DCist reports that DC city councilmembers Tommy Wells and Mary Cheh proposed legislation that would allow the mayor to designate apartment buildings where residents would not be allowed to purchase residential parking permits. This innovative legislation would mark a sharp turn away from typical municipal policies that enforce parking minimums for developers.
According to the DCist, building owners would be able to seek this designation for their properties only when no units are currently leased. I contacted both councilmembers to find out more information on this proposed rule — such as whether developers will be incentivized to achieve this designation or if this designation would be voided when these buildings sell — but have not yet heard back.
My first thought on this legislation is that it has low potential for costs or unintended consequences and certainly marks an improvement over parking minimums. However, I also can’t imagine that this legislation would have a significant impact on the number of people parking on DC streets. Because people would self-select into buildings designated as parking-free, those who choose to rent in these buildings will probably be people who don’t have cars anyway.
A more effective solution would be to raise the cost of residential parking permits to the revenue-maximizing levels, varying these rates across neighborhoods in accordance with demand.