City staff will soon recommend that aldermen reduce the amount of parking required at new multi-family housing developments near the city’s 10 mass transit stations.
The city now requires between 1.25 and 2.0 parking spaces per unit, depending on the number of bedrooms in the unit, regardless of whether the development is near a transit station or not.
The new proposal calls for reducing the requirement near transit stations to one parking space per unit, regardless of unit size.
In justifying the reduction city staff cites a new study conducted under a grant from the Regional Transportation Authority that looked at parking requirements in similar communities around the country with strong access to mass transit and community goals of reducing the environmental impact of heavy reliance on automobiles.
The communities studied included Berkeley, Palo Alto and Pasadena, California; Boulder, Colorado; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Portland, Oregon.
The report concludes that Evanston requires more parking spaces than any of the other communities studied.
The report also looked at a recent analysis of parking levels at four major downtown developments and found that while they average 1.29 parking spaces per unit, at peak occupancy they average only 0.94 spaces per unit occupied.
The developments in that study were Optima Horizons at 800 Elgin Road, Optima Towers at 1580 Sherman Ave., Optima Views at 1720 Maple Ave. and The Reserve at 1930 Ridge Ave.
The report argues that excessive parking requirements make market rate housing more expensive, increasing the asking price of a unit by as much as 12.5 percent, reduce the number of affordable housing units, tie up land that could be used for other uses, encourage people to own more cars and drive more and disproportionately burden the poor, old, yougn and disabled, who end up subsidizing transportation for the relatively more affluent.
The staff recommendations were scheduled to be presented at a Transportation and Parking Committee meeting tonight, which has since been cancelled. They’re now likely to be presented at the committee’s August or September meeting.