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Parking requirements increase traffic congestion, pollute the air, encourage sprawl, raise housing costs, degrade urban design, prevent walkability, damage the economy, and penalize everyone who cannot afford a car. Despite all the harm off-street parking requirements cause, they remain almost an established religion in zoning practice.
This edition of Zoning Practice summarizes the social, economic, and environmental costs of minimum off-street parking requirements and highlights the weak rationale many planners have used to justify specific requirements in the communities they serve. It explains how removing parking minimums can translate into community benefits and spotlights recent parking reform efforts.
About the Author
Donald Shoup, FAICP
Donald Shoup, FAICP, is Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research has focused on transportation, public finance, and land economics, with emphasis on how parking policies affect cities, the economy, and the environment. In his landmark 2005 book, The High Cost of Free Parking, Shoup recommended that cities should (1) charge fair market prices for on-street parking, (2) spend the revenue to improve public services in the metered neighborhoods, and (3) remove off-street parking requirements. In his 2018 book, Parking and the City, Shoup and his co-authors examined the results where cities have adopted these policies. The successful outcomes show this trio of reforms may be the simplest, cheapest, and fastest way to improve cities, protect the environment, and promote social justice. Shoup is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and an Honorary Professor at the Beijing Transportation Research Center. The American Planning Association gave Shoup its National Excellence Award for a Planning Pioneer, and the American Collegiate Schools of Planning gave him its Distinguished Educator Award.