Apparently it is Possible to Have Too Much Parking

In zoning, we talk about “parking ratios”, how many parking spaces you’re required to build as a multiple of the number of residential units in a multi-family building.

Portland’s ratios can be as low as zero if you’re near a frequent transit line. But a recent review by Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff (PDF) computed that since 2006, on average, we’re building about 0.6 parking spaces per residential unit (outside of the Central City).

An interesting situation is developing in downtown Brooklyn, where the required parking ratio is 0.4 spaces per unit – but only 22% of households own cars.

“The issue, officials say, lies with the large garages that the developers of new residential buildings have been required by zoning rules to construct. But with 13 subway lines and 15 bus routes in the area, many new residents choose to leave their cars behind, meaning the garages sit half-empty and take up precious space.”

The city is considering dropping the ratio to 0.2. Apparently, you CAN have too much parking…

Note: My phrasing above apparently confused some folks. Brooklyn, not Portland, is considering changing the ratio to 0.2.

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