Parking Requirements Bringing Indianapolis Down

There’s a lot going on around the Streetsblog Network today. From A Place of Sense,
in Indianapolis, comes a post about that city’s parking policies. A
developer there, seeking to renovate an abandoned apartment building in
an area with many parking lots, requested a variance from the city’s
requirement that developments provide their own off-street parking. The
request was denied, and the building will remain vacant for the
foreseeable future.

The post is particularly timely in the light of the new report
about the importance of sensible parking policy to livable cities that
was released yesterday by the Institute for Transportation and
Development Policy (ITDP). Here’s what A Place of Sense has to say:

1733NMeridian_774960.JPGParking requirements are keeping this building vacant. (Photo: via A Place of Sense)

I think it is time that Indianapolis accepts that off-street parking
requirements are the bane of true urban renewal. The minimum parking
requirements are a senseless way to devalue our Central Business District. They are an
existential threat to urban life, and therefore the core identity of
Indianapolis. …

This situation is yet another lost opportunity for a representative of
the City of Indianapolis to address the real infrastructural problems
that have ruined the city.  Indianapolis I love you, but you’re
bringing me down.

More from around the network: The WashCycle and FABB Blog on proposed cuts to spending on bicycle infrastructure in Maryland and Virginia. New Geography has a post that asks, What is the answer to the suburban question? And Boston Biker links to some delightful Hungarian PSAs promoting cycling (one of them is even mildly racy).

  • It’s so frustrating when parking requirements kill off a perfectly good redevelopment project. If downtown LA had been this rigid on its parking requirements we’d have a lot more empty buildings down there instead of a renaissance of adaptive re-use.

    If developers think they can market a building without parking, we should let them. Parking is a commodity, not a God-given human right that needs to be attached to everything.

  • Hey, has anyone ever heard of LA Municipal Code, Sections 12.21-A.4(c) and 12.21-A.16? His section allows buildings zoned Commercial (C) and Manufacturing (M), with over 10,000 sq.ft. of C or M uses, to provide bike parking in lieu of car parking (up to 2% of the required minimum car parking can be swapped for bike parking).

    Yes, we do allow bike parking in lieu of car parking in L.A. – but only 2%, and only for big Commercial or Manufacturing areas.

    Why not amend this part of the code to all all zones (C, M, A, O, R, and others) to take part in the swap? We can raise the percentage of bike parking too! How about 70% or 90%, or why not 100%?

    When I worked for a developer, the costs of providing enough legally mandated car parking were enourmous, and killed a great many infill projects we wanted to do within the urban core. I’m not talking about 8 story condo projects either. Two and three story conversions of a building into ground floor commercial with upstairs residential (just what most community and specific plans call for) were impossible to build due to stringent requirements to provide lots of car parking for both uses.

    So, bicycle access issues aside, mandated car parking is keeping prices high at your local market and keeping quality development (and affordable units) out of the inner city. There is a reason most developments are so big – the only people who can pony up the cash and the connections to build are the big boys. Small, community-based, developers are shut out due to the high capital costs of providing car parking for any new development.

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