Last week we tweeted a link to a really interesting article about minimum requirements, but didn’t follow it up with a post – until now.

The article highlights how certain planning rules have unintended consequences of forcing particularly bad urban amenity outcomes – even if they’re actually intended to improve things. Minimum parking requirements are the prime, but not sole, offender in this regards:

Cities have established parking regulations, often called off-street parking minimums, for each possible land use. When you build a new house or shop, or often when you simply remodel a building or change its use, you must provide a minimum number of off-street parking spaces. These regulations are meant to address demand for parking that cannot be met by nearby on-street spaces, but they have also led to increased development costs, less flexibility for adaptive reuse of existing buildings, and some pretty unattractive architecture.

The post walks us through a number of examples from the Northwest USA which highlight the extent to which parking minimums more than anything else end up determining the built form. For commercial buildings (i.e. retail, office and other employment activity) parking minimums often result in far more land being required for parking than the actual use itself. Buildings end up being set back so far it’s difficult to figure out what type of business operates there:2-commercial-building-set-back-for-parking-flickr_Derek-Severson-563x422

However, it seems that the urban form where parking minimums potentially have the most significant impact are medium to high density residential developments that are fairly low rise:

Before parking minimums, buildings in Cascadia could be built to the property line because parking wasn’t a constraint. Now, developers must contend with building heights, setbacks for buildings, and parking regulations—all of which make it harder to develop affordable housing projects. This is especially true at medium densities and lower building heights because it’s harder to make parking garages or underground parking pencil for these smaller projects.

Given the somewhat irrational fear of height that many Aucklanders appear to have, achieving quality low-rise intensification will be utterly crucial for the Unitary Plan to be successful. Quality low-rise, medium-density development is the key intention of the Mixed Housing zone – the zone which covers the greatest part of urban Auckland of any zone.

However, parking minimums don’t seem to work very well (especially not at two spaces per unit as currently required in the Mixed Housing zone for 2 bedrooms or more) in fostering good quality intensification – as the article highlights:7-Seattle-Balard-dingbat-apartments-w-permission-flickr-Jon-Stahl-563x375This building type is somewhat unaffectionately called “Dingbats”, described later on in the article as “not a building type at all but, rather, a parking diagram that people happen to live above”. Most are hideously ugly:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd if it’s not Dingbats which are forced by parking minimums, then it’s generally urban form outcomes which look like motel units:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy way of contrast, traditional built forms without off-street parking at similar densities produce really amazing urban landscapes:19-Brooklyn-townhouses-flickr_rutlo-563x316As we’ve noted on this blog many times before, Auckland’s intensification is likely to need to focus on providing more “middle density” developments than we have done so historically. There are a lot of potentially fantastic typologies between the standalone house on 350 square metres of land and the medium-rise apartment. The Mixed Housing zone seems intended to encourage the exploration of these middle densities.

Yet what’s clear from looking at international examples is that achieving high quality outcomes at middle densities will be completely undermined by the Mixed Housing zone requiring two off-street carparks per unit (two bedrooms or more, smaller ones get away with a minimum of one space). Sending the parking underground just isn’t going to stack up for many of these developments, because they’re quite small in scale. This means we’re pretty likely to end up with Dingbats, Motel Courts and ‘Garagescapes’ (explained later in the article), and yet more ‘Junkspace’ if parking minimums are retained in this zone.

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  1. I’ve often thought a great example of the crazy outcomes that parking minimums create is the Rumpus Room kindergarten on Great North Road at Point Chevalier – it’s sited on the corner of Great North and Moa Roads. Moa Road is a reasonably quiet side street with ample space for parking even at busy times, but the Rumpus Room has a carpark right on the street corner that’s at least half the size (or more) of the kindergarten itself. The Google street map image shows it under construction – compare the size of the kindy extension to the right of the original house with the size of the carpark below it:

  2. How about asking people what they want. People need cars for a variety of reasons and therefore car parks or it proposed that lower income people should be deprived of cars

    1. Dennis, asking people what the want is exactly what Patrick is talking about: let people decide whether they want to buy a carpark or not, or how many carparks they need. Right now we have laws that force developers and homebuilders to build a specific number of carparks regardless of how many they want or need.

      So yes, let’s ask people what the want!

    2. Moreover, are you somehow suggesting that the regulatory requirement for parking minimums doesn’t carry a cost to inhabitants? It’s not as though developers are underwriting the cost out of their own profits – they pass on the cost of building carparks to buyers and renters. And it’s not like those costs are negligible – high Auckland land costs probably mean that a single parking space adds $20,000 or more to the cost of a new house.

