In Dallas, a city where parking requirements have not changed in 60 years, city staffers have undertaken an effort to review and reform the city’s parking regulations and overhaul its “byzantine permitting process,” reports Peter Simek in D Magazine.
As cities around the country reckon with the legacy of parking requirements, planners are evaluating the effects of mandatory parking minimums—and policies that reduce them—on the urban fabric. “It is now clear that burdensome parking policies can drive up the cost of development, make it harder for new businesses to open and for developers to build affordable housing, incentivize the demolition of historic properties, and contribute to environmental dangers like the urban heat island effect.” Oak Cliff City Councilman Chad West initiated the effort to reform Dallas-area parking last year, when, as chair of the Housing Committee, he “led something of a crusade to overhaul the city’s byzantine permitting process.”
Andreea Urdea, a Romanian-born urban planner who trained and worked in Europe’s compact, walkable cities, is leading the research arm of the project, which aims to reform Dallas’s “lackadaisical approach to comprehensive planning” that has allowed zoning and land use regulations to be “continually adapted to fit the needs of every individual property owner,” writes Simek. “Udrea’s job has been to research the parking rules, create local case studies that illustrate how those rules shape development, and examine ways other cities have reformed their approach to parking” in order to inform a future approach for Dallas. Udrea insists that her main task is to provide context. “Whatever approach Dallas takes to redrafting its parking regulations” she says, “will need to reflect an extensive community engagement process and be adopted by elected officials.”