Parking maximums set a cap on the number of parking spaces that developers can provide.
Maximums ensure that parking is not oversupplied and incentivize developers to plan for alternative transportation modes. Given that their tenants will require effective access to transportation, developers affected by parking maximums are incentivized to direct resources to alternative transportation modes in lieu of parking. Parking maximums can also increase development density, improving area walkability and multimodal functionality in support of the TOD concept.
Fixed or Flexible Maximums
Zoning codes can establish fixed maximums, which define a limit on potential on-site parking supplies, with no/minimal exceptions. They can also establish a more flexible maximum, in which one or more options for providing parking above the maximum are provided. The most common exceptions with flexible parking maximums are:
The provision of shared, or public, parking, which is not counted toward the project’s maximum;
The payment of a fee for each non-shared space provided in excess of the maximum; and
The provision of mobility improvements or travel demand management (TDM) commitments;
Adherence to higher development standards, such as improved design or higher densities.
Facilitates and encourage higher development densities
Incentivize cities and developers to invest in alternative transportation modes
Prevents oversupply of parking and future-proof parking facilities
Reduces traffic congestion by reducing parking activity
Reduces housing costs by maximizing the potential number of units that can be developed
Reduces housing costs by capping the potential cost of excess parking, which developers often offset via higher housing prices/lease-rates
Emphasizes the expectation of reduced parking needs in the affected TOD area
Transit Priority Areas
San Diego, CA
In 2019, the City of San Diego implemented a set of parking requirements to better serve the needs of its designated Transit Priority Areas. These requirements included parking maximums for multi-family residential development in the Downtown Transit Priority Area. The new requirements set a maximum of 1 parking space per unit, with some flexibility for certain cases. Developers are allowed to exceed this maximum if the floor area ratio of the development is at least 80% of the maximum, if 20% of the parking includes electric vehicle equipment, if a certain number of other transportation amenities are provided, or if all excess parking spaces are in an off-street underground parking garage.
Fort Worth, TX
While Fort Worth does not have extremely rigorous parking maximums and still maintains a set of minimum parking requirements, it is one of the first municipalities in Texas to institute parking maximums for new development. As of 2015, Fort Worth set a maximum parking requirement of 125% of the minimum requirement for a given use in order to prevent oversupply of parking. This translates into a maximum of 1.25 spaces per multifamily residential unit. This helps to facilitate TOD and walkable development throughout central Fort Worth.
Role of Public Sector
Drafts zoning code language defining maximum parking limits, based on proposed land uses, perhaps including options for exceeding these limits via shared parking and/or payment of a fee
Role of Private Sector
Responds to proposed guidelines by providing parking that does not exceed the maximum, or by making excess supply available for shared or public parking, or by paying a fee to fund public demand-management/demand-reduction investments.
Applies to future developments, but could be applied to proposed changes to existing development