      How could you possibly say that a single planning regulation that adds tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of each individual unit, regardless of the residents’ own needs, is beneficial to people on lower incomes?

      Parking’s not free. Stop acting like it is.

      1. I recently found out that each parking space on a proposed Ak apartment development is costing 90k to provide. But apartments are selling extremely well without bundled parks.

        So, what do people want?; affordable and accessible dwellings. And that does not mean enforced and expensive car storage.

    3. Ok Dennis, you are asking us what we want?
      Right now I want a midrise apartment close to the beach with no carpark, just a safe place to store my bike. Currently that is illegal in most of the city.

    1. Seems like a crazy waste of space, doesnt it? Those sorts of developments would be so much more vibrant and attractive with a small shop and maybe a cafe at the bottom. Instead the street level just becomes a ROW for cars. What a shame.

  3. Car-parking via service land at the back of terrace housing as per inner city suburb (Glebe) – Sydney style? I know difficult to fit into an existing street layout. But might be a way out, and enable a decent home/street landscape as per your better example. Historically of course, the service lanes for suburbs such as Glebe were where the night-cart man went to make his pick-ups.
    Nowadays, they allow for off-street carparking in the yard at the back of the house, or a place to park the trailer, or boat.

    The other thing they did well in Sydney that might have some application is to have a dedicated residents parking car-park at a corner site at the end of the block. So – the routine would be to park the car at the front of the house to drop off the kids/shopping.Then at one’s leisure move the car later down to the dedicated zone. Seemed to be pretty self policing, people were happy to use the car-park and were generally pretty neighbourly about not hogging the limited car-parking (generally only room for one car) in front of their homes. Of course Sydney’s dry climate helps to mitigate the hassle of the walk to the end of the street to the community car-park.

    Nonetheless, this might be one way to achieve the quality Sydney/Melbourne/Euro terrace street-scape while maintaining car-parking while using an existing street layout in Auckland. Will still need a co-ordinated approach to street planning which will be a step up for Auckland.

    1. Those Brownstones illustrated above likely from NY or Boston do indeed often have service lanes with parking at their rear, but certainly nowhere near 2 park per unit (brownstones are often 4 stories with as many apartments), and in many case the lanes are used as a small back yard and cars are parked on the street out front, or as is common in Boston/NY, people don’t own a car and use carsharing those times that they do.

    2. Yes that is a solution to making parking less ugly, however it is an artificial problem for many apartments where offstreet parking simply isn’t warranted.

  4. Kia Ora Patrick
    You know inspite of all the issues that have arisen over the UP planners don’t seem to yet have got the message that the communities who are on the receiving end of these decision want to have a greater say over their neighbourhoods.
    As the mixed zone is planned to cover 49% of all residential areas regardless of their special character or features -Is this right? areas like ours are quiet suburban streets often very narrow in out of the ways areas far from adequate public transport and inner city services. They are not urbanised city areas where you can jump on bus or a train just outside your house. Of course in some denser inner city areas well serviced by QUALITY public transport a limited car parking set up may work.
    Therefore the suggestion that no parking onsite needs to be provided for mixed housing properties is the sort of “planning madness” that created the UP uproar over densities heights etc in the first place.
    Just tell us where you think residents cars from this huge mixed zone over Auckland are going to be parked Stored etc? Just tell us who of these people are going to live in outer suburbs entirely without access to their own car? Just tell us when AKT will come up with a transport plan that AK will fund that will cater for existing demand, let alone such a radical step?

    This discussion and discussion making needs to be a partnership with real people in real communities and not so fantasy world forced on us by planners who live somewhere else- but not in our worlds !

    1. John, the argument is that a developer shouldn’t **have to** provide parking, not that they musn’t provide parking.
      If a developer should choose to build something without parking in a car-dependent neighbourhood, they won’t sell, and he’ll won’t make that mistake again.
      On the other hand, there are lots of Aucklanders who want to have more affordable housing, and are happy to share cars or use a bicycle or.. : they don’t have many options at the moment.

    2. “the suggestion that no parking onsite needs to be provided for mixed housing properties is the sort of “planning madness” that created the UP uproar over densities heights etc in the first place.”

      Patrick isn’t suggesting that.
      Patrick is suggesting that no one should be forced to waste their land on car parks.
      If you think a carpark is a good idea then you can live in a house with a car park. I think on site car parking is wasteful, so why not allow me to live in a house without on site parking.

    3. Hi John. I’m, a real person. I chose live 40 minutes out on the train; I have two kids and one car. I would choose a house, or flat, with one parking space.

      Do me the courtesy of giving me the choice rahter than forcing your fantasy world on me. Thank you.

