Why Is Philly Still Bundling Parking With Housing?

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Sandy Smith says Philly’s new zoning ordinance cuts down on mandatory minimum parking requirements:

Until now, the city’s zoning code has sided with those who demand parking. After Aug. 22, it will side with the curb cut opponents. Where the old code required one parking space for every unit in new multi-unit residential construction projects, the new code will only require three spaces for every 10 units, a 70 percent reduction in the number of required parking spaces.

It’s cool that the city’s mandating less parking, but why mandate any parking? Stephen Smith points out on Twitter that the new ordinance still requires developers to build parking in very walkable areas like West Philly, Old City and parts of Rittenhouse Square. That’s crazy.

Everybody understands that if you required developers to include a piano in every apartment unit, this would make rents more expensive. People who play piano might appreciate it, but they also might just prefer to have the cash instead. People who don’t play piano would almost certainly prefer to get a cheaper apartment without the piano, instead of being forced to cross-subsidize piano players.

It’s no different with people who don’t drive, but still end up cross-subsidizing parking because of the city’s mandatory parking requirements. One of the best ways to keep housing affordable is to unbundle the cost of parking from the cost of housing. Developers won’t stop building parking garages in multi-family buildings, since lots of people do want that, but scrapping the government mandate would mean more affordable units would be available in buildings without parking for people who don’t drive.

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One Response to Why Is Philly Still Bundling Parking With Housing?

  1. Pingback: Philly’s New Zoning Ordinance: Pretty Decent | Local Philadelphia News Aggregator