Great news! Hartford just became the second major American city in the country to eliminate parking minimums citywide. On December 12, 2017, the Planning and Zoning Commission, chaired by Sara Bronin, voted to approve a measure that eliminated minimum parking requirements for new development. Excess parking can have substantial impacts on public health, the environment, the local economy, and social equity. Current research shows that too much parking is linked to increased vehicle miles traveled, which has negative impacts on the environment and public health. The construction of parking spaces may discourage development and raise housing costs.
Eliminating parking minimums can provide economic benefits by freeing up space for other uses and reducing development costs for providing parking that may not be needed. It can also reduce the amount of impervious surfaces in the city, allowing for more stormwater capture and infiltration.
Importantly, it has been nearly two years since the city instituted the lifting of its parking minimums for downtown and for retail and service uses citywide, and there have not been any negative reports to date. The new regulations, expanding this citywide and to all uses (except special permit uses) are available online under Zoning Regulations. Below are images showing a residential comparison of the regulations before and after:
The elimination of parking minimums will not affect existing parking, nor will it prohibit the creation of future parking. Instead, these zoning changes will allow developers and businesses to be flexible while still meeting demand-driven parking needs.
Great job, P&Z! Thanks for looking out for residents, and helping make Hartford even greener!
Photo: The Planning and Zoning Commission deliberates on and votes to approve the innovative zoning changes removing parking minimums.