August 18, 2021

Ashley Aram

City of Saint Paul to Remove Citywide Parking Minimums for Real Estate Developments

New Zoning Provisions to Align with Best Practices for Land Use and City’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan

SAINT PAUL, MN -- Following a vote by the City Council today, the City of Saint Paul will fully eliminate off-street parking minimums for real estate developments in Saint Paul. This change will remove all currently required parking minimums across the city, modernizing Saint Paul’s zoning codes and aligning them with best practices for land use while reducing administrative burdens for small businesses and developers.

"Our rapidly growing population demands forward facing public policy,” said Mayor Melvin Carter. “This simple step will help add much needed housing and jobs as we seek to maximize this period of historic economic expansion in Saint Paul."

“Removing barriers to our city’s growth is critical to building a truly sustainable and thriving future,” said City Council President Amy Brendmoen. “By leaning in and embracing this new change Saint Paul will be able to grow and densify more quickly, allowing us to fulfill the growth and prosperity goals of our 2040 Comprehensive Plan, reducing the costs of development for everyone and welcoming more businesses, visitors and families in our city.”

Roughly 36% of Saint Paul’s land area is currently dedicated to moving or storing automobiles. Fully eliminating required off-street parking minimums for developments allows more opportunity for housing developments, incentivizes housing affordability, reduces carbon emissions, and reduces overall urban sprawl.

“Putting people and the environment at the forefront of our city’s transportation and economic planning is key to Saint Paul’s future strength and longevity,” said Chief Resilience Officer Russ Stark. “Fully eliminating parking minimums is an incredible step forward in achieving our goal of a carbon-neutral city by 2050 by reducing emissions, boosting accessibility to transit and biking options, and improving overall urban design through thoughtful, sustainable planning.”

As a part of the ordinance, properties with more than 25 residential units or 20,000 square feet gross floor area will be required to invest in Travel Demand Management (TDM) actions, which encourage other means of transportation separate from cars like subsidized transit passes, protected bike parking and street traffic calming measures.

Developers will still be allowed to build on-site parking options, up to city maximums. The new ordinance will create more options and flexibility to build fewer parking spaces where it would otherwise be difficult to meet minimum requirements, or where they are unlikely to be needed or used by new residents, tenants, workers, or customers.

“Eliminating parking minimums will make it easier for people to live, work and do business in Saint Paul,” said Planning and Economic Development Director Nicolle Goodman. “This change will positively impact the city and its growth while supporting new opportunities for everyone to be able to navigate Saint Paul in a smart and accessible way.”

Elimination of parking minimums and an improved Transportation Demand Management policy are part of a broader push by Saint Paul to lead on climate action and was supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge. Saint Paul is one of the 25 winning cities in the Climate Challenge, which is helping cities set and surpass ambitious climate goals by ramping up action in the two highest-emitting sectors in cities: transportation and buildings. 

“Saint Paul has joined a short list of U.S. cities who have done away with outdated and senseless minimum parking requirements,” said Amanda Eaken, director of transportation at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Pairing critical parking reform with ambitious new policy to improve transportation options will make new housing and transportation more affordable in Saint Paul, reduce dangerous car traffic, and clean the city’s air.”

To learn more about the newly passed ordinance, visit the City of Saint Paul’s website here.


Last Edited: August 18, 2021