Parking In Minneapolis

I never like to travel without looking up some local parking info, and it seems Minneapolis is at the leading edge of urbanist parking regulation reform:

The adopted revisions respond to policies that call for balancing the demand for parking with other important objectives such as maintaining the city’s traditional urban form and encouraging the use of alternative modes of transportation. The revisions recognize that there are negative consequences associated with undersupplying or oversupplying parking. The revisions further recognize that in conjunction with new development or adaptive re-use of existing buildings, requests for variances to reduce the number of required parking spaces have been granted in most instances.

The new regulations are intended to be context sensitive, generally offering greater flexibility related to the minimum number of parking spaces that must be provided with new development while also incorporating reasonable limits on the amount of parking that may be provided. Minimum parking requirements have been eliminated from the downtown zoning districts. Bicycle parking requirements have become much more prominent.

For various reasons, I find automobile parking maximums and bike parking requirements to be more congenial than the more typical mix of car-centric requirements. But I’m not super-excited about the idea that the right way to fix misguided central planning of urban parking is by tweaking the plan. I’d much rather just try to enshrine the idea that people should have as much parking as they want to pay for, but they ought to pay the full price. That strikes me as a politically viable approach to reform that can be sold nationwide and attract a broad coalition. A debate that takes it for granted that we’ll either have car-biased central planning or else pedestrian-biased central planning is probably a debate that the proponents of car-biased planning are going to win. The idea that we ought to return to a conception of property rights in which land owners provide parking if they want to, but don’t if they don’t want to, seems like a clear principle that a broad group of people could endorse.