. Does it make sense to require buildings to provide storage, to encourage that transition?
How about we take the current parking requirements, and give developers the option of providing an equivalent amount of storage instead?

Is there the inter-state highway system equivalent of storage? Are there storage-policy oriented blogs? Transportation is a major issue that public policy needs to deal with. Our transportation is currently heavily focused on cars, and for transportation by car to work, cars need a place to park. Now, we might all agree that it would be a good thing if we were less car dependent, and that policy should move in that direction. But ignoring the importance of cars and acting like they’re merely a hobby is simply pretending the world is not the way it is.

my impression is that for many its both pull to other means, and push - the expense and hassle of car ownership. of which the cost of storing the car is by no means trivial.
Of course the cost is less in DC than it would otherwise be, because we mandate new buildings to have parking.

The cost of on street parking is the same if we have the minimums or not. I tend to think of people who rent parking spaces as being more car focused, not less, so I tend to think of them as the group less likely to give up their car rather than just parking it on the street.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 3:16 pm • linkreport

"downtown miami no longer requires buildings to have parking.
My neighbor's doghouse does not have parking either."

huh?

"1. Your example have an infinitesimal fraction on the transportation needs of the city. Talk to me after NO building in the entire city of Miami has parking."

can you tell me where someone is calling for banning parking in all buildings in DC?

The proposed new code (before the modifications) ALLOWED parking free buildings (but also allowed buildings with lots of parking) in downtown and within 1/2 mile of metro stations, and within 1/4 mile of priority bus lines. And for very small buildings elsewhere.

"2. You can't really be serious given how car-dependent DC is, so I'm out of this conversation"

:)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 3:19 pm • linkreport

While they are parked underground, they aren’t parked on the street. The more cars are parked underground, the less cars are parked on the street.

That's what I'm trying to point out. Unless you never park anywhere else in the district or manage to exclusively park in garages/lots. Those cars will end up on parked on the street sometimes. That adds to the amount of cars parked on the street, it doesn't lessen it.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 3:22 pm • linkreport

Is there the inter-state highway system equivalent of storage? Are there storage-policy oriented blogs? Transportation is a major issue that public policy needs to deal with. Our transportation is currently heavily focused on cars, and for transportation by car to work, cars need a place to park. Now, we might all agree that it would be a good thing if we were less car dependent, and that policy should move in that direction. But ignoring the importance of cars and acting like they’re merely a hobby is simply pretending the world is not the way it is."

storage is an essential element of housing, and of the purchase of consumer goods.

The fact that transportation is important does not in any way imply that there is a need for mandatatoruy parking provision.

"cars need a place to park. "

and one more time, where has anyone called for banning the building of parking garages. No one here has. Parking will still be built even if parking minimums go away.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 3:22 pm • linkreport

You can't really be serious given how car-dependent DC is, so I'm out of this conversation.

So car dependent that the city set an ambitious but realistic goal of only having 25% of trips being made by car in twenty years time.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 3:24 pm • linkreport

"2. You can't really be serious given how car-dependent DC is, so I'm out of this conversation"

Not very?

by Alan B. on Jul 17, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

"The cost of on street parking is the same if we have the minimums or not. "

the financial cost is (under the current RPP system) but the hassle/convenience factor is not. IF car ownership stays the same (as you posit) and there are fewer offstreet spots, and more people competing for onstreet spots, it will take more time and effort to find a spot (indeed, I am pretty sure thats why so many people complain about the impact of new buildings on onstreet parking). So at the margin, someone might decide the hassle factor isnt worth it.

Now if we altered RPP's to be priced to clear the market, it would be price that would be impacted, not convenience.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 3:26 pm • linkreport

Is DC more car dependent than Miami? Than Arlington?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 3:36 pm • linkreport

I go back to my point that there is no hypothesis that shows why the market is incapable of meeting the demand for off-street parking (and that's assuming this is a thing for which government intervention, with its attendant distortive effects, is desireable anyway).

by Crickey7 on Jul 17, 2013 4:02 pm • linkreport

Those cars will end up on parked on the street sometimes.

Yes, but when they are parked underground, they are not. Hence in areas that have underground parking, cars will end up in the underground parking, and not on the street.

storage is an essential element of housing, and of the purchase of consumer goods.

And again – blogs about storage policy? Great government storage initiatives? Personal storage is important, but it’s not on the same level.

and one more time, where has anyone called for banning the building of parking garages. No one here has.
And no one was accused of anything like that. Individuals have, however, questioned the need for government involvement in parking, or wondered why parking is treated differently from personal storage. It’s because it’s an inherent part of transportation.

the financial cost is (under the current RPP system) but the hassle/convenience factor is not. IF car ownership stays the same (as you posit) and there are fewer offstreet spots, and more people competing for onstreet spots, it will take more time and effort to find a spot (indeed, I am pretty sure thats why so many people complain about the impact of new buildings on onstreet parking). So at the margin, someone might decide the hassle factor isnt worth it.

