Minimum parking requirements for residential, office, and mixed-use developments are a regressive hidden tax on non-drivers that subsidizes drivers.
This regressive subsidy has no place in a city that has committed to honoring our obligations under the Paris agreement, signed onto a plan to reduce building energy and transportation emissions in our central business district by 2030, and experienced sinking transit ridership and revenues.
About a third of Philadelphians either don’t have the means to own a vehicle or simply don’t want to own one, and this is especially true of the Millennials and Baby Boomers who have been moving here in recent years. If residents want to rent or buy just a house—without an unwanted parking space bundled in—they should have the freedom to do that.
Mandating on-site parking minimums also weakens one of the region's greatest assets: SEPTA. Mandatory parking minimums exist even next to subway, regional rail, trolley, and bus stops. Rather than encourage Philadelphians to use our (quickly improving) transit network, we are discouraging them from using it.
Home builders should be allowed to include as much or as little parking as they think housing users will want to pay for, but people who don’t own vehicles should not be forced to subsidize their neighbors’ parking.
The 2012 zoning reforms were a good first step, eliminating mandatory parking minimums for single-family homes, and reducing them in some other building categories. But the job’s still not done. Parking is still mandated for all categories of mixed-use buildings — exactly the types of buildings that home builders are targeting to low-car and no-car Millennials and Baby Boomers.