Parking maximums define the maximum number of off-street car parking bays that can be built in new developments, thus slowing the growth in peak-hour traffic congestion and mitigating several other externalities. Developers who wish to add more parking need to apply for an exemption.

The problem of parking minimums

Minimum parking requirements subsidise cars, increase traffic congestion, pollute the air, encourage sprawl, increase housing costs, degrade urban design, prevent walkability, damage the economy, and penalise people who cannot afford a car.

Donald Shoup

Problems include:

  • increased peak-hour traffic congestion, because if more parking is available at a destination then more people will drive there;
  • increased cost of housing, particularly impacting upon affordable housing, because the cost of parking is added to the cost of the house; and
  • increased cost of goods and services, because the cost of parking is added to the cost of commercial rent, which is passed on to customers by the tenant business.
Image credit: MRCagney
Edmonton has removed parking minimums. Image credit: Strong Towns

What Yarra can do

Yarra can eliminate parking minimums from the Yarra Planning Scheme, and even better, impose parking maximums. Concurrently, Yarra can manage the demand for on-street parking by using demand responsive parking charges (for metered parking bays) as well as protecting residential parking by expanding the use of permit only zones.

Existing Yarra policy

Council imposes mandatory parking minimums via Table 1 in Clause 52.06 of the Yarra Planning Scheme. The table spans over 4 pages, defining requirements for different types of buildings. The exception is the commercial area of Cremorne, where Yarra is proposing to change to parking maximums.

Source: Yarra Planning Scheme

Examples in other cities and countries

City of Melbourne

The City of Melbourne imposes parking maximums:

Schedule 1 of the Parking Overlay 45.09. Source: City of Melbourne.

City of Port Phillip

The City of Port Phillip imposes parking maximums:

Schedule 1 of the Parking Overlay 45.09. Source: City of Port Phillip.

New Zealand

New Zealand has recently removed parking minimums for all cities larger than 10,000 people. The new rules are discussed in this article by Greater Auckland Inc.

Policy 11 – no minimum parking requirements. Image credit: New Zealand Government.
Implementation 3.38 – no minimum parking requirements. Image credit: New Zealand Government.

Europe and USA

Examples of parking maximums in Europe include London and Zurich.

In 2004, London reversed its parking requirements, eliminating the previous minimums and putting new maximums on parking supply for all developments in the metropolitan area.

Zhan Guo, ACCESS Magazine

San Francisco has removed parking minimums.

Other information on parking

Learn more from our collection of pages related to parking:

Further guidance

Further guidance is available from ACCESS Magazine Issue 49, or the video from Vox.

Source: ACCESS Magazine