    4. Hi John,

      Would you mind telling us what area you are especially concerned by?

      Where would you consider the line starts to outer suburbs? What about suburbs far from the centre but close to a train or busway station or ferry terminal?

      Just one point I would make. Noone is suggesting that everyone will suddenly abandon cars as a means of transport in AKL and not need parking. But imagine what a financial, environmental and general atmosphere imrpovement there would be in AKL if most families could go from a 3 to 2 car family or 2 to 1 car family. I think that would be huge, dont you?

      Taking away minimuj parking would give people the option of choosing cheaper housing and maybe being able to live closer to the city or wherever they work and need one less car. Isnt that a good thing?

  5. Medium Density Housing developments only require 1 car-parking space per unit, but developers will almost always insist on providing internal garaging for two vehicles.

    1. Are you talking about in Auckland? I have lived in cities overseas where developers are more than happy to provide fewer parking spaces than that.

    2. I was speaking with the Quba developers and they said they were selling the carparks for less than they cost to build and wouldn’t have them if they didn’t have to.
      What I don’t know is whether they were forced by the planning regulations, or forced by the market to provide them for the elite units.

      Either way, the people buying the few carparks were getting them subsidised by everyone else in the building.

  6. Re 217North and Goodsoids comment “Those sorts of developments would be so much more vibrant and attractive with a small shop and maybe a cafe at the bottom.”

    I was thinking the same thing when I saw an areial shot of the area where this is located. If another 6-8 of these developments replaced all the open car parks and light industrial alongside it and on both sides of the street, and they each had a cafe/bar/restaurant/bookstore/etc at ground level, what a fantastic little community this would be, all within the space of one block.

    1. Yep – carve off a car lane, put in some Copenhagen style cycle lanes and some pleasant bus infrastructure and you might just have yourself somewhere people not only want to live but actually go to as a destination.

      What a change that would be for Great North Road!

  7. I think the new tower in Manukau (“M Central”, is it?)is sold with carparks as an optional extra (paid for separately and accessable by the carpark building next door). Would be interesting to know how many buyers chose not to purchase a carpark.

  8. I love the cherry picked examples, no bias at all going on there.

    Unlike your examples, my apartment in Melbourne had a car park for every unit, more for larger units. And unlike your examples you are unable to see a single one from outside or on the street. The only parks you could see we’re the bicycle parks or the large green park next door.

    I can’t give a link but if you google Clara south yara in Melbourne you should be able to find them.

    And unlike your favoured example it didn’t require people to park all over the street or miles from their home.

      1. The whole development had a range of building types, you had 3 level town houses. Single level town houses. Single, double and triple room apartments.

        We all shared a large underground carpark with paid visitor parking and storage sheds. We also had out door and indoor bicycle parks.

        1. If you were buying yes, you could also get a car park and convert it to a storage cage if you like. Or like the one I had, a cage above the front of the car.

        2. Ok, so I would still have to waste $40,000 on a carpark, I don’t like being forced to spend money by law.

        3. How do you work that out sailor boy? I just said that if you were buying you could choose not to have one.

        4. To be fair your entire sentence made little sense at all.

          So you are happy to allow no paking for individual units within developments, but not for individual unit development? That makes no sense at all.

  9. Why two car parks? Most people living in medium density housing could probably function quite happily with one car park, even if they have a four-person family. I agree it’s ridiculous for developers to be lumbered with a car parking restriction at all. A more sensible policy might be, “no off-street parking required for developments within ‘x’ meters of ‘y’ transport mode.” As long as you have a car alarm and your street has no parking restrictions, you should be fine. If you choose not to have a car, then even better.

    1. Although I agree that two carparks should be all you need for a 3 to 4 bedroom house I know of a few places where this is just not enough.

      I was on Mongolia st flat bush yesterday and that place was just overflowing with cars. I’ve been to this place plenty if times and in the evenings there are about 2 to 3 times as many cars parked there as what you see on google maps.

      1. The point is that developers should be free to choose whether they put in one, two, four or no car parks. Developers aren’t stupid – they’ll know if their developments need car parks, and if so, how many. Apartments for students, for example, shouldn’t need any car parks while medium density housing for young families will require car parks. Developers can figure it out by themselves; applying blanket rules is an inflexible waste of space and resources.

    2. Very true melon, developers aren’t stupid and are there to make as much short term money as possible. Without MPS developers are free to offload as much of the costs of the development onto the surrounding environment and due to there being such a housing shortage in Auckland these places will sell regardless of the practicality.

      I’ve done plenty of work for developers and know full well that they will cut as many corners as possible whilst trying to create an appearance of quality.

