Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Residential parking minimums for Downtown significantly reduced

Minimum parking requirements for residential developments in the Central Business District have been significantly reduced and could be eliminated altogether in adjacent neighborhoods through the implementation of Urban Parking Overlay Districts.

The changes, approved by City Council on August 7, amend chapters 1411 and 1425 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code by reducing requirements from one space per unit to zero spaces per unit for new development of 20 units or less. New development of more than 20 units would require 0.75 spaces per unit.

The conversion, renovation, or change of use of an existing building will not require any additional parking, provided any increase in gross floor area does not exceed 10 percent.

Urban Parking Overlay Districts, on the other hand, would eliminate minimum parking requirements for all uses.

This option was presented to both the Over-the-Rhine Community Council and the Pendleton Neighborhood Council. While the majority of attendees opposed the creation of a district, both opponents and supporters endorsed the idea of a comprehensive parking study to further explore the issue.

Minimum parking requirements were established by the City Planning Commission in 1948 in order to ensure adequate and efficient off-street and on-street parking, reduce traffic congestion, and promote more efficient loading operations.

But in April 2012, a Council motion asked City staff to look into changing the long-standing codes with the goal of creating a more walkable, pedestrian-friendly, and mixed-use urban environment with a strong sense of place.

Because the available land for parking in dense urban centers is often scarce – and therefore costly – parking minimums often drive up development costs and can have the unintended side effect of leading to the demolition of historic buildings.

On average, a surface parking space can cost $5,000 per space; Parking garages are often $25,000 per space or more.

Previous reading on BC:
Planning Commission Friday: District 3, parking minimums, mural (6/20/13)
Elimination of Downtown, OTR parking minimums being studied (6/27/12)