CodeNEXT: Eliminate Government-Mandated Parking Requirements?

If we’re advocating for the elimination of government-mandated parking requirements, can we at the same time advocate for eliminating special resident-only parking permits for neighborhoods? The neighborhood residents do not actually own the streets in front of their houses to use as their own private parking spaces - it would better serve nearby businesses if their customers could park on neighborhood streets if the businesses’ lots are full. I don’t think businesses should suffer because potential customers are not allowed to park on nearby streets. Thanks!

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The voting period has already begun on the current resolutions. But you could certainly start another discussion topic on residential parking permits, and if a board member sponsors it, it would be a part of the next vote of the membership.

Thanks, Roger. I feel that the two issues are related, because eliminating mandatory parking requirements is assuming that businesses will either have customers traveling by public transportation, living or working close enough to the business to walk or bike there, or finding other parking options in the surrounding neighborhood.

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I can definitely see how the two issues are similar. I think what everyone had in mind here originally was parking minimums for zoning and residential parking permits seem like a separate issue. One is requiring private parking and the other is taking away public parking. I guess it’s also possible for someone to be for getting rid of parking minimums and to support residential parking permits, so probably want to keep them as separate votes.

I do think we should weigh in on residential parking permits and think that they are bad policy. @Paul_Kevin_Smith would you be able to start a second thread and include the resolution language and possibly some “rationale” to support the resolution language to be voted on? We can always add that onto our CodeNEXT recommendations after that’s voted on if it passes.

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@Pete_Gilcrease, Residential Permit Parking is outside of the scope of CodeNEXT per related statements made by COA leaders. After months of scrutiny of CodeNEXT to attach eliminating RPP like a rider to a bill would be a disservice to the complexity of the issue.

U.S. Cities more progressive than Austin last I knew had their own version of RPP,. Having been pretty close to our program since close to inception I have seen unfortunate changes made, due to the heavy hand of ANC, that favor the gated suburban vibe the ANC PAC supports.

@Paul_Kevin_Smith, I think at this point the ask should be for a CAG, which includes businesses and apartments (both used to be able to participate if on their block). I thought one would have been formed by now as it is supposed to be looked at in parallel with CodeNEXT. The City is not going to ditch the program in 2018, we need it to work better for all of Austin, and your initiating the discussion here can be a positive in moving that direction.

Currently COA allows cars to be stored on the street for extended periods, which is part of the reason RPP was started in Austin in areas adjacent to University housing. Why pay $100 a month for parking if you are allowed to eliminate parking turnover on urban core public street parking? RPP also helped with other abuses, but the NIMBY part of it went too far and got exported where that became it’s primary purpose. The rules were re-written to help make the program more successful (= widely adopted) apparently at detriment to community.

@Paul_Kevin_Smith, @Pete_Gilcrease, are you okay with something more like ‘signicantlly reform and if not eliminate RPP’?
I still think that means a community input cycle, the last batch of changes was made without any, and making sure that don’t happen again with CodeNEXT is important.

I don’t see any moral difference between a student parking on a public street and a homeowner doing so, nor do I suspect most in FAN would.

The key here is that if street parking is constantly used (and difficult to find openings in), it is underpriced. The goal ought to be to set the price for that parking at a level where most of it, but not all of it, is used at most times. If that means a buck a day, so be it. If it means a permit once a year costs $500 instead of $30, that’s what should happen. The only time street parking should be free is if it’s rarely used (when the cost to manage a payment program would vastly exceed the revenue generated).

No discount should be available to property owners, because they do not own that street. I’m willing to bend for somebody who has a disabled parking permit - 50% discount.

I say this having no off-street parking at the house I live in now; and having previously lived for 10 years with RPPP. It’s just the right thing to do.

That would probably be fine with me. I’m not sure if I can think of any reason that I would be ok with RPP though. In the case of cars being parked in placed for extended periods of time or anything else I might be ok with putting metered parking there - even metered parking with free or low cost parking stickers for residents, but I don’t really see any reason to specifically ban people from parking on a public street. Ultimately, if someone is a resident and they want a place to park and that’s really important to them, then they could always put a parking place on their lot by their house.

