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Chris B

Interestingly, Vancouver is allowing a building with NO parking! The builders estimate it will save $40K a unit for the 40 units being proposed.


A friend of mine lives on a bike route, only a 5km cycle from her job at Granville Island in Vancouver. The route is almost entirely along a seawall path. She rides her bike. Except for this past August when a colleague was on holiday leaving her parking spot available for my friend's use. So she drove instead of riding. An anecdote that demonstrates how powerful free an available parking is.


One other factor that merits mention: Many commercial lenders, when financing new commercial (retail, office) construction--particularly retail, frequently impose parking minimums (often above and beyond any local legal requirement) as a condition of a construction loan.

From the lendor's point of view, the calculus is obvious: Repayment depends on the business thriving; thus it is not acceptable were the business to lose customers due to inadequate parking (i.e. customers unable to find a space and not patronizing the business as a result). Given that asphalt is cheaper than many other uses for a given chunk of real estate (such as a larger building), requiring large parking lots is a cheap way of protecting the lender's interests.


It's not so much "parking demand," which sounds like an economic term for drivers wanting to park as "parking demands" imposed by governments and banks. And if banks really do do this, then that's a good reason to support parking maximums.

Zoltan Connell

"If you've ever relied on transit in any typical North American suburb, you've spent a big chunk of your life walking across parking lots."

And oh, I have. I feel like two-thirds of my recent stay with a friend in a distant corner of Indianapolis was spent either in parking lots, or waiting in the dirt at the side of roads without sidewalks for buses.


However, I mostly want to help you to clarify your own thinking on parking policy. I want to help you understand the implications of the various parking policy choices, so you can choose your own, with 'eyes wide open'.

Sounds like Jarret when he says this.


To add to the discussion, market based solutions like land value taxation (LVT) instead of arbitrary assessed values can create better use of the land. Very few places in the US practice this mode of taxation, and in most areas is a combination of land + building assessment.

LVT essentially takes the property tax off the structure(s) and taxes solely the land it's on, nothing else. Parking lots would obviously cost a lot more than they do now, and no land developer would want to put their land with higher taxes to poor revenue generating uses like a "free" parking lot.

Hence you will get natural density increase.

This isn't meant to be a punitive scheme to get people to drive less or force people on transit; it's more of an equity and fairness standpoint regarding taxation. Consume more land, pay more taxes. Consume less land, pay fewer taxes.

I think this video highlights the issue well:



In Australia, property taxes are based on what we call the Unimproved Capital Value (UCV), the same concept as LVT. The problem is that when there is no, or little, vacant land in a suburb, valuations become quite arbitrary as there is very limited opportunity to make valid comparisons with recent sales of improved properties.

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the firm

Jarrett is now in ...

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