The city council in Austin, Texas, recently voted 8-2 to remove parking spot requirements for builders.
The ordinance was passed Nov. 2 to help increase housing density, the Austin American-Statesman reported. It will not affect accessible spaces and only “eliminate the minimum number of off-street motor vehicle parking spaces currently required by the city.”
@depordoquier This is great news! Removing parking mandates means that developers will be able to build exactly as much parking as they think they’ll need, not more. Less space for cars means more space for homes and amenities. This is a step in the right direction towards reducing car-dependence and making Austin a more walkable, transit-friendly city. #austin #walkablecities #parkingmandates ♬ original sound – De Por Doquier
“If you care about climate change, if you care about affordability, if you care about mass transit in this great city, this is a very, very big thing,” they said, noting the space saved can be used for housing, commercial real estate, recreational space, or other ventures.
It may also help affordability in the Live Music Capital of the World, as the Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint estimated that “requiring one additional parking space per unit increases rent by up to $200 per month,” the Statesman reported.
Perhaps most importantly, the ordinance could lessen people’s dependence on cars. Transportation contributes 29% of the planet-warming gases polluting air in the United States — the largest slice of the pie, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Cities around the country are making similar changes. Philadelphia, the country’s fifth-largest metropolis, recently ditched streetside parking spots for native garden beds, which will improve drainage and provide food and habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.
A 2021 study noted long-term health benefits are “the premier incentive to repurpose our cities to be more sustainable and more walking friendly.” Walkable cities also drive happiness and help reduce fatal traffic crashes.
The Texas Tribune reported Austin is the nation’s biggest city to halt a parking-spot requirement for new developments and added that the state capital is spending billions on public transportation.
“This is a step in the right direction towards reducing car-dependence and making Austin a more walkable, transit-friendly city,” De Por Doquier wrote.
They also noted in the comments: “Dallas is evaluating doing the same thing. It’s a step forward.”
“This is awesome!” one user said. “Surprised more red states/cities aren’t into this. Less gov control right?”
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