Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Like Affordable Housing? Oppose Parking Minimums

Parking LotEven within the city limits of Boston, one of America's great walkable cities & home to one of the country's most-used transit systems, developers are required to build a minimum of half a space for each unit of housing up to a ridiculous 1.5 parking spaces per unit of housing, whether the residents want them or not. It adds to the cost of housing and adds an incentive to drive - if you're forced to pay for a parking spot, you feel like you should keep a car there (or at least a large, rectangular box).

But some mavericky developers are boldly refusing to build things their customers don't want to pay for:
One of those developers is Dave Mullens with the Urban Development Group. He opened the Irvington Garden in a close-in Northeast Portland neighborhood last year. It’s 50 units with no parking places.

The cost of parking would make building this type of project on this location unaffordable,” Mullens says.

Mullens calls the difference “tremendous.”

Parking a site is the difference between a $750 apartment and a $1,200 apartment. Or, the difference between apartments and condos,” he says. Mullens says the current market is friendlier for affordable rental apartments than for condominiums. He says the Irvington Garden filled within weeks of opening, and has remained that way. He says the majority of renters don’t have cars – though some do, and park on the street.
And when some renters DO park on the street? Duncan Black flagged the worst horror stories single-family-home-owning neighbors have had to offer:
“The personal anecdotes I’ve heard have to do with elderly relatives coming to visit, or driving into the neighborhood, and having to park a block or two away, and/or fears about that.”
Parking a block or two away??

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