      For me MPR’s should just be another standard for which developers can seek exemptions provided they can demonstrate the merits of their development. This stuff happens all the time and is hardly much of a hurdle but gives the council a powerful tool to control developents.

      1. I totally agree re. developers (I know a few), but can they currently seek an exemption without a whole heap of fuss? If they can’t it’s totally pointless to make parking mandatory if the parking isn’t really required. By all means give them guidelines, but allow the developer to make it easy to build less parking if they can prove it isn’t necessary they aren’t just “offloading the costs”. My perspective is more a design and function one than a ‘let the developers do what they want’ one.

        1. The issue does not come from one developer doing something on the cheap but rather a series of them. If in auckland we were expecting about 5 developments over the next 10 years then you probably wouldn’t need to worry, the fact is however we can expect hundreds if not thousands all taking as many short cuts as they can leaving it up to the rate payer or the tax payer to come along and spend billions to fix up the issues. Its no different to leaky homes, poor insulstion, poor PT and poor pedestrain connectivity. Without forcing it it wont happen.

        2. Not sure why the rate payer or taxpayer has to pick up the tab on any of those things?

          It is very paternalistic to suggest property investors aren’t capable of making good decisions.

        3. Well who else is going to pay to upgrade the road that has become saturated with parked cars that block buses and such from getting past with any degree of reliability.

          In terms of property investors not making good decisions, who made that claim? From what I know, people buy land for what they want it for, the don’t really care about the person after them or for the good of the city.

        4. “Well who else is going to pay to upgrade the road that has become saturated with parked cars that block buses and such from getting past with any degree of reliability.”

          How much is yellow paint these days? I didn’t realise it was such a precious commodity.

          On the second point: Your argument implies that developers can get away with cutting corners by selling to credulous investors. If the investors are instead getting what they want, how can you be sure corners were in fact cut?

        5. Are you telling me swan, that investors want houses that leak, lights overheat and catch on fire, the water pressure changes, the drains block, only have half the legal requirment of insulstion, face south, have poorly draining lawns with inadequate topsoil and floof during a 5 year storm.

          The issue is swan that we have a housing shortage and values are going up fsster than interest rates so people are happy to buy whatever, no matter what it does to the city.

          Also removing onstreet parking is not as easy as painting a line. It can be a very tough legal battle taking years and costing hundreds of thousands, I know as I’ve done it a number of times by other places with poor off-street parking.

        6. SF Lauren,

          Investors will make a decision regarding quality / price / warranties etc. Investors may assume buildings are built to meet standards because we have building control authorities in NZ but it certainly doesn’t have to be that way.

          Regarding yellow lines, this is completely within the councils jurisdiction. Of course the real answer around use of road space comes down to pricing. When you hear people talk about externalties related to parking and traffic, remember there is no such externality.

        7. Precisely swan, investors don’t care about the good of the city and the impacts they will impose on others or even themselves in the future. The are out to get what they think is best for them, and if the only thing on offer is rubbish that’s what they will buy.

          And if you think removing onstreet parking is so easy, why have we not done it yet? Why does we have clear ways if the council could just go round and force their will on the people?

        8. All of the issues you mentioned were internalities, not externalities. As for protecting future versions of people from their past selves, crikey mate! That is a pretty dark hole you want to drag us into! Who is going to be so wise and courageous as to be able to advocate for future selves against their present selves?!

          I have no idea if we have an inadequate amount of clearways in Auckland. We certainly seem to have quite a few. I don’t think it is because the council has legal difficulties in implementing them. It is all political obviously.

        9. Well parking ones own car should be an interality as well rather than forcing the cost onto the general public because you are too cheap to pay for your own carpark.

          And of course not removing car parks is a political thing, a council is elected to look after the needs of the city, not to present a community assest only to take it away once you spend $0.5 million buying a house with no or little parking as some bright spark thought it best to put control in the hands of developers rather then the elected council.

        10. SF Lauren,

          So on street parking is both a scourge that must be prevented by forcing developers to provide parking, as well as a great asset that the council should be cautious about tampering with?

          I dont see how anyone has the power to “Force” the cost onto the general public? The council can and does charge for parking in many parts of the city. There is no forcing involved.

          I agree that people shouldnt be so selfish as to expect on street parking just because they dont have access to free off street parking. Just like I agree people shouldnt leave their launches and trailer sailors parked up on the road side. But I dont want the council forcing developers to provide car storage any more than I want them to force provision of boat storage. Simple management of the asset is required, preferably via pricing which would avoid costs to the ratepayer, and in fact provide revenue.

