Stamato Commentary: Two billion spaces, and counting. How much parking do we need?

December 18, 2023

Faculty Fellow Linda Stamato explores the pervasive impact of parking space mandates on urban planning, criticizing the prioritization of parking over people in cities and towns. She highlights the environmental, economic, and social consequences of excessive parking, including the depletion of green spaces, increased housing costs, and vigilante conflicts over parking spots. The speaker, Henry Grabar, emphasizes the need for a shift in policy away from minimum parking requirements, suggesting that cities should focus on demand and encourage alternatives like mass transit, biking, and car-sharing. Grabar argues that reducing parking spaces can lead to more attractive urban landscapes with bike lanes, eateries, play areas, and schools.

Grabar’s research underscores the negative effects of parking mandates, linking them to sprawl, unattractive buildings, and environmental degradation. The article presents examples of cities, such as Seattle and Buffalo, that have successfully revised their parking requirements, leading to cost savings and more feasible developments. However, Stamato acknowledges that resistance to change and the attachment to personal parking spaces may impede widespread reform.

Morristown Green, December 18, 2023

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