Lon Anderson continues to push the "War on Cars" meme to whoever will listen, especially if they won't fact check him.
Ari Ashe doesn't, so Anderson's claim that parking minimums will be "eliminated altogether" goes unchallenged. But in reality, the zoning only eliminates motor vehicle parking minimums in a small set of cases as GGW pointed out in December. Those cases are
- Small residential buildings of up to 9 units
- Higher-density areas (today's R-5) and mixed-use/commercial zones near Metro or high-frequency bus lines ("transit zones")
- Production, Distribution and Repair (industrial) land
In addition, many of those places still have minimum bike parking requirements. I know that may not seem like real parking to AAA, but it is.
Changes to zoning that make it easier to park a bike and that encourage transit use and car-lite living could further reduce car ownership in the District which should make parking a car easier. And since the areas effected by a loss of motor vehicle parking minimums are not in residential areas it's unlikely to cause the kinds of problems that Lon Anderson and motor-vehicle-parking advocate Sue Hemberger warn of.
"If you want to have a play date with kids on the weekend, you better make sure it doesn't last longer than two hours because everyone will get ticketed," she says.
(Everyone? Even the kids? DC enforcement really is getting out of control.) Besides being over-the-top, I'm not sure how removing parking minimums makes this any more true (not at all in most neighborhoods) than it is today.
"People can choose to go to restaurants in Tysons, or choose to go to restaurants in Bethesda. It's not as though they have to come downtown," says Lon Anderson
They do if they want to eat somewhere other than Olive Garden (OK, OK, I know that's unfair, but I couldn't resist). Seriously, though, Bethesda's not exactly a cakewalk to park your car in either -even with parking minimums. And how many people have ever asked the question "Should we eat dinner in Tyson's or downtown DC?" I just don't see those two destinations as direct competitors when it comes to dinner options. And of those, how many have been answered with "Downtown DC, but only if we can easily find cheap parking for our car."
I wonder if people fighting for parking minimums in larger buildings would be OK with parking minimums for single family homes. Something like 1 parking space for every 2000 sf? I mean if every home owner (or which I am one) would just park their car on their own property, there would be plenty of visitor parking. Sure, some people would have to add expensive access and give up back yards, but I mean....think of the children who just want to go on playdates without being arrested.
I wonder how many cars Sue Hemberger can park on her property.
In addition to fearmongering the problem, they confuse visitor parking with long-term parking. The parking that would not be added by this change is long-term parking. Visitors park on the streets at meters, but visitor parking should be unchanged. So this
A proposed parking plan for the District could mean more residents forced to park on the streets, making it even more difficult for visitors to find parking.
is likely untrue as well. And Tregoning points much of this, and DC's changing transportation paradigm, out
"We have Bikeshare, Über, CarToGo, all within the last five years. The landscape for transportation innovation is unlimited," says Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning.
When you add ZipCar and Metro, Tregoning points out that parking policies must take into account all different modes of travel into the District.
She adds that eliminating parking minimums will have virtually no short-term effects and wouldn't jeopardize short-term parking for people visiting popular attractions like D.C. museums.
Anderson says D.C. is launching a war on cars. Tregoning calls the claim hyperbole and completely unfounded.
Hyperbolic and unfounded or not, it still makes a great headline.