The Transportation Issue
In last week’s Planetizen post, Todd Litman expressed his frustrations with inefficient transportation policies, stating that, while many local governments are attempting to decrease energy consumption through LEED certifications, a significant barrier to reaching their energy goals is the issue of parking. He states that true sustainable design includes LEED certification along with smart parking guidelines. Unfortunately, many governments are unwilling to pass better parking policies. He cites the case of Vancouver rental apartment:
This building is located in a very walkable area with abundant local services, close to five major bus lines. It is an ideal location to encourage car-free living. However, the building also has 78 underground parking stalls (0.8 spaces per unit). These parking spaces are unbundled (rented separately from housing units), but priced at just $35 per month, although the cost-recovery price would be about $250, so residents’ parking, and therefore vehicle ownership are still subsidized by about $215 per month. If parking were efficiently priced, apartment rents could be reduced about $200 per month, greatly increasing housing affordability in a city with a severe housing unaffordability problem.
Litman states that city governments are usually fearful of the burden of increased enforcement that comes with public parking – as well as fearful of the public backlash from motorists.
Should parking be a significant factor in considerations for sustainable design? What is the role of local government in all of this?