Wow, has it been 2 weeks already? That means it's time for more ZOAC discussions on PARKING!
This week is a continuation of the last 2 sessions in which we have been hearing from Staff about the negative effects of parking requirements (well documented, i'd be happy to inundate you with materials). Last week there was a lot of good discussion among the ZOAC members.
First up: Peer Chacko Director of Planning & Urban Design. He says they got 3 questions broadly:
1) Should parking mins be eliminated?
Says there is an implicit understanding that the city should regulate impacts of uses. Says it is simplistic to expect the market to self-regulate on parking without the city intervening.
Chacko continues: Says parking requirements tend to focus on peak usage, leading to excess parking. Also says even fans of eliminating parking minimums acknowledge that spillover parking is a problem that has to be addressed.
Says he would NOT advocate eliminating parking minimums everywhere as a rule. Could support it as a policy in some specific areas.
Says that eliminating parking minimums should be accompanied by design requirements that encourage other modes of transportation, e.g. placement/location of parking, or design standards for provided parking.
Chacko continued: "If we do eliminate parking requirements, we should implement other tools to help control parking problems such as parking benefit districts and parking management districts-entity that manages parking in an area for better sharing of public or private parking.
ZOAC MacGregor asks if there's any data/studies/estimates on wasted space for parking since it's based on peak demand?

Note: See @StrongTowns annual "Black Friday Parking" series for anecdotal evidence.
Note continued: There are also numerous studies on utilization and cost impacts to construction/rents.
Chacko continues: The main street core of downtown (as opposed to other parts of downtown) typically has less supply of parking than their is demand. West End and Arts District has significantly more supply than demand.
Chacko: Says they can't find any evidence that there is excessive supply of parking in main street core due to parking requirements.

Note: This itself is an argument against parking minimums. If the reqs aren't affecting supplied parking, why bother having them?
Note continued: Chacko continues to talk about parking demand in terms of "private uses generating demand" as if the supply requirements don't themselves affect the overall transportation system and send signals about the best ways to travel.
Chair Murphy with a clarification: Asks Chacko whether parking districts must be created by the City Council?

Chacko: Zoning can be done by overlay so parking takes an "area" management of parking from a lot by lot management approach. Outside of that, would req council action.
Engineering's David Nevarez: The City has a responsibility to promote the general welfare by setting standards.
Nevarez cont: Says any attempt to set city-wide parking requirements will fail because parking requirements rely on so many assumptions. Says ZOAC/CPC needs to set policy to decide what we are trying to accomplish.
Nevarez cont: There are some uses that require review due to their impact.

Note: The Buffalo UDC, which eliminated parking requirements city-wide, acknowledged this by requiring a TDM plan for projects >5,000 square feet.
ZOAC MacGregor: Does it make it easier to respond to changes in demand, trends, technology that impact demand?

Nevarez: Agreed, one-size does not fit all in parking.
ZOAC Rieves: Notes there are big parking garages serving uses that sit empty at certain times (like offices in the evening) in many neighborhoods with high parking demand at other times (like nightlife areas) due to liability concerns. How do we address that?
Staff Udrea wisely notes that this is an issue of management of existing parking and. while also important, should be considered separately from regulation of parking minimums.
Staff Tamayo: Concurs with Udrea, that is a management of existing parking supply issue.

ZOAC Rieves: Still interested in how the City can help with the liability side of things.
My thought: Economic incentive is the way to address this. If land uses are freed up to highest and best use, parking will naturally fall down the priority list of land owners and property owners will trend towards leasing unused parking as land values rise.
Cont: Might be was for a central authority to connect motorists/property owners/parking providers, but this is a minor issue compared to the central policy issues of Land Use, Parking Reqs, and Transportation system.
Staff Udrea: There are a few private management districts in a few PDs. Staff Sarah May also cites Article XIII already has a parking management overlay.

Chair Murphy: We don't have many Article XIII districts do we?

Staff May: No we don't.
Article XIII sidenote: It's Dallas' theoretically form-based code that fails in the way most form based codes do: It combines the worst of design requirements with euclidean zoning while giving only very modest loosening of regs.
Chair Murphy: Big picture though there are things Zoning can do to help the transition away from parking minimums like design standards to encourage other transport modes?

Tamayo: Yes, like putting parking behind with a little "teaser" parking out front.
My note: City Staff absolutely torpedoed my recent attempt to do this. Would not budge on parking ratios even though all of our parking was hidden behind buildings and we wanted to put on-street parking front (which they wouldn't allow either). Change comes slowly.
Chair Murphy: I tried to sit down and calculate the parking requirements for a mixed-use development. After hours she was pulling her hair out. Asks Staff May to comment on the labor and inconsistency this creates:
Staff Sarah May: Parking reqs spends "quite a bit of time" working on parking requirements. Says it probably consumes the MAJORITY of their time. Gives example of minute issues like parking being based on gross floor area (to exterior walls) which creates all sorts of issues.
Note: I have seen this on my buildings. Tenants measure the net space (excluding walls) and always end up in arguments with staff about net vs gross space. HUGE waste of time.
Staff May continued: Says original parking requirements long ago was to get the relatively few cars off the street, but society has changed and we have progress beyond this antiquated (my word) management tool
Chair Murphy: Believes consensus from ZOAC is that we should proceed towards removing parking minimums. 🚨🚨🚨 WHAT IS HAPPENING IN DALLAS
MacGregor: Instead of hearing about where they should be eliminated, wants to hear about where they should be required (if anywhere) AND what strategies we should take in conjunction.
ZOAC Member Behring: Says we have heard from neighborhoods about wanting to protect streets from spillover parking. Wants to hear from Staff about how to incorporate protections for neighborhoods.
Chair Murphy & Rieves concur they want management of spillover parking to be the first priority of their recommendation.

Note: This is a central policy point. Any solution must address spillover parking. Let's hope it doesn't go overboard on protecting one-plexes.
Donald Shoup addresses this in Chapter 17 in the section: Residential Parking Benefit Districts which is an opportunity to "Tax Foreigners Living Abroad".
ZOAC Wraps up with a motion to send Staff out to investigate a suggested solution based on moving towards eliminating parking minimums while controlling spillover and addressing any exceptions to this rule.
I am immensely encouraged by this.
ZOAC is just the first step in a long road to city council. Parking reform could be de-railed at many points in this process, but comments from ZOAC members (many of whom are or have been CPC members) are very encouraging in this regard.

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More from @ncoxbarrett

19 Nov
Hurray, it's Thursday and that means ZOAC is discussing PARKING!
Last time on ZOAC LIVE! Dallas City Staff engineered a major coup by organizing a host of City department heads to tell the ZOAC members that parking requirements make their jobs harder.
In other handy context, Transfers Magazine just released a study on the effect of reduced parking requirements on what actually got built in Seattle.…
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