Strategic Goal #1: End Parking Mandates

03 June, 2023

Salt Lake County is at a crucial turning point in its urban development. As the county and communities within it strive to accommodate a growing population and tackle pressing issues such as housing affordability, air quality, and climate change, it is time to reevaluate the role of parking mandates for houses. Here we outline the various reasons why communities in Salt Lake County should eliminate costly parking mandates, exploring the potential benefits for both residents and communities as a whole.

1. Promoting Affordability and Accessibility

Parking mandates impose significant financial burdens on builders, which ultimately trickle down to tenants and homebuyers. By eliminating these expensive requirements, communities can alleviate a costly barrier to the construction of more houses. Builders will have the flexibility to allocate resources previously dedicated to parking spaces towards constructing additional houses and  allowing for investment in essential community amenities, green space, or additional houses. This, in turn, can increase the availability of affordable housing options, enabling a more inclusive and accessible city for all residents. 

2. Encouraging Sustainable Transportation

A key step towards creating a sustainable future is to prioritize alternative transportation options over personal vehicles. Eliminating parking mandates, paired with transit-first policies,  can incentivize residents to explore alternative modes of transportation, such as public transit, cycling, and walking. A shift to these modes reduces traffic congestion, pollution, and contributes to a cleaner and healthier environment. Additionally, it can enhance walkability, promote community engagement, connect residents to local businesses, and foster a vibrant urban fabric that values active transportation. 

3. Utilizing Land Efficiently

Parking mandates require significant land allocations, leading to sprawling parking lots and reduced green spaces. By eliminating these mandates, communities can make more efficient use of land resources. Instead of prioritizing parking spaces, builders can design and construct buildings that maximize the use of available land, enhancing the overall density and vitality of the city. This approach aligns with sustainable growth principles, enabling a more compact and connective urban form.

4. Adapting to Changing Mobility Trends

The transportation landscape is rapidly evolving with the advent of ride-sharing services, bike-sharing programs, autonomous vehicles, and e-bikes. As technology reshapes the way we move, it is crucial for communities to embrace this change and adapt their policies accordingly. 

Eliminating parking mandates for housing construction recognizes the evolving nature of mobility and allows for future flexibility in transportation options. It allows communities to focus on developing infrastructure that supports emerging technologies rather than being bound by outdated regulations. 

5. Prioritizing People over Cars

By eliminating parking mandates, communities can shift their focus from prioritizing cars to prioritizing people. Communities can invest in creating vibrant, walkable neighborhoods where residents can live, work, and play within close proximity. It opens up opportunities for mixed-use developments, while also fostering a sense of community and reducing the need for long commutes. This people-centric approach contributes to healthier, happier, and more connected neighborhoods.


As Salt Lake City charts its course for the future, it must critically assess its policies to create a sustainable and inclusive urban environment. Eliminating parking mandates for housing projects is a significant step towards achieving these goals. By prioritizing affordability, sustainability, efficient land use, adaptability, and people-centric development, the city can build a vibrant future that is accessible to all. It is time for Salt Lake City to embrace change, challenge the status quo, and lead the way in shaping the cities of tomorrow.