Well, yes, but isn’t that why many residents are so opposed to this? You seem to be saying that their fears are justified, because this will make parking more of a hassle.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 4:27 pm • linkreport

"And again – blogs about storage policy? Great government storage initiatives? Personal storage is important, but it’s not on the same level."

there are blogs about housing for sure. and about retail sales, about retail business and the general economy etc.

"and one more time, where has anyone called for banning the building of parking garages. No one here has.
And no one was accused of anything like that. Individuals have, however, questioned the need for government involvement in parking, or wondered why parking is treated differently from personal storage. It’s because it’s an inherent part of transportation."

Storage is an inherent part of housing and retail. gas stations are an inherent part of transportation. I simply do not follow the logic that says Transportation is a big thing, autos are a big part of transportation, ergo the supply of parking cannot be left to the market. One does not follow from the other.

"the financial cost is (under the current RPP system) but the hassle/convenience factor is not. IF car ownership stays the same (as you posit) and there are fewer offstreet spots, and more people competing for onstreet spots, it will take more time and effort to find a spot (indeed, I am pretty sure thats why so many people complain about the impact of new buildings on onstreet parking). So at the margin, someone might decide the hassle factor isnt worth it.

Well, yes, but isn’t that why many residents are so opposed to this? You seem to be saying that their fears are justified, because this will make parking more of a hassle."

as long as we A. allow parking free buildings to have RPPs and B. price RPPs at a fraction of their real value then their fears ARE justified. However there is now a bill in front of the council that would alter A. It would take away the basis for those fears - it would also mean that parking free buildings could only mean fewer cars, and not more cars parked on the street.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 4:34 pm • linkreport

Yes, but when they are parked underground, they are not. Hence in areas that have underground parking, cars will end up in the underground parking, and not on the street.

The argument is also that more underground parking means more cars period than the alternative, so that means more car trips, more parking of those cars in other places, and more traffic.

by MLD on Jul 17, 2013 4:41 pm • linkreport

Yes, but when they are parked underground, they are not. Hence in areas that have underground parking, cars will end up in the underground parking, and not on the street.
So its agreed that parking minimums are only sometimes able to keep spots on the street open. That's different from the argument that parking minimums help keep cars off the street.

Re: Hassle,
And that's the problem with the gov't subsidizing parking. It's natural to expect pushback but it doesn't change the facts of the policy. Besides, gov't uses economic incentives all the time to get people to change behavior on the margins.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 4:44 pm • linkreport

there are blogs about housing for sure. and about retail sales, about retail business and the general economy etc.

Yes, but not about personal storage policy. If you want to compare parking policy to general economic policy, be my guest.

Storage is an inherent part of housing and retail. gas stations are an inherent part of transportation. I simply do not follow the logic that says Transportation is a big thing, autos are a big part of transportation, ergo the supply of parking cannot be left to the market. One does not follow from the other.

Because the market can not handle it on its own. It’s the same reason we don’t just leave the metro or buses up to the market. Hey, if the demand is there, the services will come, no? Why should the government force drivers to pay for transportation they don’t use? If we were to eliminate all public parking and allowed the private sector to deal with it, it would be a mess.

as long as we A. allow parking free buildings to have RPPs and B. price RPPs at a fraction of their real value then their fears ARE justified. However there is now a bill in front of the council that would alter A. It would take away the basis for those fears - it would also mean that parking free buildings could only mean fewer cars, and not more cars parked on the street.

Well, yes, which means that removing the parking minimums might be a good idea combined with other initiatives (as I’ve said before), but not a great idea by itself.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 4:46 pm • linkreport

The argument is also that more underground parking means more cars period than the alternative, so that means more car trips, more parking of those cars in other places, and more traffic.

Again, that seems unlikely. I’ve yet to meet someone who moved into an apartment, couldn’t get a space in the garage, and decided to get rid of their car instead of parking in the street. Not saying it never happens, but I don’t think that’s common.

So its agreed that parking minimums are only sometimes able to keep spots on the street open. That's different from the argument that parking minimums help keep cars off the street.

Well, yeah. Underground parking in Columbia Heights doesn’t mean an expanded sidewalk in Cleveland Park. But I thought that was fairly obvious. Underground parking in Cleveland Park means less cars on the streets in…wait for it…Cleveland Park. Which means Cleveland Park has a greater ability to do things like, say, expand the sidewalk or add bike lanes.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 4:52 pm • linkreport

Because the market can not handle it on its own.
A: you're going to have to assert that more fully,
B: and the parking minimums combined with nearly free gov't owned street parking has helped?

And again, it's been argued that parking minimums help keep cars off the street. That's not true simply because if it were then we'd have full garages and no one would be driving anywhere.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 4:57 pm • linkreport

AWITC, “Arlington County virginia allows some new buildings to have no parking, IIUC.”

The lowest minimum parking requirement in Arlington is 1 and 1/8 spaces per unit as compared with DC’s current minimum parking requirements of 0.25 to 0.5 spaces per unit. In Arlington, it is possible to have the parking requirement lowered or waived, but it involves an extensive public review process, which is more rigorous that the process by which its lower parking requirements might be reduced or waived in DC.

