D.C. Officials Propose Lowering Parking Spot Requirements For Developments | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Officials Propose Lowering Parking Spot Requirements For Developments

Play associated audio
Under a new proposal, parking minimums will still be required for new developments, though the number of spots will be less than what's currently on the books.
Victoria Pickering: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vpickering/3795010023/
Under a new proposal, parking minimums will still be required for new developments, though the number of spots will be less than what's currently on the books.

The first major re-write of D.C.'s Zoning Code since it was established in 1958 is drawing closer to completion. One week from today the Office of Planning is expected to hand over its final proposals to the Zoning Commission after six years of work.

D.C. Planning Director Harriet Tregoning stunned the smart growth community when she made this announcement on The Kojo Nnamdi Show two weeks ago: "There will still be minimum parking even in areas that are served by transit. It will be a lot less than our current minimums."

Tregoning had long been adamant that the city's rules mandating a minimum number of parking spaces when developers build near rail or bus stations was wasteful, but changed her tune after a number of public hearings on the Zoning Code re-write.

Mandatory parking minimums in transit corridors will now be reduced, not eliminated, under a series of proposed zoning changes her office will submit to the Zoning Commission next Monday. Tregoning still wants to get rid of all the minimums in downtown Washington.

"What she is trying to do is to avoid building very expensive parking that then just sits there and increases the cost of doing business and makes housing less affordable," says Chris Leinberger, a real estate developer and urban planning expert at George Washington University.

He says Tregoning's proposal to only reduce the minimums in transit corridors should not be viewed as a major setback by her supporters. In his view, D.C. is going in the right direction by trying to make parking more difficult.

"What we've learned as far as building great cities—i.e. cities that are walkable, that have lots of transit options, and that no matter how you measure them they are the finest cities on the planet—is they all have parking problems," he says.

That sentiment may sound anathema to drivers who say it's already too hard to find parking in D.C. But Leinberger—who authored a study calling the Washington metro area a national model for creating walkable urban places—says few people pause to consider just how much parking is subsidized by everyone to the benefit of motorists.

"What is important here is that we the citizens including myself have to understand, to quote a book, that there is a very high price of free parking on our society," he says.

AAA has led the opposition against Tregoning's efforts but Leinberger is not impressed.

"Their theory for making great urban places has miserably failed. We should not follow their lead. They do not know what they are talking about. They do know how to make suburbs," he says.

Leinberger says it's time to stop subsidizing the cost of parking for the sake of the city's future.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 1, 2015

You can check out work by local women artists or see a comedy about how one woman’s midlife crisis affects those around her.

WAMU 88.5

Food Packaging & Pricing

Have you ever popped open a bag of potato chips only to be disappointed by the number of crisps in your bag? It's not just you. To avoid raising prices, companies often increase their "nonfunctional slack fill" or the difference between the volume of product and its container. We talk about how food packaging affects your recipe and wallet.

WAMU 88.5

Environmental Outlook: The Growing Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

A look at the growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

NPR

USA's 'Mr. Robot,' HBO's 'Ballers' Among Picks For Best Summer TV Series

A flood of some 120 series, both new and returning, are coming to TV sets this summer. So, how to choose which ones to binge-watch by the pool? Our TV critic picks his four favorite new shows.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.