Minneapolis is in the midst of the most sweeping overhaul of its off-street parking requirements since the 1960s. The proposed changes include lower minimums and new maximums for parking, and for the first time, requirements for bike parking. All were developed in response to policies that call for balancing the demand for parking with other important objectives such as maintaining the city’s traditional urban form and encouraging the use of transit, walking, and bicycling. The parking requirements would impact all new development but not existing developments.

In testimony before the Minneapolis Planning Commission, Transit for Livable Communities testified in favor of the changes for both vehicles and bicycles, but asked that staff consider increasing the number of bike parking spaces required. Several other testifiers also asked the City to consider requiring a higher number of parking spaces. The Planning Commission approved the changes as proposed by staff, with a request that City staff determine whether the requirements for bike parking are adequate for the high percentage of bicyclists in Minneapolis. Check out Transit for Livable Communities' testimony here. The proposed changes are expected to be considered by the Council in December.

Cities across the nation, including Minneapolis, have recognized the negative consequences of requiring abundant off-street parking. Those requirements often created acres of empty asphalt, raising development costs (or preventing development entirely) and discouraging people from walking. Because off-street parking is typically provided “free” to users, it also subsidizes driving. Recognizing the many problems of parking oversupply, the City of Minneapolis worked for over a year to develop the proposed revisions.

Transit for Livable Communities has worked on parking issues in the Twin Cities for several years. In 2003, TLC published The Myth of Free Parking, which raised fundamental questions about parking and identified ways in which employers, municipalities and state agencies can improve their approach to parking management. The report discusses parking innovations from the Twin Cities region and around the country.

For more information, check out the City of Minneapolis’ webpage on the proposed parking changes.

Photo: ZKorb