        11. Swan, where are these “many” residential streets that the council charges for parking.

          What you and others propose here is for developers to be able to head off to places like Flatbush and build new houses knowing that the residents will use the limited on street parking that was intended for visitors. They will also start parking on verges, on side street, near parks and generally all over the show reducing both safety and the quality of the urban form.

          They residents do this currently and things will only get worse with less designated parking areas.

          As for putting parking meters on every residential street or painted the city with no parking lines, good luck I say..

        12. SF Lauren, The council charges for on street parking in the CBD , Newmarket and Takapuna that I know of. These are 3 areas with many residents. The point is we have the technology and ability to do this. Forcing developers to provide something that their customer may or may not want is an inefficient and inequitable solution to this problem which is essentially a tragedy of the commons problem.

          If certain people have total disregard for bylaws etc and abandon their cars every which way – more enforcement is the answer. This again can be revenue positive for the council if it is so bad so no issue there.

        13. Swan, what portion of the city does the parking metered sections of the CBD, Newmarket and takapuna that are also zoned as mixed housing (as per the topic) represent in the city? Is it above 0%. It’s seems a rather drastic measure to stuff up the rest of the city just so people building in 0% of the city don’t have to justify reductions in parking, like they can currently.

          Also, in regards to forcing developers to provide what people don’t want. I have already said about 10 times in this post that they should be able to seek reductions as per the existing situation. So there is no forcing going on.

          In addition, less than 8% of people in Auckland don’t have a car, as to if they don’t want a large we have no statistics on that. But twice as many homes 15% actactually own more than 3hicles, so if anything you could claim there is not enough residential parking rather than too much.

        14. I meant to say we have no statistics on people not wanting a garage. My phone changes garage to large for some reason.

        15. SF Lauren, nowhere is zoned as mixed housing, it is a proposed zoning. Whether or not areas proposed for mixed housing currently have pay parking is irrelevant to my point which is it is possible to charge for parking. I consider forcing developers to build parking to be rather drastic.

          As for what you have said ten times, it does not take away from the fact the council forces developers to provide parking. How can you possibly deny this?

        16. Swan, you said before that there are many areas that the council charges for parking, given this post was about mixed housing the number of roads that have parking meters and mixed housing is completely relevant.

          As to providing minimum levels of parking being drastic, its only about as drastic as requiring a toilet. In addition, as I have said about 11 times before, developers can already get away with providing less or no parking so they are not being forced.

        17. Don’t make a fool of yourself. If developers could do what they liked re parking we wouldn’t be having this ridiculous conversation. Anything else is by compulsion.

        18. “As to providing minimum levels of parking being drastic, its only about as drastic as requiring a toilet.”

          So you think that every single dwelling in Auckland needs a car as much as every single human being needs to defecate?

          You sure do live in a strange world.

  10. Just to spell it out for our dimmer readers; we are not suggesting that no new parking ever gets built, or that it is banned everywhere, but rather that off street parking supply be left to the market. The Council has no business demanding this amenity be built, and especially in this zone that is designed especially to facilitate improved urban form, better streetscapes, and improved affordability through increased density. Parking Minimums enforce oversupply and undermine all the stated aims of this zone.

    The moment a market builds of course it will be met by keen developers.

    Especially as parking demand is clearly a function of location and supply of alternative amenity [Transit and Active provision]. We are simply saying that if a developer wants build with reduced parking they should be allowed to. This is much more likely to happen in more inner city or Metro Centres or close to well served Transit hubs.

    It’s all about choice… why do a few of you get so militant about other people being allowed to to live in a different way to you or what you ‘know’ is the majority, and seem to ‘know’ will always be so?

  11. Perhaps you could have tried an example in Auckland to support minimum parking lots here, instead of taking the discussion off in a different (strawman) direction. No one is saying don’t build carparks, just don’t force people to. But then, you knew that.

    We get it. You think Auckland’s urban form is a stellar success and you promote more of the same, centered around a policy where the car has unlimited access to satisfy everyone’s “freedom”. Alternative approaches will send Auckland on a one-way ticket to hell. Now that’s out of the way we can all move on.

  12. Sadly, I did read your post SF Lauren – a few minutes of my time gone forever. Your posts were the usual – strawman to suit your personal bias. The post considers the by law is not necessary. Apparently the fact that Melbourne apartments can be built with carparks not constraining the urban form means you disagree the by law must be rovoked in Auckland. Really?

    Your wonderful apartment in Melbourne – complete with parking – can be recreated in Auckland but thats an issue of design, not by getting rid of min. parking rules. But again – you know that.