Alan B, I have known many people who, in that situation, had no problem renting the unused parking space to another resident of the building, resulting in a lower net rent.

AWITC, The Wells bill does alter the current situation, where residents of parking-free buildings are eligible for RPPs. The bill will only allow developers to request that future residents of the building not be eligible for RPPs, but will not require them to make that request if they choose to have no parking, or if the parking capacity is significantly less than the number of cars owned by the residents. If the developer does not make this request prior to the first move-in, the residents will be eligible for RPPs.

by OtherMike on Jul 17, 2013 4:57 pm • linkreport

the market can not handle it on its own

We are precisely arguing that the market can handle the demand for parking on its own. Some situations will require parking to be economically viable. Other developers may make different decisions. Enterprising entrepreneurs may decide to build separate parking facilities in order to meet the demands of car owners who want parking. This is a problem that can work itself out without the government demanding that the developers provide what is an optional amenity.

by JustMe on Jul 17, 2013 4:59 pm • linkreport

A: you're going to have to assert that more fully,

I did: "If we were to eliminate all public parking and allowed the private sector to deal with it, it would be a mess."

B: and the parking minimums combined with nearly free gov't owned street parking has helped?

Bad policy in the past doesn't mean that we should have bad policy now. Coal power plants are bad, but it would be a mistake to merely shut them all down tomorrow. Things need to be phased out.

And again, it's been argued that parking minimums help keep cars off the street. That's not true simply because if it were then we'd have full garages and no one would be driving anywhere.

Eh...what? Cars underground are being kept off the streets. No, that doesn't mean they never go on the street, just as bike lanes don't mean that bicyclists never have to go on the street. But the idea that "keeping cars off the streets sometimes doesn't matter if they're not off the streets all the time" makes as much sense as "keeping bicyclists off the streets sometimes doesn't matter if they're not off the street all the time"(none).

If you think creating more space for bike lanes in Cleveland Park doesn't matter if people are parking on the street in Columbia Heights...well, we probably disagree too much here.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 5:04 pm • linkreport

Without cars, the auto transportation system will also collapse. Yet we don't support a requirement that each dwelling unit also come with a car. Sorry, Garrett Park.

by Crickey7 on Jul 17, 2013 5:06 pm • linkreport

"Yes, but not about personal storage policy. If you want to compare parking policy to general economic policy, be my guest."

are you saying there are blogs not about transportation, but about parking? I guess there are (that fellow shoup?) but thats mainly cause we so heavily regulate parking. If we mandated storage the way we do parking, I am sure some economist would start a blog about storage.

"Because the market can not handle it on its own. It’s the same reason we don’t just leave the metro or buses up to the market. Hey, if the demand is there, the services will come, no? Why should the government force drivers to pay for transportation they don’t use? "

There are speficic economic failures wrt to transit - not only the oft cited ones regarding pollution, but because its an alternative to driving (which is underpriced on congested roads) and because transit has inherently high fixed costs. Price it at variable cost, and it loses money. I dont see those factors for parking, mostly.

"If we were to eliminate all public parking and allowed the private sector to deal with it, it would be a mess."

Public parking? You mean municipal lots? Or all public involvement in parking? Im willing to accept that there places where it may make sense to mandate some offstreet spaces. I dont see near transit in big cities as being places like that. I dont think the old new zoning god would create "a mess" esp if combined with the Wells bill.

"Well, yes, which means that removing the parking minimums might be a good idea combined with other initiatives (as I’ve said before), but not a great idea by itself."

but the other initiative is moving forward - the Wells bill.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 5:12 pm • linkreport

"AWITC, “Arlington County virginia allows some new buildings to have no parking, IIUC.”
The lowest minimum parking requirement in Arlington is 1 and 1/8 spaces per unit as compared with DC’s current minimum parking requirements of 0.25 to 0.5 spaces per unit. In Arlington, it is possible to have the parking requirement lowered or waived, but it involves an extensive public review process, which is more rigorous that the process by which its lower parking requirements might be reduced or waived in DC."

the arlington system may or may not be better than the system proposed in DC. I was responding to the notion implied by goldfish that building parking free buildings would lead to the collapse of driving, and is not possible in a car dependent place "like DC"

"AWITC, The Wells bill does alter the current situation, where residents of parking-free buildings are eligible for RPPs. The bill will only allow developers to request that future residents of the building not be eligible for RPPs, but will not require them to make that request if they choose to have no parking, or if the parking capacity is significantly less than the number of cars owned by the residents. If the developer does not make this request prior to the first move-in, the residents will be eligible for RPPs."

My understanding is that the bill is designed to allow the city to make parking free status contingent on such request. Why else would a developer ever make such a request?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 5:16 pm • linkreport

"If we were to eliminate all public parking and allowed the private sector to deal with it, it would be a mess."

But this isn't about getting rid of public parking. It's about getting rid of a requirement of builders to provide parking (that is often kept as private parking anyway).

Bad policy in the past doesn't mean that we should have bad policy now. Things need to be phased out.

It was (is) being phased out. The removal of parking minimums was never city wide and at present only applies downtown.

