What parking requirements?

As Albany goes through the final stages of its major re-write of its zoning, Buffalo recently completed a very similar process. Among the the notable aspects of Buffalo's overhaul: it got rid of parking minimums across the entire city. (Rezone Albany includes parking minimums, but they've been reduced in most cases.) [Buffalo News] [CityLab]

Comments

The inclusion of minimum parking requirements was one of the worst aspects of the Rezone. If we have parking requirements at all, they should be maximum, not minimum.

Yes, I think we need to look West and take a queue from Buffalo by removing parking minimums from Albany's zoning. Now that it appears we are moving from draft to review and approve phase on ReZone Albany, I think the city needs to strongly reconsider the parking minimums outlined. The ReZoning draft I've reviewed has made some great strides, but as it relates to parking, it still sticks to an outdated, suburban minded, and expensive way to manage our city's infrastructure.

Let the free market dictate what and what isn't needed for parking and I think you'll be surprised. Many cities that have removed or significantly reduced parking minimums have seen a significant drop in the rents on new apartments coming online because developers don't need to build expensive and often underutilized parking options for their tenants. I would be surprised if present parking minimums required in downtown Albany haven't be one of the chief causes for new rentals coming online in Albany to be so prohibitively expensive for anyone who isn't a lobbyist. Finally, the removal of parking minimums has allowed developers, planners and residents elsewhere to steer development towards transit oriented ecosystems that are greener, more profitable (and squeeze more value out of each acre of development), and breath life into our urban neighborhoods. While I'm not a big proponent of Uber specifically (support ride-sharing more generally), I could see their service as a compliment to TOD. Many folks moving downtown, want to ditch their car and the associated expenses (and save more money by choosing apartments in developments that don't have to price in parking infrastructure into their rents), and have no problem utilizing mass transit options for the majority of their commutes, but leveraging Uberesque services when mass transit options are more difficult to utilize for a particular trip.

In 20 years we'll be looking back and shaking our heads in disbelief that anyone thought 'parking' was a thing at all.

Driverless cars can park anywhere, including a few miles away from their passengers' destination. The 'parking problem' is about to disappear. Not tomorrow, and not next year, but sooner than you think.

Stan, with all due respect, I hope that horrifying day never comes. But since we have so much extra parking now, it may be a moot point.

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