    And your strawman arguments continue: “I never made any reference about not building carparks. It was Patrick how made that reference….”. No. He said they not need be forced to be be built. But again – you know that as well

    1. And given you missed it, Patrick said this.

      “we are not suggesting that no new parking ever gets built”

      He was the first person to bring this up, followed by you and then myself.

  13. I cut-and-pasted a comment directly from one of your previous posts. But do let me know if someone has infiltrated your IP address without your knowledge.

    1. This childish bickering is tiresome for readers, and I will start deleting posts if it continues.

      I also note that where this occurs Richard it almost always involves you and your nitpicking trolling. As well as your declarations about about both posts and other commenters views as if by some curious self appointed authority. We have been tolerant to a fault of this behaviour but it may not continue.

      1. No, you made a disingenuous remark implying that you are allowed subtlety and nuance in your argument but that no one else is.

        Yes, parking doesn’t have to be AS ugly as the posts in the article. But it is a waste of money for those who don’t use it, it is uglier than no parking, it is a waste of space if someone doesn’t own a car.

  14. The draft Unitary Plan allowed apartment developments the option of aggregating outdoor space per unit rather than have a balcony for each. Anything similar for parking provision?

    1. Sacha yes but that has always existed; the parking garage. The problem is not so much with larger apartment bulidings where parking can be underground or access from the rear of sites but rather with the Mixed Housing zone where the typologies as illustrated prevail. That is smaller medium density terrace or small apartment blocks

  15. You asked me for one of your quotes, I gave you one. Hardly abusive. Unless your original comment was in the first place…..

    1. Well the clearest way, and I recently discussed this with a developer, is simply for the Council to get rid of Minimums and if, and that’s a big if, a whole lot of developments occur in one place without addressing an increasing parking demand then it opens a window for the construction of a parking building building nearby, a demand that no doubt the market will be only to pleased to meet.

      This has the advantage of separating dwelling costs from motoring costs; it’s ‘opt in’ if you like rather than ‘opt out’. It also concentrates a whole lot of the nasty effects of distributed parking like footpaths rendered ugly and more dangerous by suffering from multiple car crossings, allows more street trees, especially the most desirable of all street foliage; the consistent rows of the same variety. And it still stimulates walking and the activation of ground floors to the street. Win/win.

      An example of where parking is aggregated off site is Britomart: very little parking, and in fact a recent big reduction in parking [see above], within the development but a new parking building on the edge of the new source of demand. The other great advantage with this is that if things change even further away from driving in a given area then that building can be repurposed to another more valuable use at a future date. This has been happening recently in Vancouver for example.

      1. Are you certain the zoning will enable a private parking building in the mixed housing zone (as per your post) where people are all happily parking on the street for free. I don’t recall parking buildings being one of the development options in such an area. And as we know, a large parking building is much harder to hide than a few discrete car parks.

  16. Interesting article about Portland.

    The Council there has reimposed MPR on developments over 30 units but the developer can offset this with bike spaces and other alternatives. Note though that the requirements are pretty light, one space for every 5 units in smaller developments:

    “Developers can buy down half of their parking requirement by providing extra bicycle parking, motorcycle parking, or spaces for car- or bike-sharing services. And, at the city’s discretion, developers can bypass the minimum in cases where providing parking might negatively impact the neighborhood.

    Buildings with 31 to 40 units would have to provide one parking stall for every five units. Buildings with 41 to 50 units would need one stall for every four units, and buildings with more than 50 units would need one stall for every three units.

    The parking requirements apply to sites within 500 feet of a transit line with service every 20 minutes during the morning and evening commute or within 1,500 feet of a light rail station. Parking is already required elsewhere.”

    Might be a good compromise in AKL? I do think we should concentrate on those areas with good transit options. Once everyone has seen how successful those areas are, there will be a general demand for more PT/cycling options. Of course, there may be parts of Auckland that are just left to their auto dependency (Flat Bush?) and where some people may prefer to live that lifestyle – at least until $5 per litre petrol arrives.

    1. I feel like that’s the direction the council should move in, particularly in inner-city suburbs or urban areas around light rail hubs. Places like Newmarket, Panmure, New Lynn and Kingsland, for example.

  17. I was involved (as a consultant) with a highish-density development near a large suburban mall that has a huge carpark but very little on-street parking (and pretty poor PT at the time). The developer got a substantial reduction in car parking (from memory, down to 1.6 spaces per unit). One space was attached to each unit, a certain number were set aside for visitors, and the balance were to be sold to owners if they wanted them on a first-come, first-served basis.