Cars underground are being kept off the streets. No, that doesn't mean they never go on the street

That's not what was asserted. It was said that parking minimums keep the current street parking climate at status quo. That's not true because as you add parking (and cars) you're increasing the number of cars that may be looking for a street spot at any given time. Even if they're stored off street at other times.

Re: bike lanes and cleveland park or whatever, I think you're confusing me with AWITC.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 5:17 pm • linkreport

"Again, that seems unlikely. I’ve yet to meet someone who moved into an apartment, couldn’t get a space in the garage, and decided to get rid of their car instead of parking in the street. Not saying it never happens, but I don’t think that’s common."

I would guess thats because a lot of sorting happens prior. I think its incorrect to say that the decision to go car free or car lite is seperate from the cost and convenience of parking. Its also the case that the availability of cheap RPPs lessens the impact of not having a parking space in the building.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 17, 2013 5:19 pm • linkreport

The Wells bill is called the “Neighborhood Parking Protection Act of 2013,” B20-0319, and the full text is available on the DC Council web-site.

The bill would “give the Mayor authority to grant a property owner’s request to make a property ineligible for residential parking permits when a property does not have any residents at the time of the request.” The bill also includes conditions for providing notice to a buyer or residential tenant and entering into a restrictive covenant with the recorder of deeds.

The Wells bill does not define any conditions under which a property owner must make such a request.

The full text of the bill is available at: http://dcclims1.dccouncil.us/images/00001/20130606115431.pdf

by OtherMike on Jul 17, 2013 5:49 pm • linkreport

Public parking? You mean municipal lots? Or all public involvement in parking? Im willing to accept that there places where it may make sense to mandate some offstreet spaces. I dont see near transit in big cities as being places like that. I dont think the old new zoning god would create "a mess" esp if combined with the Wells bill.

All public involvement in parking. I'm not saying the new zoning code will make a mess (in fact, I doubt it will have much impact one way or another), but merely pointing out that the government is already deeply involved in parking. It's not like the decision to create parking or not doesn't affect government land.

but the other initiative is moving forward - the Wells bill.

As far as I know, the Well's bill wouldn't be connected to the zoning changes.

But this isn't about getting rid of public parking. It's about getting rid of a requirement of builders to provide parking (that is often kept as private parking anyway).

Eh:
"Because the market can not handle it on its own."
"A: you're going to have to assert that more fully,"

We agree on this then?

It was (is) being phased out. The removal of parking minimums was never city wide and at present only applies downtown.

Phasing out the infrastructure for driving before phasing out driving (or even making it clear that things like the metro aren't for car owning commuters) seems backwards to me. Like I've said before, if we want to phase out driving, doing things like replacing the minimums with zip cars, bike shares, money for transportation funds, etc. would be a much better way to actually increase the amount of car free individuals.

That's not what was asserted. It was said that parking minimums keep the current street parking climate at status quo. That's not true because as you add parking (and cars) you're increasing the number of cars that may be looking for a street spot at any given time. Even if they're stored off street at other times.

That is only true if underground parking increases the number of cars, as opposed to giving them a different place to park. I don't think it does.

Re: bike lanes and cleveland park or whatever, I think you're confusing me with AWITC.

Eh. You might not car about bike lanes, reducing the amount of drivers or whatever, but that does not mean such things suddenly have no value.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 6:00 pm • linkreport

I would guess thats because a lot of sorting happens prior. I think its incorrect to say that the decision to go car free or car lite is seperate from the cost and convenience of parking. Its also the case that the availability of cheap RPPs lessens the impact of not having a parking space in the building.

Well, yeah. I'd be in favor of having a car tax that's based on income, and then using the money raised for public transportation. It's never going to happen, of course, but it would be nice.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 6:02 pm • linkreport

Mandated parking, which means that parking is built regardless of demand for it, increases the amount of cars. Sometimes it's from the residents who move in, sometimes it's from people who rent the the spots from residents who don't need the spot for whatever reason.

Meanwhile, we've totally reduced the car infrastructure in DC (notably for cycle tracks) and its been done without the condition of curbing driving first. We can do the same with parking,

And the market often provides plenty of parking. There are places in DC where more than the minimum was built. That shows the market is adept and gauging the amount of parking needed and when it says 0 spots are needed then that's a reasonable number and not simply based on trying to get out of an obligation. You asserted that its failed but what I've said is evidence that it hasn't.

As you say, there are better ways to fund transit an reduce driving. Just because DC isn't doing those for any reason doesn't justify the existence of a present bad policy.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 6:17 pm • linkreport

Add: residents who move in and keep their car because why not? There is a place to park it.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 6:19 pm • linkreport

Mandated parking, which means that parking is built regardless of demand for it, increases the amount of cars.

You keep asserting that, but I haven't seen evidence of it.

You asserted that its failed but what I've said is evidence that it hasn't.

I've asserted that it "can not handle it on its own," which we both seem to agree on.

Just because DC isn't doing those for any reason doesn't justify the existence of a present bad policy.

