I am stumped, and have been stumped for almost 9 years now in regards to cities having parking requirements. The issue of city mandated parking first came to my attention while I was studying architecture, I hated it then because it usually mandated much more parking then the site would ever need excluding one or two days a year, but I thought, maybe once I get out into the industry it will make sense. I went out into the industry after my undergrad and worked for a real estate developer, and there it made even less sense because not only did we have to design it into the site, but we also had to pay for it and lose a significant amount of site space which we could have dedicated to rentable area or open space – again, way more parking then the sites ever needed.
Referring to the point which was raised in The Carbon Efficient City as to why we bundle in parking with rent, it’s because city design regulations have always treated parking like a right. It’s an amenity which the city does not allow the economics of supply and demand dictate and instead forces it in almost a blanket regulation over property. It goes back to the wonderfully-amazing-good-old land planning days of the auto centric city; the requirements were put in place to ensure there are enough parking spaces on site for everyone occupying the space without forcing users to park on the streets. However, as we move forward and encourage public transportation, carpooling, biking, walking and other modes of transportation to get around the city, why do we continue with this archaic system and not adjust it to the way modern cities are supposed to work? Well, because the built environment exists in a regulatory framework that moves only as quickly as it’s forced to, so the only way to get the system to change is for us to speak up and loudly!