    For the most part, buyers were rental investors, and they were not interested in a second space for their unit. They then rented to a largely young adult population – most of whom had cars. Total chaos ensued. The unallocated spaces were keenly contested, visitors could not get near visitor parks, and the adjoing mall had a field day clamping or towing cars associated with the residential development.

    I am not sure whether things have settled down since, but there were certainly market signals that were not being picked up at the time.

    So I tend to be a bit sceptical about doing away with parking standards.

    1. So what kind of rental do they acheive? Less than one with 2 carparks? So they are less attractive, and hence will cost less and the market will correct?

      1. You forget we are in a housing crisis sailor boy, people will buy or rent what they can get, regardless of how ideal it is. The market can only drive the demand for quality if there is actual competition, right now and for the foreseeable future there is no competition.

        1. Yeah, so lets remove MPRs to allow more construction and as such more competition.

          I am sorry that not everyone wants to subsidise your lifestyle Lauren.

    2. Sounds like a poorly planned development that should not have happened. I am sure you will agree that no rule can compensate for poor planning.

      Isnt the most telling part of your description “pretty poor PT at the time”. So the residents had no choice.

      I understand the point you are making but I can point to dozens of examples in cities I have lived in overseas where high density developments were done near malls and there was no off street or on street parking and no problems. Almost everyone got there by PT.

      Sylvia Park with its train station is a prime example of where this could happen if the train service was more frequent and reliable.

      AKL needs to change and this is part of it.

      1. Precisely, planning is the key. Not to just remove regulations and let developers go round stuffing up the city.

        If an area has good PT provisions or in walking distance to work and shops then reductions are justified, but not just because a developer wants to offload the costs of a development onto the general public.

  18. Re Duncan McK’s story: “Total chaos ensued. The unallocated spaces were keenly contested, visitors could not get near visitor parks, and the adjoing mall had a field day clamping or towing cars associated with the residential development.”

    The only problem I see here is that the management committe of the complex didn’t enforce their rules.

    The tenants rented a facility they knew was not fit fot their purposes, so then tried to bludge off the carpark, then their fellow residents (the visitor carparks). They new it was only one space available – it was their problem to sort it out legally (sell the car or pay for a space somewhere nearby).

    This goes to the heart of the issue. It seems you cannot move in Auckland unless one thing is catered for above all else – the private consumer’s car. Its ridiculous. There are plenty of places with two car spaces but they are probably more expensive or, are located further away. That, and dispensing of the second car, are the choices. Deal with it.

    Its like the ex mayor of Bogota said (and I am paraphrasing)”I look through the constitution and I see lots of human rights – education, healthcare, etc – but what I don’t see is the right to park. Its not the government’s problem”.

  19. Is there a difference between a visitor or a house owner parking on a suburban street? I don’t see how “forcing the latter” (by getting rid of MPRs) is forcing the cost onto ratepayers. You’ve done that anyway by building the road in the first place – both the house owner and visitor are ratepayers so have an equal right to use it.

    Doesn’t seem any logic to insisting carparks must be made available on a section because you want one type of ratepayer to park on the street (visitor) and not the other (owner).

  20. In fact, you could argue that if developer contributions have gone into funding that suburban street, and have been passed on to the owner of a house in that street in the sale price, the owner should get preferential treatment of its use. Visitors take their chances that a spot will be available for them.

    1. Residents have the option of building off-street parking to store their cars. Visitors don’t have that option, unless you expect them to only ever visit people who themselves have not just off-street parking, but a specific spare visitor space.

      Using up all the on-street parking before building off-street parks actually is the most efficient solution. The alternative is that all that parking we’ve gone to so much trouble to build just sits there, unused, and what’s the point in that? Once it’s all used up, there’s a case for the council to step in and make sure visitors get a chance, with time limits and/or parking meters.

      1. You will note however, that in new developments there is typically very little on street parking. I know one such street that has about 20 house yet only enough on street parking for one car.

        If your wanting to provide for more on street parking it will come at the cost of cycle lanes, footpaths and the general urban environment. Refer to the new shared spaces as an example of what you will loose.

        1. in new developments there is typically very little on street parking

          That’s often true, and in general I think new subdivisions have far too much off-street parking but could do with a little more on-street. Part of the problem is all that off-street parking in the first place – the vehicle crossings often don’t leave much kerb space!

          If your wanting to provide for more on street parking it will come at the cost of cycle lanes, footpaths and the general urban environment.

          Not at all. We could make new streets as wide or as narrow as we like, depending on what features we want to add to them. Most new streets actually waste a lot of space because they’re designed with two wide traffic lanes to allow traffic to pass in both directions at 30-50 km/h. On a street that might see just a couple of hundred cars a day, and doesn’t serve any through traffic. A single narrow traffic lane is easily enough, with vehicles able to cross when there’s a free parking space or vehicle crossing on one side.