Well, you've implied earlier that you don't care about the number of cars on the street. I'll grant that if you don't, and you don't think we can get a better deal in exchange for removing the requirements (which I would disagree with), you'd probably see no reason to keep them. As I've said, I doubt they'll make much of a difference either way.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 6:25 pm • linkreport

The only empirical evidence I’ve seen posted is that LA study regarding refurbishing dilapidated buildings. I don’t think that’s a good indicator of whether or not new apartment buildings will be constructed near subway stops.

http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/420062

http://www.uctc.net/papers/380.pdf

http://www.vtpi.org/park-hou.pdf

http://www.uctc.net/papers/351.pdf

http://www.huduser.org/rbc/newsletter/vol7iss2more.html

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2011/04/04/donald-shoup/free-parking-or-free-markets

Of course, parking is but one constraint within the zoning code for development. Zoning is quite constraining and does not allow the supply to rise to match demand - regardless of the costs of such constraints:

http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/hier1948.pdf

by Alex B. on Jul 17, 2013 6:36 pm • linkreport

Garages have been built, cars have filled them. It's been pointed out that in some cases that its not residents cars that has filled them (despite that being who it's intended for) but they're filled just the same. I don't know what other proof is required.

I think the market can and has provided it so on that we don't agree. Even if it can't I don't see where minimums come in as the best strategy.

I also don't know where you got the implication that I "don't care about the number of cars". I'm not even sure what that means. I want to see less cars on the road (parked or moving). I'm not thrilled about swaps or deals because I think that's a more inefficient way to govern than simply having clear requirements for transportation improvements while letting parking off the hook.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 6:36 pm • linkreport

It may take a bit of time, but parking minima are on their way out as a tool in the zoning toolkit. The trend is clear.

by Crickey7 on Jul 17, 2013 6:43 pm • linkreport

Garages have been built, cars have filled them. It's been pointed out that in some cases that its not residents cars that has filled them (despite that being who it's intended for) but they're filled just the same. I don't know what other proof is required.

Garages have cars in them, therefore garages create drivers? Eh, not seeing the logic.

I think the market can and has provided it so on that we don't agree.

Well then, when I said: "If we were to eliminate all public parking and allowed the private sector to deal with it, it would be a mess," you might as well have replied "I disagree."

I also don't know where you got the implication that I "don't care about the number of cars".

"...number of cars on the street." When I talked about the other uses for the space that's now reserved for street parking, your response was: "Re: bike lanes and cleveland park or whatever, I think you're confusing me with AWITC." Perhaps it was merely a non-sequitur.

I'm not thrilled about swaps or deals because I think that's a more inefficient way to govern than simply having clear requirements for transportation improvements while letting parking off the hook.

Well, the city gets something for it. Since I think the real estate market is in more danger of overheating than of stagnating, there's no real benefit I see from removing the current requirements on their own.

@Alex B.
Considering the numerous problems with the last research you posted, you'll forgive me if I don't take a look at each of those studies.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 7:00 pm • linkreport

Considering the numerous problems with the last research you posted, you'll forgive me if I don't take a look at each of those studies.

Numerous problems? There were no problems with the Manville paper. The important conclusion is the dynamic of development before changing the zoning code and after - and, after removing the on-site parking requirement, we see more housing produced at a wider array of price points and with a wide variety of parking spaces provided - at a variety of on and off site locations.

These other papers will show similar results.

You implicitly asked for more research. I've opened the door for you. If you don't want to walk through it, that's fine - but then don't blame me.

by Alex B. on Jul 17, 2013 7:05 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity - "The majority of Americans watch Cable TV. Why don't we require all buildings to be wired for cable? Why do we allow this subsidy to developers?

And the majority of people who move into new buildings in DC (and arlington) have laptops and/or other wireless devices. Why don't we requyire all new buildings to have WiFi? Why do we allow this subsidy to developers?"

There seems to be some confusion between services and infrastructure here.

I'm thinking that in most cases residents could contract with a provider to get cable or WiFi service, even if their landlord did not provide it up front. Although frankly all new buildings should have WiFi. I mean, why not?

On the other hand, I doubt a resident could order a parking space be installed in their parking-free building.

by Chris S. on Jul 17, 2013 7:21 pm • linkreport

It's generally assumed that when you park a in a garage you eventually take the car out of it and go somewhere with it.

I'm still honestly perplexed about where CP bike lanes came into this. FWIW if parking has to be given up for a ped/bike/transit improvement I'm going to say bye bye to the parking.

by drumz on Jul 17, 2013 7:28 pm • linkreport

Numerous problems? There were no problems with the Manville paper.

Did you read the paper? It states that it's difficult to separate the parking change alone since it accompanied other changes, and it was also difficult to tell how much of the increase in renovations occurred because of the changes (that included, but were not limited to parking) and how much were because of the corresponding boom. Yes, if you think there were no problems when the paper itself pointed out numerous problems, I'm not going to run through all the other research that you likewise feel contain no problems.

by Chatham on Jul 17, 2013 8:24 pm • linkreport

Did you read the paper?

Yes, I did - I've actually read it a couple of times. And the paper does not suggest that the issues you cite cannot be accounted for, or that they alter the paper's conclusions.

