Prior to 2021, the City’s parking minimums were last updated almost a decade ago and were out of date with land use best practices, modern market demand for parking, and policies in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.
Under the former parking code, parking minimums were calculated to exceed demand so there was always empty parking spaces. Developers, property owners and tenants absorbed the high cost of these extra parking spaces. These parking minimums also assumed that cars are the only way to get from Point A to Point B, with little consideration of other nearby available transportation modes or neighborhood density. The requirements provided little flexibility for property owners to use these extra parking spaces for other uses, such as patio or outdoor shopping space, without City intervention.
Today, about 36% of Saint Paul’s land is dedicated to moving and storing automobiles. Reducing or eliminating parking requirements benefits Saint Paul by:
- increasing housing affordability and construction costs,
- giving new flexibility to small business owners who want to use their off-street parking for other uses,
- supporting economic growth, and
- reducing carbon emissions and making walking, biking and transit more appealing.