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November 22, 2017, 12:20:59 pm
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Author Topic: Zoning Code Update - Let's talk about parking  (Read 834 times)
PonderInc
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« on: April 16, 2015, 09:59:14 am »

The proposed zoning update makes some good strides towards helping reduce the parking requirements, but it doesn't go far enough.

The good news is that there are no parking requirements in downtown (no change) and the neighborhoods that circle downtown.  In areas designated "urban" (town centers, main streets, mixed use, etc), parking ratios have been reduced 25% or so.  And for the suburban areas, they've been reduced by 10% or so.  While this doesn't go far enough, it's a step in the right direction.  Most importantly, it's the first time that our zoning code won't just apply a "one-ridiculous-size-fits-all" approach to parking.

Also, for the first time, the zoning code is officially sanctioning shared parking (example: let a bank and a bar share the same lot, since their busy hours don't overlap).  It also requires bicycle parking and provides for a reduction in parking spaces if the site provides car share or bike share services. (Example: one space designated for a car share eliminates 4 parking spaces.)

Missed opportunity 1: There should be a reduction in parking requirements if the development is located on a transit route and includes a transit stop within a reasonable distance (1,000 ft?).  I would offer even greater reductions to required parking if the developer builds and maintains a proper bus stop (ie: upgrades a sign with a sheltered bench).

Missed opportunity 2: Really, do we need any parking minimums at all?  Why not just have parking maximums instead?  I would suggest we take the current proposed minimums and just make them maximums. 

Tulsa is going broke on parking.  It wastes valuable land that could be generating jobs and tax dollars.  It spreads out uses and destinations, causing us to build more roads to get from place to place--roads that cost billions to repair/maintain.  (In addition to more roads we must provide longer water/sewer lines, and more cops and firefighters...)  It encourages driving, and discourages transit.  It causes business owners and developers to destroy historic homes adjacent to our finest intact "main streets."  It destroys the urban fabric, and turns our city into a gap-toothed hillbilly.  It's ugly.  And it creates heat islands in a city where summer temperatures often hover near 100 degrees. 

Every parking space that sits empty 99% of the time represents almost 300 SF of space that could be something else.  Instead, we pave it in the off chance that someone may happen to park there for a few minutes a day. It's the least productive element of our built environment...and unfortunately, it takes up a majority of our commercial space.  We can do better.
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davideinstein
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2015, 02:04:28 pm »

Parking minimums can be an absolute headache when you're looking for locations from a business perspective. Even the free market would suggest you need less parking most of the time. I don't understand it.
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PonderInc
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2015, 02:23:08 pm »

And yet, every PUD application I've been involved in, the developer crows about how they are offering MORE parking than is required by zoning.  The entire thing is a puzzle.  Why would you want to waste land like that--unless you're just land-banking future pad sites and you don't want to mow the grass?
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