          Residential streets should also be designed to slow traffic down to a speed where cyclists are comfortable in mixed traffic, and pedestrians don’t feel like they need a giant grass buffer. When it comes at the expense of traffic lanes, on-street parking actually improves safety and amenity by slowing down traffic, and without taking up any extra space.

  21. Visitors have that option too….in their own street. So I’m not sure we need to go out of our way to ensure adequate – and free – additional parking is available for them in almost any suburban street they might choose to visit (and it would be rare occasions when you discount working and time spent at your own dwelling), by virtue of forcing residents to have (but not necesarily use) off-street parking.

    1. On-street parking is a public good, since it allows visitors, tradesmen, deliveries and so on a chance to park. We do need it! It would be hugely expensive for every property to have their own visitor spaces when each individual property might get only a few hours of visitors per week – but occasionally needs to cater for twenty in one night. On-street parking lets us share.

      The point of minimum parking requirements, as SF Lauren aka Riggles points out above is to avoid resident parking “spilling over” onto the street. But we don’t need MPRs to keep the street parking available, since there are other tools, like time limits, meters, and even loading zones that we have available, which don’t impose quite such a large cost.

      On the other hand, if there’s more on-street parking than we need it makes more sense for residents to use it, rather than building an excess of off-street parking.

    1. Yes.

      It’d be nice if he just kept the same name and made our lives easier. Frankly, I think “Riggles” was a much better name.

    2. I’ve noticed that both here and on the bettertransport forum, there is a certain class of people who like to make snide comments about how other people don’t agree with them because of some “party line” or cowardly conformism or similar. Strange that these are the people who spout the negative, conservative, smug ideas about the glories of private car ownership and motorway transport which rule the mainstream media – and then can’t understand why their Big Ape Officially Approved Ideas don’t give them Alpha Male status on all forums everywhere.

      1. To be fair, not just mainstream media, also Kiwiblog and Whaleoil. Alpha Male to the extreme where any contrary opinion is met with a tirade of personal abuse. And I mean real abuse.

  22. “If your wanting to provide for more on street parking it will come at the cost of cycle lanes, footpaths and the general urban environment”

    Who asked for “more” on street parking? I think the request is for the option (again: “option”) of less off-street parking by dropping MPRs.

    Suburban streets would remain largely as they are, perhaps a little wider for new ones to add in a cycle lane (they should already have footpaths, no?). Streets in the CBD…no change – or is there a suggestion dropping MPRs will mean the demise of private carparking buildings, council controlled car spaces and existing residences with off-street parking?

  23. Must have touched a nerve…..I wasn’t getting upset, but you certainly have.

    Seriously though, are you saying if we ditched MPRs we would need to increase on-street parking?

  24. Hey SF Lauren, I have no idea who you are but please keep it respectful. You seem to be lowering the tone lately. Put your position, by all means.

  25. Man, some of these exchanges bored me.

    For anyone interested further in the humble Dingbat…. Shame we seem to have borrowed some of these building form ideas from SoCal, but perhaps not surprising given our approach to parking:

    Just to be clear…I’m not promoting these! Just fascinated by what culture produces in built form…

  26. This is an article by Joel Kotkin, a guy who is very pro sprawl and anti rail. He regularly debates with Richard Florida, who is pro-urban and pro-rail:

    It is interesting to me because it illustrates the fact that the debate on the pro-sprawl is often coloured by factors that are nothing to do with economics or looking at fact based evidence. As a social conservative, Joel Kotkin sees dense cities as a threat to the socially conservative values that he regards as essential to Western civilisation (i.e. the United States). Otherwise it will end up like East Asia or (gasp!) Europe. Godless places full of heathens apparently.

    In this article you can see that he regards liberal values and low fertility rates as a consequence of people living in cities. It seems he sees suburban developments not necessarily as the best economic unit but the ebst way to preserve those conservative values. Apartment living discourages big families and therefore is bad.

    His concentration on the falling ferticlity rates of Whites in America is particularly telling. Obviously non-White people seldom shares his conservative, Christian values (he teaches at a conservative Christian college in California). JK is of course also a climate change and peak oil denier, that goes with the territory.

    Apologies for a bit of post hijacking, I may have to do a post on this, but it explains to me why no matter how much economic and fact based evidence is presented in favour of pro-urban policy (e.g. intensification, transit) it will always be opposed by groups who see cities as inherently bad things – a view I just cannot share.

    Of course this is another viewpoint that scares the hell out of me:

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