When planning to develop commercial real estate, property developers may want to “go green” and place a building in an area with public transportation or near neighborhoods to improve the town’s walk score. However, most American cities have mandatory parking requirements. These designate that a certain number of off-street spaces for vehicle parking must be present on each property based on the size and purpose of the building.
According to Bloomberg CityLab, these minimum parking requirements are more than a nuisance. Some people believe they are causing a crisis.
Parking can lower property value
Property development companies may find that parking space requirements affect whether the property is big enough to serve the purpose. The number of required spaces can mean that the building the property developers have commissioned from engineers and architects will not work in the space. The value of the land goes down when they must devote too much of it to parking.
Parking lots lead to more traffic
The assumption by city officials of a certain number of passenger vehicles and the creation and enforcement of space for the vehicles in city planning almost guarantees that there will be at least that many vehicles, research indicates. Cities designed for cars are more spread out, with large parking lots between buildings and wide, busy roads. People are less likely to walk in this environment.
Environmental concerns may reduce parking minimums
With new federal legislation, some assumptions regarding cars and off-street parking needs may begin to change as cities put more emphasis on green transportation. Looking for ways to maximize walkability now may help commercial properties in the future. Addressing the issue at the municipal level may be a way to promote change.