Salt Lake City is a changing city. As the city and the communities within it strive to make housing attainable for a growing population as well as to tackle the dual challenge of air quality and climate change, we must reevaluate the costly parking mandates that the current zoning code imposes on builders.
Here, we’ll discuss the many benefits of eliminating parking mandates, both for Salt Lake City residents and for our community as a whole:
Promoting Affordability and Accessibility
Parking mandates shoulder builders with an imposing financial burden that is ultimately transferred to tenants and homebuyers. For this reason, communities that eliminate parking mandates also remove a costly barrier to increasing housing supply: builders who previously allocated funds to parking spaces can instead dedicate those same resources toward additional houses, green space, and essential community amenities, all of which can, in turn, increase the availability of affordable housing options, enabling a more inclusive and accessible city for all residents.
Encouraging Sustainable Transportation Systems
To tackle air pollution and seize a sustainable future, Salt Lake City must become a viable place to travel by foot, by bike, and by public transit, rather than exclusively by personal vehicle. Eliminating parking mandates promotes a shift to more efficient modes of transit, reducing pollution and traffic congestion as well as enhancing walkability, community engagement, and residents’ connection to local businesses.
Efficient Land Use
Parking mandates require significant land allocations, leading to sprawling parking lots and diminished green space. Eliminating these mandates allows communities and builders to construct buildings that maximize the use of available land, instead of prioritizing parking spaces. Crucially, eliminating parking mandates facilitates the construction of mixed-use developments. This encourages the development of a compact, sustainable, and connective city.
Adapting to Changing Mobility Trends
The advent of ride-share services, bike-sharing programs, autonomous vehicles, and e-bikes is rapidly reshaping the landscape of urban transport, and it is crucial for communities to adapt their policies accordingly. Communities freed of parking mandates can focus on developing infrastructure that accommodates emerging transportation technologies, instead of reinforcing the outmoded emphasis on cars.
Eliminating parking mandates means prioritizing people over cars. Communities freed of parking mandates are able to invest in vibrant, walkable neighborhoods where residents can live, work, and play within close proximity; all of which will simultaneously foster a sense of community and reduce the need for long commutes. This people-centric approach contributes to a healthier, happier, and better-connected city.