Like any good academic paper, it discusses its methods and the weaknesses therein. And yet, even with the weaknesses of the methodology, the author still feels the evidence is strong enough to offer conclusions about the impacts of parking requirements.

Manville suggests causality with regression analysis of a number of variables discussed in the paper: "In sum, the regression evidence is suggestive but far from ironclad, given that levels of statistical significance in these equations are sensitive to alternative specifications." Of course, part of this is not about math but simply about asking developers how they conduct their business (since that's the behavior that is measured here). In pages 25-26, Manville also discusses the factors where he is likely underestimating the impact of removing parking requirements, not overestimating them.

So, are these 'problems?' I don't see any of these as problems, just an honest discussion of the limitations of the research; and those limitations do not change the overall conclusion (as you suggest). Are you taking issue with the paper, or the paper's implications for policy?

by Alex B. on Jul 17, 2013 9:25 pm • linkreport

Alex B. I looked at the links you provided to support the claims that minimum parking requirements such as the ones we currently have in DC negatively impact housing affordability. For some of the reasons listed below, none of the papers you listed are relevant to DC. In general, they are all looking at parking requirements that are overly generous and inflexible, while DC’s parking requirements are low and allow for substantial flexibility. Some also assume that minimum parking requirements reduce the residential density that can be constructed on a site, something that is not true in DC. Can you provide any research papers that support these claims when minimum parking requirements are as low as DC’s current minimums?

The 2013 Todd Litman paper is an analysis of the impact of regulations that require “generous parking supply” and concludes by stating that generous, inflexible parking requirements are inefficient and inequitable.

The paper defines typical parking standards as 1 space per unit for efficiency apartments, 1.5 spaces per unit for 1-2 bedroom apartments, 2 spaces per unit for apartments with three or more bedrooms and 1.4 spaces per unit for condominiums. He looks at the increasing number of vehicles per household by income, which for low income households increased from about 0.5 in 1972 to about 0.75 in 2001, and for high income households increased from about 2.1 per household to nearly 3.0 per household over the same time period.

DC has extremely low parking requirements, 0.25 to 0.50 spaces per unit for apartments and condominiums, compared with average vehicle ownership rates of 0.9 vehicles per household.

So this paper seems to only be drawing conclusions about generous and inflexible parking requirements, and not about DC’s current low and flexible requirements.

The 2011 Donald Shoup article is about commercial parking for employees and customers, and not residential parking, and thus does not address housing affordability.

The 2008 HUD newsletter article describes several affordable housing projects where there was a reduction in the required parking for those projects. For example, in Seattle, they describe a project where the developer of the affordable housing projects had a reduced minimum parking requirement of 0.3 to 1.0 spaces per unit depending on location. It does not discuss the issue of minimum parking requirements and housing affordability outside the context of affordable housing projects.

The unpublished 1998 Jia and Wachs paper looked at six San Francisco neighborhoods, and noted that houses and condominiums that included parking spaces cost more than units that did not include parking, and because of these higher prices, they concluded that fewer households would qualify for mortgages for houses and condominiums that had off-street parking than would qualify for mortgages for houses and condominiums that lacked parking. They describe the relevant regulations as requiring one space per new dwelling units, with reductions for housing that is specifically intended for the elderly. I don’t think anyone is surprised that the cost of a unit with parking is higher than the cost of a unit without parking, just as we would not be surprised if the cost of a unit with air conditioning was higher than the cost of a similar unit without air conditioning. But with DC’s minimum parking requirements being much lower than one space per unit, the minimum parking requirements are not barring the availability of units without parking.

The 1997 Shoup paper does not include much discussion of residential parking requirements and to the extent that the effect on housing costs is discussed, it is based on the theory that when there are residential parking requirements of one space per unit or more, there is a decrease in housing density.

The Portland, Oregon study looks at the impact of parking requirements of 0.75 spaces per unit on housing production costs, with particular emphasis on how that requirement might reduce the amount of housing that can be constructed on a small site either because the parking is above ground, and thus gets counted toward the allowable floor area ratio, or because it is surface parking which reduces the land available for the building. For below ground parking, they claim that because of issues of site size and configuration, there is a limited amount of parking that can be done on one below-grade level, so they assume that the parking that can be provided on one level reduces the number of units that the developer can include below the amount that would be allowed if there were no parking required. Most of these calculations are irrelevant to DC, where the parking requirement is much lower, much of the parking is underground, and doesn’t reduce the footprint of the building or the available floor area, and with the low parking requirement, the developer of that configuration would be able to provide enough parking to have a matter-of-right building with the full 50 units that were in the no-parking required prototype, but if that weren’t the case, there would be flexibility to either have off-site parking or a reduction in the requirement.

The Manville paper looked at the 1999 Los Angeles Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, where there was no minimum parking requirement for office buildings that had been vacant for more than five years and were being converted to residential units. Prior to that change, the minimum parking requirement was two spaces per condominium unit, and they found that when that requirement was removed, some previously vacant office buildings were converted to residential uses. In these conversions, the developer provided, in average, 1.3 spaces per unit, with 0.9 spaces on-site, and 0.4 spaces off-site. This paper is not relevant to our current discussion since DC’s regulations have much lower minimum parking requirements and substantial flexibility when dealing with this type of conversion.

