Minimum parking requirements create more parking than is needed. This in turn encourages more driving at a time when cities seek to reduce congestion and increase transit use, biking, and walking. After nearly a century of development under these requirements, parking now dominates our cities.
To counter the problem of excessive minimum parking requirements, academics and practitioners have advocated a new suite of parking policies, including reduced parking requirements and demand-based prices for on-street parking. These policies aim to better manage parking and reduce driving, but too much parking works against these goals by spreading the destinations and making the cost of driving artificially low. To more effectively address the issues caused by minimum parking requirements, planners and policymakers should focus not only on future development, but also on the existing parking oversupply.
Relatively little information exists, however, on the amount and location of parking in cities, limiting our understanding of how that parking contributes to land and automobile use patterns. To address this knowledge gap, we developed a case study to estimate where parking infrastructure exists in Los Angeles and how it has evolved over time.
(Note: this article focuses expands on the implications of our Journal of the American Planning Association publication Parking Infrastructure: A Constraint on or Opportunity for Urban Redevelopment? A Study of Los Angeles County Parking Supply and Growth)