I agree that an earlier Statemen article showed that the resident parking program does not pay for itself.
I don’t think a neighborhood should be allowed to "own " their streets. We all paid for these streets.
And often parking spills over from commercial areas because these same neighbors objected to allowing parking or garages on commercial property.
I would only compromise that one side of a street be allowed to be resident parking and that residents should pay a fair share. That includes the cost to manage the parking ( meter readers) = cost at $1/hr to reserve each parking space
And how do we the citizens know the property owner isn’t renting that space to someone else?
Why aren’t they parking on their own lot?
I suspect, they have already converted their garage into house or storage space?

This may be a bridge too far for me, though the motivation is largely sound. I live in the Holly neighborhood, which like some central neighborhoods has the bulk of the homes on the E-W streets and very few on the N-S ones. Homes on Chicon st are often on very small lots, some less than 2500 sq ft which provides very little room for parking. What inevitably happens is the residents park in the restricted bikes lanes because they absolutely must store their vehicle in front of their home and not on one of the E-W streets. To be fair most of these homes were there before the bike lane, but I don’t think COA carves an exception for this, nor should they. Yes there are alleyways but no public ROW parking is allowed there either. If reasonable exceptions like this for off street parking can be made then I would support it.

Also now that I think about it ADUs fronting alleyways should also have mandatory parking requirements since it is illegal to park in the alley. It really should not be much of a problem since the mandatory setback can provide enough space for a vehicle or two.

I’m disabled with mobility issues. It is extremely difficult to find an open handicapped spot as it is. Image you have a metal cage around your broken neck for 90days and are in a wheelchair. Through no fault of your own, an elderly drive runs a red light, t- bones you causing permanent life long injuries. Surely you don’t think that I who lost my ability to work and enjoy everyday access and functions in life should pay for handicapped parking?

Welcome, @evtmom! You bring important life experience and perspective to this conversation.

I can understand that you would want convenient and inexpensive access to everyday functions in life.

My family does not have a car, and we have chosen to live and work near, and use, transit. We frequently share transit rides with people in wheelchairs. Under what circumstances would you feel comfortable using transit to meet some of your mobility needs?


Roger, That’s fantastic that you’re able to position yourselves to live car free! Capital Metro would need to revamp how they run routes. Especially far SW Austin to far NW Austin. I’ve lived here since 1977, and I haven’t seen much access here or routes that don’t require 1.5 hours each way. I’m only talking about 20 miles. It’s too bad back in the 80’s those in power voted against light rail. I can go to other cities and use mass transit. Unfortunately not in Austin.

@evtmom From what I understand, handicapped parking is a federal ADA requirement. Whether Austin eliminates parking requirements or not wouldn’t change the number of handicapped parking places required. They are separate parking requirements.

Yes, the viability of transit in part depends on the choice of where to live and work. So I can understand that living in a part of Austin not well served by Capital Metro would render it inconvenient for you.

I know some 45 year residents of the Austin area who, due to a change in life circumstances and a desire to choose a less car-dependent lifestyle, are exploring more transit-friendly living arrangements.

In the meantime, I certainly hope that Capital Metro improves its service and maximizes the number of households it serves within its limited resources. Unfortunately, it will not be financially possible to extend service to all areas of town.


Pete, earlier in this thread, @dkesh pointed out that handicapped parking is only required in proportion to all parking provided. Thus no handicapped parking is required when a developer chooses to provide no parking at all. As Dan mentioned, the city added a special provision to require handicapped parking when it eliminated (other) minimum parking requirements in the central business district (CBD).


We bought our home in 1999. Due to out of control propetty taxes and having the disabled exemption it’s difficult to move. Sure we’d make some money, but we couldn’t afford this house if we were buying it today. So our "choice " to stay here is a no brainer.

I’m really sure about that. I worked for a federal agency before being forced to medically retire. When GSA said we needed more parking due to regulations, they just relined the parking lot. So they squeezed in more spaces without getting a larger lot. You’ve got to admire their use of loop holes.

Meant to say not really sure…