Austin, Texas, will soon eliminate minimum off-street parking requirements citywide, except those for people living with disabilities, after the City Council approved a resolution on May 4.
City staff must develop and submit a proposed ordinance to the City Council by Dec. 31, the resolution says, including recommendations for “developments proposing no on-site parking that allow for accessible parking spaces on-street, adjacent to or reasonably nearby the development and located on an accessible route.”
During the May 4 council meeting, Council member Zohaib Qadri, who sponsored the resolution, tried to ease concerns that the measure would lead to parking shortages, noting that developers provided ample parking in downtown Austin after the city eliminated parking requirements in the district in 2013.
State and local governments, especially in California, are eliminating or reducing parking minimums to address the nationwide housing shortage, fight climate change and make communities more transit- and pedestrian-friendly by reducing urban sprawl. Based on data from the Parking Reform Network, Austin will become the second-largest U.S. city after San Jose, California, to end minimum parking requirements entirely.
Qadri said the city’s building code had made it more difficult to progress on Austin’s affordable housing, climate and transportation initiatives by requiring parking that takes up valuable space.
Minimum off-street parking requirements “dictate that people provide an arbitrary amount of car storage on their properties,” Qadri said. “Our priority should be allowing space for people rather than mandating space for cars.”
Building one parking space costs between $10,000 and $40,000, which can raise housing costs for homebuyers and renters, according to the resolution.