For centuries, there have been zoning laws called “parking minimums” used to guarantee a certain number of off-street parking spaces for private businesses and residences. Unfortunately, parking minimums have not yet evolved to meet the needs of fast-growing smart cities across the globe. Given the rapid growth, city planners and parking operators need to assess and adjust these laws based on today’s standard of urban mobility.
Why Do Parking Minimums Need to Be Eliminated?
Over time, parking minimums have limited the way communities and cities can use their land and space in a functional way. It allocates a lot of unnecessary space to parking in areas where it’s not needed. Not to mention it prevents city planners from using this space in a more useful way, whether it’s more sidewalk and curbside space or retail frontage. In neighborhoods, building parking is expensive and this cost is often passed on to home buyers and business owners. Getting rid of parking minimum laws can also improve home and real estate affordability.
Smart cities are innovative, functional, and sustainable – all things that don’t come with parking minimums. By removing the parking minimum law, smart cities can benefit in a number of ways.
Stronger Business Growth
There are many costs associated with purchasing space for parking. Small businesses often find themselves unable to afford downtown real estate to meet these minimum parking requirements. On average, U.S. commercial properties require 4-6 spots per 1000 square feet. This can be a challenge and may cause businesses to give up on projects altogether. The perceived need for parking also adds to the price of every item in a store. And so, the reduction of parking minimums can provide more flexibility to business owners and encourage more business growth in major cities.
Less Traffic and Pollution
Removing the parking minimum rule is also great for the environment. In smart cities, doing this can reduce traffic congestion and minimize greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from vehicles. Instead of allocating spots based on the parking minimum law, cities, and organizations can use parking platforms like ROKER to better understand mobility trends in their municipalities. This will help them deliver parking options that directly align with the needs of parkers.
ROKER allows individuals to monetize their parking resources by giving drivers the ability to reserve and pre-pay for parking in advance. This eliminates traffic build-up and removes the need to roam around for parking – which reduces gas emissions and gets people where they need to be, faster and easier!
Improved Communities and More Opportunities
While many believe parking minimums make driving more convenient, there are some setbacks. One study found that Chicago apartment buildings within 10 minutes of a train stop provided one spot for every two units and still saw one-third of the spots vacant. While parking is necessary, frequently vacant spaces can be used for other things like bike and HOV lanes to reduce traffic congestion and increase other revenue-generating opportunities for business owners.
With a smart parking system in place, city planners can leverage key data to make more strategic decisions about how to use their land. This data outlines how residents prefer to get around, what they expect when parking and what their daily routines are. It can also highlight high-traffic areas in the city, which may help city planners decide where more parking is needed and where it can be reduced.
Parking Minimums Are a Thing of the Past
Toronto, Canada is a great example of a smart city that’s learning how to navigate innovation in the urban mobility space. They recently decided to abolish parking minimums in new residential developments to allow more walking space for pedestrians, bike parking, and better amenities. And they’re one of the first North American cities to do so.
It’s clear that parking is a key piece of the puzzle when designing urban cities. At ROKER our goal is to make parking in smart cities ten times more efficient, reliable, and convenient. Learn more about our innovative parking features and tools today! Contact us here.
ROKER delivers technology solutions aimed at urban space management inclusive of parking, and enforcement, to enable higher revenue recovery for public safety institutions and the commercial market. The company creates an ecosystem for smart parking that will converge with smart city initiatives across the globe. ROKER leverages proprietary intellectual property from Rekor Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:REKR), a Maryland- based company providing real-time roadway intelligence through AI-driven decisions, and Cygnet Infotech, a premier product engineering and application development services firm. ROKER was founded in 2020.