The 2002 Glaeser and Gyourko paper made no mention of parking whatsoever.

by OtherMike on Jul 18, 2013 12:47 pm • linkreport

For some of the reasons listed below, none of the papers you listed are relevant to DC.

Well, if you want to argue that the papers do not apply because they do not specifically target an excessively narrow question, that is your prerogative. I don't find that to be a persuasive argument, however.

In general, they are all looking at parking requirements that are overly generous and inflexible, while DC’s parking requirements are low and allow for substantial flexibility.

DC's requirements are not that flexible - certainly not as flexible as allowing parking off-site. And while they are lower than other cities, they still exist.

This is not a relevant criticism and is not grounds to dismiss theses studies.

Some also assume that minimum parking requirements reduce the residential density that can be constructed on a site, something that is not true in DC.

How is that not true in DC? It is absolutely true anywhere, as a basic geometric fact. If I devote X space for parking, that is X space that I cannot use for something else.

Requiring that parking be provided introduces an opportunity cost, it's that simple.

Can you provide any research papers that support these claims when minimum parking requirements are as low as DC’s current minimums?

That's exactly what some of these papers do: they examine examples of a requirement set at zero. And zero is less than DC's current requirements.

by Alex B. on Jul 18, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

Alex B: These papers look at the impact on housing costs of reducing a “generous” minimum parking requirement, for example, going from 1 to 2 spaces per unit to a lower number, possibly even zero.

None of the papers look at the impact on housing costs of reducing a very low minimum parking requirement of 0.25 to .5 spaces per unit. So none of the papers support the claim that reducing DC’s current (low) minimum parking requirement of 0.25 to 0.5 spaces per unit to zero, 0.167 or 0.33 spaces per unit would reduce the cost of housing for those households who choose not to buy or rent a parking space.

“Some also assume that minimum parking requirements reduce the residential density that can be constructed on a site, something that is not true in DC.

How is that not true in DC? It is absolutely true anywhere, as a basic geometric fact. If I devote X space for parking, that is X space that I cannot use for something else.”

For apartments and condominiums in DC, most of the parking is underground, and the DC zoning regulations do not count the underground parking or parking whose ceiling is less than four feet above the finished grade in the calculation of the floor area of the building, so the inclusion of underground parking in a project does not reduce the amount of finished space that is allowed on a lot in that zone.

Your “basic geometric fact” doesn’t take into account how the DC zoning regulations calculate floor area ratios.

The examples in the articles were for other cities, where the parking wasn’t generally underground, or partially underground, and in those cities, having above ground parking would count toward the total allowable building size, and that means that there was less space allowed for the non-parking uses.

So none of the arguments based on this theory apply to the analysis of housing affordability and minimum parking requirements in DC.

“DC's requirements are not that flexible - certainly not as flexible as allowing parking off-site.”

Chapter 21, Section 2116.6 through 2116.9 describes the conditions for providing the required parking off-site. It is by special exception, not variance, and based on, for example, a claim that the location of the required parking spaces on another lot would result in more efficient use of land, better design or landscaping, safer ingress or egress, and less adverse impact on neighboring properties.” They are routinely granted.

Clearly, none of the links you listed provide support that a reduction in DC’s already low minimum parking requirements would enhance housing affordability. Is there other research that does?

by OtherMike on Jul 18, 2013 3:53 pm • linkreport

Ah the old, DC is so unique it can't possibly learn from mistakes/best practices of other cities and can also feel free to ignore the rules of economics.

This was awesome when it was applied to bike lanes on New Mexico ave and just as great here. So ignore Alex's studies if you want and just look at the list of projects in DC that have been adversely affected (some by not being built at all) by the parking minimum.

by drumz on Jul 18, 2013 4:03 pm • linkreport

So none of the papers support the claim that reducing DC’s current (low) minimum parking requirement of 0.25 to 0.5 spaces per unit to zero, 0.167 or 0.33 spaces per unit would reduce the cost of housing for those households who choose not to buy or rent a parking space.

Unless the parking magically becomes free, they absolutely support that claim. A non-zero requirement therefore mandates a non-zero cost.

Your “basic geometric fact” doesn’t take into account how the DC zoning regulations calculate floor area ratios.

And FAR isn't relevant to my point. If I have to devote part of my site to off-street parking, that will take up space that I could use for something else - regardless of whether it's underground or not.

It's not like underground parking is free, either. It's expensive - hardly a consolation of it not counting against your FAR. Likewise, the access ramps to get to that parking eat up space that could be used for something else.

Chapter 21, Section 2116.6 through 2116.9 describes the conditions for providing the required parking off-site. It is by special exception, not variance...

Which, as I said, is not as flexible as a) not requiring parking at all, or b) allowing off-site parking by right.

If granting these exceptions is so routine, then what's the worry about allowing them by right? What's the worry about simply eliminating the requirements all together?

