From Barb Thoman, Program Consultant

St. Paul is proposing an overhaul to its requirements for off-street parking spaces – requirements first adopted in the 1970s and updated in the early 1990s in accordance with the suburban parking orientation common at that time. The City’s current requirements have resulted in the oversupply of parking spaces at many locations and the loss of housing and commercial structures to parking lots. If adopted, the parking changes would facilitate development, encourage transit use, bicycling, and walking, and reduce pollution.

Proposed changes would reduce the complexity of the parking requirements, reduce a number of requirements so fewer parking spaces would be required, establish some maximum requirements, and improve landscaping at larger parking lots. The proposed changes will only be aimed at new buildings and buildings that change their use, not existing uses. They would not apply to downtown or to the Central Corridor which already have updated parking requirements. The requirements do not change on street parking or metered parking.

TLC is supportive of this effort and may push for some minimum requirements and the maximum requirements to be lower than what is being proposed. In 2003, TLC released a report entitled The Myth of Free Parking. in which it advocated for many of the reforms being undertaken by St. Paul. In 2008, Minneapolis made similar proposed changes to its parking requirements.

In November, St. Paul had three public open houses on the proposed changes. Those meetings were only lightly attended. TLC staff attended one of the meetings. The next step will be a public hearing on the proposed changes before the St. Paul Planning Commission in January or February with a recommendation in February or March. TLC hopes that city residents and businesses will attend the hearing and support the changes.

You can read a PowerPoint presentation on the proposed changes here.

For more information on TLC’s position on the proposed changes, contact Barb Thoman at barbt@tlcminnesota.org or 651-767-0298 (Ext. 105)

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