Clearly, none of the links you listed provide support that a reduction in DC’s already low minimum parking requirements would enhance housing affordability.

Clearly, the research stands on its own. Clearly, you are more interested in trying to raise FUD rather than engage in a reasonable discussion.

Affordability is but one reason of many to get rid of parking requirements, by the way. The research is quite clear. Beyond that, there is no support for keeping requirements in place, other than status quo bias. Parking requirements do not solve any spillover parking issues, they are not a replacement for good on-street parking management, and on top of that they have numerous detrimental impacts on our city's built environment.

by Alex B. on Jul 18, 2013 4:11 pm • linkreport

Drumz, I did not say that DC is unique. I simply stated that the situations described in these articles are different. Thus the articles cannot be used to draw conclusions about zoning changes in DC.

One of the authors even stated this in the article: He was only looking at the impact of reducing “generous” parking requirements. His analysis doesn’t apply to parking requirements that reflect vehicle ownership rates or, like DC’s are significantly lower than vehicle ownership rates.

Simply put, these were articles looking at the impact of providing one or two spaces for every housing unit, and providing them above ground. That has a very different effect on land use than providing one space for every four units below ground. Not all parking minimums are the same.

Alex, to the extent that the papers you linked to discussed underground parking (and mostly they concentrated on surface parking or above ground parking), it was in the context of limiting the amount of residential space available before reaching the floor-area-ratio limit. So understanding DC development (with parking mostly underground) and DC regulations on floor-area-ratio is essential for understanding whether their theory applies here.

I think it is clear that the housing affordability argument for reducing or eliminating parking requirements should be off the table due to a lack of evidence relative to conditions in DC supporting that argument.

by OtherMike on Jul 18, 2013 4:57 pm • linkreport

I did not say that DC is unique. I simply stated that the situations described in these articles are different. Thus the articles cannot be used to draw conclusions about zoning changes in DC.

The priciniples from this research can indeed be used to draw conclusions for DC. Asserting that the research does not apply to DC just because the circumstances is slightly different is a logical fallacy and denies the overwhelming evidence of the research.

So understanding DC development (with parking mostly underground) and DC regulations on floor-area-ratio is essential for understanding whether their theory applies here.

Again, this is not a theory, this is the simple arrangement of space.

For more, see this paper: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/420062

In this hypothetical building, a no-parking building can hold 50 units. Underground parking must still come to the surface, eating up space that could be used for something else - and thus, the option with underground parking has only 44 units. Those units must also be more expensive, due to the added cost of the underground spaces.

by Alex B. on Jul 18, 2013 6:01 pm • linkreport

Alex, The Portland example that you cite wouldn’t apply in DC because DC’s minimum parking requirements are much lower than is assumed in that model.

In the example, a building with no parking could have 50 units and provide no parking. With the assumed parking requirements of 0.75 parking spaces per unit and with the assumed configuration, it was only possible to include 33 parking spaces in a one-level underground garage, so in this example, as you noted, the developer could only have 44 units rather than 50 units while providing at least 0.75 parking spaces per unit in the one-level garage.

If, however, we were to use DC’s regulations in this example, the developer with a 50-unit project would only be required to provide 13 to 25 parking spaces depending on the zone. Since the one-level garage would have a capacity of 33 spaces, the parking requirement would not limit the number of units that he could provide as it had in the Portland example.

This example illustrates clearly how the articles you cited, based on reductions in minimum parking requirements far higher than DC’s minimum parking requirements, cannot be used as a basis for looking at the impact of changes in DC’s requirements.

These are not “slightly different” circumstances, but substantially different circumstances, and as in the above example, the conclusions at these links might not be the same as the conclusions based on very different assumptions, and these links cannot be relied on to support the claims about minimum parking requirements and housing affordability.

by OtherMike on Jul 18, 2013 8:38 pm • linkreport

So there is a hypothetical situation where circumstances would mean that more parking would be built than the minimum and that justifies the minimum.

by drumz on Jul 18, 2013 10:03 pm • linkreport

@drumz, Alex B. gave an example, based on the Portland link, to support a claim that DC’s minimum parking requirements result in a reduction in the amount of housing that can be built on a given site, thereby raising housing costs.

Looking Alex’s hypothetical with DC’s zoning regulations, we see that the developer can include all the required parking, 13 to 25 spaces depending on the zone, and could include as many units as the parking-free building in the Portland example. We do not know whether the hypothetical developer of the 50-unit project in this example would provide only the required parking or would choose to provide more parking, up to 33 spaces.

Portland’s study used a significantly higher minimum parking requirement and that was why the developer meeting the minimum parking requirement could only build 44 units, and could not build the same 50 units as the developer of the parking-free project.

The review of the hypothetical that Alex cited simply demonstrates that you cannot draw accurate conclusions about the parking requirements and housing affordability in DC from the analysis of the relationship between parking requirements and housing affordability for jurisdictions that have parking requirements significantly higher than DC’s, and all the citations that discussed parking requirements were based on parking requirements that were significantly higher than DC’s.

by OtherMike on Jul 22, 2013 4:20 pm • linkreport

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